One of the biggest issues facing fiduciaries is cyber-security. How do we anticipate a breach and what can we do to thwart unwanted access? In this post we will address the issue of data security while communicating on the road.
We at Diogenes-FG take cyber-security seriously; we use a Virtual Private Network or VPN. A VPN is like having a private, secure, tunnel in the internet between your computer and the recipient’s. Without a VPN, the person sitting next to you at Starbucks or “listening” to your conversations in the hotel lobby, can read and, in some cases, download your information. Most companies include a VPN as part of their ongoing data security plan. Check with your IT Administrator about how you can use it while traveling.
For smaller companies and not-for-profits that may rely on an outside vendor for protection, there are many providers of VPN services available in the market, some are free, and some require a one time payment. Unlike the free or the one-time payment for life providers, we believe that contracting with a well establish company that has a reputation for quality service is an inexpensive insurance plan. Why a subscription model and not a “free” or “forever” service?
A free or forever service is economically irrational for the developer. The “bet” with “forever” plans is that most of customers won’t actually use them. Those customers — the ones who spent their money but didn’t end up using the service — effectively subsidize the much smaller number of customers who paid and use their VPN, possibly putting too much strain on the developer’s resources who could end up in bankruptcy.
It encourages bad behavior. When customers pay on a regular basis, and keep paying, it tells the developer that they’re happy and that they are doing things right. More importantly, it encourages the developer to invest to continually improve their product. Offering a free or a one-time fee service encourages precisely the opposite making it difficult to directly gauge whether the customers are getting the best service.
It’s ethically questionable. Nothing is forever, particularly in the fast-moving software business. What if the developer went out of business or sold his business tomorrow? Would the developer be ethically bound to alert you ahead of time? You could go on for months not knowing if the software was working and putt your business at risk.
As recent cyber-attacks have shown, no system in impenetrable. Using a VPN provides at least one step in the lines of defense against hackers. Don’t leave the office without it!