INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Online Privacy Amidst the Pandemic
Mickey Johnnysson, CEO & Co-Founder of FortKnoxster tells us how they assist businesses and their customers to apply strong encryption on document and file transfers.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mickey Johnnysson: Thanks for asking, I am alright and have been lucky enough to avoid any illness due to the pandemic situation, however, some family members were not as fortunate and had to go through it, they are fine now.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded FortKnoxster.
Mickey Johnnysson: My name is Mickey, and I’m Danish. Besides my leadership role, I am also a full-stack software developer. In the last 17 years, I’ve gained both experience and expertise in computer engineering, security, and cryptography, and product development from start to finish.
I enjoy any technical challenge, especially if it’s cutting-edge technology and innovative kind. To be able to create something great, innovative, and useful for others and that can change their lives in some way for the better is what drives me and motivates me.
FortKnoxster was founded as a result of the Snowden revelations back in 2013, with the idea to address all these online privacy issues by providing private and secure communications for everyone in an easy all-in-one communication platform and to help make the world a safer place.
This eventually evolved into an advanced end-to-end encrypted platform with all your communication and data storage needs such as inbox messaging, chat, group chat, video calls, storage, file sharing, and now also a secure document transfer platform for businesses and their customers.
How does FortKnoxster innovate?
Mickey Johnnysson: We saw a general necessity and demand for any businesses that need to request private and confidential documents from their customers in various scenarios. Shockingly most companies still request their clients to send them private information and documents via plain-text emails. So we developed and launched FortKnoxster Transfer, a new innovative platform to help businesses and their customers to keep peace of mind while exchanging documents securely, and thereby also complying with all the data protection laws such as GDPR.
FortKnoxster offers military-grade encryption using FIPS 140-2 compliant encryption which is mandatory in government and military level systems. In addition, FortKnoxster goes the extra mile when securing data in transit and at rest with strong TLS encryption and AES encryption by also applying strong end-to-end encryption using RSA/AES, making the data double encrypted at all times and only accessible to the receiving customers.
At FortKnoxster, we have a unique way to protect our users’ passwords, we never transmit or store passwords in plain text, as these are protected with hash-based encryption using zero-knowledge authentication before leaving
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Mickey Johnnysson: As with the vast majority of businesses out there, the pandemic affected all across the operations of our business, we had to adapt to the current situation, and even though we are used to remote work, only 30% of the working hours were done remotely thus forcing us to adapt our business operation and in consequence the delay in some deliveries.
The pandemic changed the way many people used to live, and they were inevitably exposed to bigger amounts of information, and consumption of the internet increased exponentially in some countries, but users care for their online privacy didn’t follow the same trend, in contrary younger generations careless when it comes to sharing personal information online.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Mickey Johnnysson: We did have to make some arrangements within our team structure due to the pandemic, but nothing that could be considered a major change, fortunately for us, we managed to adapt quickly, we kept developing our products and following the pace of the world economy. There was a lot of uncertainty at some point during 2020.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Mickey Johnnysson: Our customers’ relations have evolved as in any other startup, we basically started off with basic follow-ups and easy to manage spreadsheets, but as the business grew, so did the channels we needed to keep an eye on, support communications, and sales grew organically, so we managed to evolve and adapt.
Nowadays, we have a CRM system in place to manage all incoming communications, which is something we couldn’t have done if we had stayed on the first method.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Mickey Johnnysson: No, we didn’t get any government grant, our business stays afloat thanks to our product deliveries and the support of our investors and founders.
Your final thoughts?
Mickey Johnnysson: There is a lot to do when it comes to online privacy and security, especially when the reports demonstrate that even though a high number of persons are concerned about their online privacy and data management, the numbers decrease when it comes to those who are really taking action towards increasing their privacy.
We must teach younger generations that their online privacy is important, a huge 70% of gen-z do not have any problem whatsoever to share their personal information online, it reduces slightly for Millenials and so on and so forth with other generations.
When it comes to data management, we must all improve how personal data is managed online, it will be a challenging task as there is a huge economy based on users data, and many times companies prefer to keep this topic off the table.
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