We talked to Karen Lawrence Öqvist, founder of Privasee AB, about private data protection, and this is what she said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Karen Lawrence Öqvist: We are a little isolated as we live on an island which means that so far -cross fingers- we have not been affected as much as some.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Privasee AB.
Karen Lawrence Öqvist: The short version is that I like to simplify what seems complicated. So when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) draft document was published in 2014, at this time, there were only legal guys who bothered about this document and some privacy advocates, but the interest outside of this was low. My career is founded on 30 years in cybersecurity and data protection, two master’s degrees (cyber & MBA), and two published books on privacy and data protection. I wanted to operationalize legalize for the business.
How does Privasee AB innovate?
Karen Lawrence Öqvist: Privasee AB has low-cost tools to operationalize GDPR compliance and even certification. Compliance is a web-portal available in English and Swedish. The Privasee SEAL is a well-tested prototype due to be launched as an App in the Autumn.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Karen Lawrence Öqvist: Privasee was going through really hard times before the pandemic. In fact, it just felt like the rest of the world had joined our rather boring party. It has made business easier for us funnily enough, as the ecosystem is more understanding. We are grateful for the hard times beforehand, as it forced us to strip the business from 15 employees to just myself today. If we hadn’t done that, we would have most definitely gone into bankruptcy because we had given very favorable conditions to our employees, incl., three months’ notice, good pension, etc. The unions in Sweden are very uncompromising.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Karen Lawrence Öqvist: Yes, do not employ unless you have enough money in the bank to cover redundancy and other costs of every single employee if the worse case happens.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Karen Lawrence Öqvist: There has been no change before the pandemic.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Karen Lawrence Öqvist: We survived nearly bankruptcy before the pandemic, and we are on our way out of this mess. We are really looking forward to the next 12 months to see what it holds for us. There are many customers that are benefiting from the pandemic times, and we are lucky to have them.
Your final thoughts?
Karen Lawrence Öqvist: Our tagline is: Personal data is our business. Let us help you make it yours!
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