SaferNet CEO Highlights Top Measures Protecting SMBs From Cyberattacks

In the digital coliseum where cyber gladiators clash, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often find themselves in the throes of unseen battles. The sword and shield in these modern skirmishes? Cybersecurity. Protecting SMBs has become not just a strategic move but a critical lifeline in a sea of digital threats that recognize no boundaries. From phishing expeditions to ransomware sieges, the assaults are relentless, making the digital defense a top priority. At the forefront of this defense stands SaferNet, a vigilant guardian whose VPN solutions offer more than a fighting chance—they offer a fortress. This isn’t just about guarding the gates; it’s about empowering SMBs to thrive in a landscape where the threat is always evolving, but so is the protection.

Today, we’re looking an interview with our CEO, Brad Hawkins, with Design Rush. The article is as follows:

In an era where cybersecurity threats loom large for businesses of all sizes, understanding the role of virtual private networks (VPNs) in safeguarding data is more critical than ever.

DesignRush sat down with SaferNet CEO Brad Hawkins to delve into the crucial aspects of the company’s VPN solution and its significance in fortifying small businesses against cyberattacks.

Brad Hawkins is an entrepreneur whose spirit has been instrumental in the development of the software-based cybersecurity company SaferNet, where he has served as the CEO for the past seven years. Throughout his 30-year-long career, Brad has authored five books and 10 online financial courses. He has sat on the board of several companies and non-profit organizations, while he was also involved in owning, leading and operating several other successful businesses.

Question 1. “For our audience who might be less familiar with VPN solutions, could you give an overview of what this service is and why it’s important for businesses to be protected online?”


I’d be delighted to provide an overview of our VPN solution and its importance for business security.


A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a service that creates a secure, encrypted connection over a network. It’s like a protected tunnel through which your internet data travels, keeping it safe from interception and cyber threats. As you can imagine, this is critical for any business. There’s a few reasons why.


Firstly; data protection. Every business handles sensitive data of some kind. That could be customer info, financial records, proprietary data, and much more. Our VPN encrypts this data, ensuring that even if it is intercepted, it remains unreadable to unathorized parties.


Secondly, enchanced security. Cyber threats are year-on-year on the rise. Hacking, malware, and ransomware are all serious threats to any business, and its paramount for them to safeguard their digital assets. Our VPN provides an additional layer of security, preventing criminals from exploiting vulnerabilities a business may have.


Thirdly, regulatory compliance. Businesses are more becomign more scrutinized for how they handle customer data, and a lot of industries have regulations mandating protection of this data. A VPN helps businesses comply with these regulations by securing the data in transit.


In short, a VPN like SaferNet is essential for any business in protecting their data, enhancing security, and ensuring regulatory compliance. It’s an investment in a company’s digital health and resilience.



Question 2. “Every company has its unique mission and approach. In the case of SaferNet, what are the main problems that your platform is looking to address in the cybersecurity landscape?”


At SaferNet, our mission and approach to cybersecurity are distinct and focused. We aim to address a number of key problems in the cybersecurity landcape. First and foremost, one of the primary issues we address is the need for device-level security solution. Given the proliferation of devices used in business operations, from smartphones to laptops, there is a threat that any of these devices could become a potential entry point for cyber threats. SaferNet ensures that every device connected to your network is protected, regardless of its location or the type of network it’s connected to.


We recognize that not every business has the resources for a large IT department, especially SMBs. Therefore, we’ve designed SaferNet to be user-friendly, with a simple dashboard that allows for easy managment and deployment, even for business owners we may have minimal technical expertise.


We’re also acutely aware of the ever-evolving nature of cyber threats. Cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to breach defenses, and we’re committed to staying one step ahead. This means continuously updating our platform to guard against the latest threats, be it malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, or something new. We understand that in cybersecurity, stagnation isn’t an option – we have to be as dynamic and adaptable as the threats we’re protecting against.


Importantly, we understand that services such as IP obfuscation or location spoofing are common with VPNs, and can help to enhance anonymity, but very often they interfere with essential services such as banking, and other security-sensitive platforms. SaferNet is tailored to provide robust security without impeding access to such critical services, ensuring businesses can operate smoothly without unecessary disruptions.


Additionally, one thing that has become a huge talking point over the last half-decade or so in the tech industry is data privacy, and how companies can tighten their security by complying with regulatory frameworks. Nowadays, businesses need a cybersecurity solution that not only protects data but also ensure compliance with legal requirements. Our VPN service helps businesses safeguard sensitive data and comply with legal requirements.


Lastly, we aim to address the need for an affordable, scalable cybersecurity solution. SMBs in particular need a solution that can fit their budget as well as being able to grow with them as they succeed in their business goals. We offer flexible plans to ctaer to businesses of all sizes. We believe cybersecurity of an excellent standard should be accessible to everyone.


Question 3. “In the evolving landscape of network security, is it now preferable for organizations to transition from traditional VPNs to Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), and what factors should be considered in making this decision?”


ZTNA operates on the idea of “never trust, always verify”, and can be the best option for many businesses but it is not a one-size fits-all approach by any means. In short, an ZTNA provides more granular access control, only allowing users to access specific resources they are authorized for.


A ZTNA approach is much more complex to implement than a traditional VPN. If a larger business has a complex IT infrastructure (and a large IT team), a ZTNA may be able to provide more effective security. Implementing ZTNA can be resource-intensive and requires a more substantial upfront investment compared to traditional VPNs. However, SMBs with a simpler network would find traditional VPNs more than adequate and much more cost-effective.


In choosing a ZTNA over a VPN, a business needs to carefully assess the needs, resources, security requirements, and future growth plans. It is best suited to large corporations, businesses directly involved in banking, or those that are deeply imbedded in institutes such as hospitals. Ultimately, key is to balance security needs with practical considerations to find the most suitable solution, as it may not be necessary or cost-effective for every organization.


Question 4. “What should consumers consider when choosing a VPN service in terms of features, security, and pricing for Black Friday?”


There is a slew of VPN services available, and without a doubt there will an abundant amount of deals and promotions available on Black Friday. It’s only natural to go for the ‘best deal’ on a day like Back Friday, but consumers need to keep in mind quite a lot when selecting the best one:


1. Security Protocols and Encryption: Look for a VPN that offers strong encryption standards, such as AES-256, as well as a great and trusted security protocol, like OpenVPN.


2. No-Log Policy: A crucial feature in any VPN is a no-log policy, or temporary log policy. This means that the VPN provider doesn’t record or store your information, or only does so for a limited time for the customers benefit, as SaferNet does to allow users to monitor their network.


3. Speed and Performance: One Achilles Heel of many VPNs is how they affect internet speed. Look for reviews on how a specific VPN maintains a good speed.


4. User Interface and Ease of Use: Something forgotten by many VPN providers is that they are not designed for users who may not be tech-savvyl; a user-friendly interface is critical. A great VPN should have an easy install process, and a simple, intuitive interface.


5. Device Compatibility and Simultaneous Connections: Ensure a VPN is compatible with all your devices and operating systems. If a business purchases a VPN plan and finds that only half their devices are covered, it’s a half-baked cybersecurity solution.


6. Customer Support: At SaferNet we know how crucial customer support is, and how it can make or break the success of our customers. Having a provider that is available through a number of channels is critical.


7. Pricing and Money-Back Guarantee: A common complaint when somebody signs up to a service on Black Friday, but then find that the service is not what they expected, they are unable to get their money back. A money-back guarantee provides users with a peace of mind, allowing a business to test the service risk free. Keep the price of the service in mind too, as often you get what you pay for in terms of service and quality.


Trust me, I know how tempting and eye-catching a Black Friday deal can be! However, it is important to assess a VPNs security features and more before making a decision. Remember that a VPN is an investment in your online security and privacy, so it’s worth choosing wisely.


Question 5. “Is there a way that users can mitigate the issue of slower internet speeds when browsing with a VPN, especially in the connection-dependent industries?”


Absolutely, and it’s important to highlight that SaferNet, through our use of advanced technology and infrastructure, has been to tested to show no speed loss. In fact, in some

cases, users may experience faster browsing speeds with SaferNet. This is partly due to our ability block trackers, which can slow down browsing by continuously sending and receiving data in the background.


To address the broader question of mitigating speed loss, its important to understand how a VPN interacts with your internet connections. Concerns about speed loss stem from extra steps in data routing and in the encryption process. At SaferNet, we’ve focused on optimizing these processes to ensure they don’t impede internet speed. We use advanced encryption methods that secure data without significantly impacting speed – This is particularly beneficial for industries where real-time data exchange is crucial.


With a different VPN service, a business might need to only use a wired connection, limit VPN usage to necessary activities, or adjust encryption levels, all in order to maintain a reliable speed.


In essence, while traditional VPNs might have a reputation for slowing down internet speeds, SaferNet’s innovative approach to VPN technology challenges this norm. Our focus on speed optimization, coupled with tracker blocking capabilities, ensures that our users enjoy a secure, private, and fast browsing experience, which is particularly beneficial in industries where speed and connectivity are paramount.


Question 6. “Considering the magnitude of the recent DDoS attack on major companies, what are the top three measures that are most effective in protecting against modern cyber threats?”


DDoS attacks have long been a threat, and you’re right in saying there has been a growing trend of them recently.


Firstly, we believe that employee training and education is the ultimate protection against any cyber threat. Attacks often exploit human error rather than software error, such as using weak passwords, or clicking a phishing link. A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that includes regular employee training is crucial. Employees should be educated about the latest cyber threats and best practices for digital security, such as recognizing phishing attempts, using strong passwords, and securing their devices. Phishing attempts in particular are one of the most popular attack vectors, and SaferNets anti-phishing features can significantly help cases where human error has occurred.


Secondly, a business should adapt a robust network security infrastructure. This includes advance firewall systems, regular audits, and a tools to monitor unusual traffic patterns. SaferNets ‘Entourage’ feature, which detects background visitors to your network, can aid in monitoring this traffic. For larger companies with advanced IT teams, it may be worth implementing a tier security architecture which can help mitigate the impact.


Lastly, a business should use advanced technologies and services to mitigate these attacks. A cybersecurity solution is the shield any company can use to respond to threats more quickly than humanly possible. Services like VPNs and secure cloud storage play a critical role.

SaferNet, for example, encrypts internet traffic, adding an extra layer of security, especially for remote workers.


Question 7. “Google, Amazon and a couple more tech giants stopped the largest DDoS attacks in history during August and September. In your view, what does this unprecedented scale of attack indicate about the evolving nature of cyber threats?”


These attacks really underscores a significant shift in the cybersecurity landscape. We saw an initial rise in attacks during the pandemic, which was predictable given that many had to work from home. However, the number has continued rising even when many have returned to office. It’s clear that attacks are becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated. Cybercriminals are now employing more advanced techniques and demonstrating capabilities that suggest access to substantial resources, and it many cases even at a state-level.


This increase and magnitude indicate that there is an inherent vulnerability in our centralized digital systems. Much of the worlds digital infrastructure and key services are in the hands of a few major player. What this means is that an impact of any of them trickles down. It’s a stark reminder of the risks associated with such centralization and highlights the need for more distributed and resilient systems.


It’s no longer a question of just having the right tools or technology. Businesses need the right strategies too, such as building redundancy into systems, and having incident response plans.


The attacks also highly the need for global cooperation and information sharing in cybersecurity. Collective defense strategies are crucial, now more so than ever.


These attacks should serve as a wake-up call to all businesses. The cyberthreat landscape is evolving, yet many businesses are lagging behind. We need to be prepared not only technically but also strategically to face these emerging challenges.


Question 8. “Considering major data breaches like the one recently faced by Boeing, what proactive strategies would you recommend SMBs should implement to bolster their cybersecurity?”


The data breach faced by Boeing serves as a critical reminder of the vulnerability of business of all sizes to cyber threats. For SMBs, who often do not have the resources of corporations like Boeing, the approach needs to be both strategic and practical.


One key point that SMBs must understand is that cybersecurity is not just a one-time thing, but an on-going process. The landscape as we discussed, is constantly evolving, and so are the methods used by cybercriminals. SMBs need to be adaptive in their approach to security.


Another aspect of this vigilance is regular risk assessments and audits. SMBs must understand where their vulnerabilities lie so they can prioritize their efforts. This could be anything, from outdated software/operating system, to unsecured WiFi networks of their

remote employees. Once you can identify a vulnerability, it becomes much easier to manage.


Training and awareness is another strategy all SMBs should employ. The overwhelming majority of attacks occur due to human error. Training in regularity can greatly reduce these risks.


Practical tools are of course, invaluable. For SMBs, investing in a robust VPN service like SaferNet offers a layer of security that is both effective and cost-efficient.


SMBs need to adopt a proactive mindset. Cybersecurity is not just defensive, it’s about being one step ahead too. Keep software updated, use strong authentication methods, and have a incident response plan in place. Bolstering security means a combination of continuous risk assessment, employee training, and leveraging practical tools like SaferNet. Create a culture of security awareness, and adopt practical measures to protect your business.


Protecting SMBs


Question 9. “What do you see as the most important upcoming global trends in cybersecurity that our B2B audience should be aware of?”


I think the biggest trend the audience needs to be aware of is the integration of AI and machine learning, not only in cybersecurity tools but also in cyberattacks. Attacks are becoming more advanced, but many tools have followed suite.


Another trend which we’ve seen since the pandemic is the concept of remote work. While it has led to an increase in productivity and employee happiness, it has left the door wide-open to cyber threats. Many remote workers do their jobs from coffee or co-working spaces, and in these locations public WiFi is used. Tools like SaferNet can play a key part in protecting business systems in these conditions.


The growing importance of regulatory compliance is also a key trend. With data breaches becoming more common and severe, governments around the world are enacting stricter data protection regulations. Businesses need to protect their data and ensure they comply with these regulations to avoid substantial fines and reputational damage. This is leading to an increased focus on compliance-driven cybersecurity strategies.


As we navigate the complex digital ecosystem, the importance of protecting SMBs cannot be overstated. SaferNet emerges as a beacon of resilience, offering a robust VPN solution tailored to the unique challenges faced by smaller enterprises. It’s a commitment to securing the lifeblood of our economy—the vast landscape of SMBs—that ensures not only their survival but also their prosperity. In embracing SaferNet’s innovative approach, businesses arm themselves with more than just a tool; they embark on a partnership that champions security, privacy, and progress. So, let’s not just weather the storm; together, with SaferNet, let’s fortify our future. Secure today, succeed tomorrow.