We all know data breaches are immensely costly to individuals, businesses, and national security. The White House says cyber security is one of the major problems facing this country. The Secret Service is presently investigating a widespread breach at Home Depot. After the photos of nude celebrities came out due to an iCloud leak the need for encrypted and protected emails continues to grow. Earlier this week at Techcrunch Disrupt in Silicon Valley a company named Criptext was on display showcasing how they have developed a software to stop these leaks and protect humanity.
Criptext has developed an application which is meant to protect email and text messages from redistribution, both intentional and unintentional. I live on my email but do not understand it, so I asked Meyer Mizrachi, the CEO of Criptext before he headed out to Techrunch Disrupt, to give me a simple crash course on his product. Here is my interview with him:
Who is in charge, where, and how old is the business?
Criptext was founded by three Latin American entrepreneurs: Meyer Mizrachi (CEO, 27), Luis Loaiza (CTO, 26) and Alberto Vera (COO, 38). We've been in the mobile communications market for over 3 years. Criptext was launched in May of this year, and comes as a pivot of HASH, a private messaging app for consumers that we launched in October 2013 and amassed over 100k users in less than three months. The solution came as a necessity we saw in the market for companies who already use secure communication services, yet still suffer from the woes of information leakage. We're headquartered in New York and have a development office in Ecuador. Our background in consumer software has enabled us to deliver a seamless experience that breaks the monotony of clunky and hard to use enterprise software.
Please explain for non techies (like me) what you do and how it works
Problem: Today, the minute you send a text/email you lose control of your information -- no matter how secure it is.
Solution: Criptext lets you be in control of your information, no matter where it is. It decreases the risks of information leakage and the costs that are come with it.
How: You can recall sent texts/emails at any given point in time. What this means is that you can delete your information from other people's devices. Furthermore, Criptext tells you when messages/emails have been sent, read, recalled and forwarded. You can even set emails to be "unforwadable", making it the best way to transfer confidential information. Or if you want set a timer to auto-recall the email form the receiver's inbox.
Usability: The app is your business communication hub which is why it has the messaging and email functionality's embedded into one simple app that you can download on iPhone and Android. Once you're given an account by your administrator, you can text securely amongst coworkers and fellow Criptext users as well as send/receive secure emails. Best of all is that Criptext emails can be sent to any mail client (gmail, outlook, Mail) and can be read without the other party installing any software.
Can the data be retrieved once deleted. Is it stored anyplace?
The answer is no, the data is deleted permanently. However, certain clients can choose to have a backup in order to comply with regulations and data retention policies. That said, all the data is encrypted end to end; meaning the servers aren't storing plain text. It's important to make clear that Criptext Mail service works on top of your existing email system. When you recall an email, you're deleting your information from other people's devices, not from your own system. Criptext clients can run the service from our secure servers or can opt to run the service from their own servers, which is the case for large corporations and governments.
Is this system proven? Foolproof?
Criptext has proved to be of great value to existing customers. One of the most important things for us is listening to our clients. Since launching, Criptext has gone through multiple improvements and enhancements, both in functionality and design, thanks to client feedback. This has resulted in a frictionless experience that changes how users see enterprise software. We keep things simple and native, in terms of design. Android users have a familiar experience to Android apps and same holds true for iPhone users. This makes for foolproof and intuitive interaction between the user and the application. Our company has a mantra: "Every pixel, every second and every user counts". As we grow we'll continue to actively improve the experience by listening to our clients and sticking to our mantra.
How much does it cost to enroll? Do you need special equipment?
Criptext started as a service exclusively for large corporations and governments and for these types of clients costs vary depending on their necessity. However, we're now making Criptext available SMB's with a simple pricing model that's both accessible and doesn't require equipment installation. We'll be charging $10 user/month + $10 one time set-up/user. You can start with as little as one user and scale as you go.
Anything else you want to add? Are there any problems or controversies I should know about?
Consumer data security and privacy has already become a subject of conversation. Leaks of photos, texts and emails are becoming regular headlines on news outlets. Although less is written about this matter in the enterprise world, it's happening and the stakes are higher. In July Goldman Sachs went through its own information leak ordeal when an employee sent an email with confidential information to the wrong email address. They had to agree on a costly settlement with Google to block access to the email weeks after the mistake was made.
What happened to Goldman Sachs is far more common than what one would expect. In fact, 35% of information leakage is caused by human error. The average cost of data leakage to a company in the U.S. is $5.4 million/year and those who suffer the most from this are healthcare and financial industries. Furthermore, the instances and costs of data breaches is estimated to increase in the next years as more and more companies adopt BYOD policies (bring your own device). Today, employees who use their own devices for work are commonly using consumer/social apps to communicate work related matters. These apps lack the security, privacy and control that enterprise needs to preserve their confidentiality.
In the recent years many companies have sought to solve this problem by offering secure email or secure messaging services. However, the security that's offered only encrypts information. Criptext goes beyond encryption by delivering unprecedented control that doesn't hinder usability.
This sounds interesting and useful to me, but I do not admit to understanding it all. I also do not understand cars and planes, but I use them all the time. I will send this to you now before I self destruct!