Expert Interview Series: Karen McCord of Breezio on Building Secure Online Communities
January 4, 2017
Karen is CEO of a startup SaaS company called Breezio that specializes in building online communities.
We recently asked Karen for her insight on how cloud computing encourages collaboration and how a strong and secure IT infrastructure is necessary for success. Here’s what she had to say:
Can you tell us about the mission behind Breezio? How are you hoping to impact online communities?
The inception of Breezio and a core principle is help to learn, learn to help. This transcends our mission, which is to is to redefine what it means to engage online around content in order to solve problems together and accelerate discovery and innovation. With engagement comes learning and knowledge growth, and we are innovating around what it means to engage in an online community.
How has online collaboration evolved since Breezio was founded? What predictions do you have for the future of online collaboration? What innovations are you following?
We have seen many prior examples of online community failures from the adoption of the “if we build it they will come” mindset. We believe that good software design is as important as the human component – community managers – to help keep the conversation moving towards its mission.
We predict that online collaboration will move beyond asynchronous interactions and have more and more real-time interactivity and thus feel like a community. We believe that curated content, not just discussions, will be at the core of the most engaged communities, and also that machine learning and artificial intelligence will augment and support best practices with regards to the content curation.
How can organizations encourage online collaboration? How can they create a vibrant online community?
Organizations can use online community as an integral part of its digital strategy and can create a vibrant online community by following these steps:
1. Clearly define and communicate the mission and value proposition for the community.
2. Assure there will be a human resource, i.e. a community manager, available to the community.
3. know the personality of the members the online community is intended to serve and recruit some “super” users to help “tend the garden.”
4. Make sure you have outlined and continue to revisit and revise short- and long-term goals in order to achieve value and ROI.
What are the most common killers of collaboration online?
Online collaboration will fail if there isn’t an ultimate purpose or goal; both the organization and the end user need to know why they are there as well as what he or she should do in order to achieve the mission.
How has cloud computing changed the way we collaborate?
Cloud computing has allowed for the continuous innovation of software and software as a tool helps us collaborate with others. Collaboration goals per community tend to have unique elements, and the cloud enables a SaaS company like ours to meet our customers where they are at through service customizations designed to tailor the needs of online collaborations.
What are best practices for ensuring a strong, secure IT infrastructure while embracing more online collaboration?
Security is one of the most important values of Breezio development team. When it comes to security, we always ask ourselves “What is sensitive data, where is it and how was it transferred?” All passwords are encrypted, which prevents brute-force attacks. We log every sign-in and lock a user’s account if there is any unusual activity. We encourage best practices with password selection and will let users know if their password is not strong enough. The data is always transferred securely from our servers to user’s browser over a secured SSL connection. We back up data constantly and securely and we use encryption for more sensitive data. Our servers are protected against attacks with state of art firewall antivirus as well as ensuring we are using the latest libraries.
What are the most common problems surrounding online collaboration and IT security? Where are organizations the most vulnerable?
As it relates to online collaboration, unfortunately the most vulnerable part of an organization is the end user. The best antidote is awareness through training.
What IT trends or headlines are you following closely today? Why do they interest you?
Creative and complementary collaboration that occurs across software platforms can help organizations get just the right solution for its problems. No one software can fit every situation or need but the unique combination of software platforms often time is the way to solve a problem. The possibilities are enormous and fun to imagine so we look to make connections to other like-minded companies that are looking to solve big problems.
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