Leadership During A Crisis: Making Decisions For Growth, Not Survival

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (via Forbes), the U.S. economy has been in a recession since February.

For entrepreneurs of a certain age, this isn’t news. They can recognize the signs because they have been here before. In fact, this is the third time they’re confronting financial chaos in just 20 years. These entrepreneurs were at the helms of tech companies during the dot-com bubble of 2001, only to face economic turmoil a few short years later following the 2008 market crash. What they learned through those experiences have undoubtedly prepared them to lead their businesses through the financial crisis currently gripping the country.

For those new to business or leadership positions, this is a learning curve. Economic uncertainty is challenging. That said, there are several lessons you can take from the past to ensure your company is best positioned for success.

Rethink Your Business Plan

Tackling uncertainty isn’t easy, particularly when considering your existing plans and thinking about the future. It’s important to come to terms with the new normal as quickly as possible. We aren’t going back. In 2001, when the tech bubble burst, we learned that the world changes after major disruption. Coming to terms with this sooner rather than later can provide a competitive advantage.

As part of this, it’s critical to reframe your business plan for two years. It will take time for your business to adapt, and you need to be prepared for that. At the same time, we don’t know what the future holds, so looking beyond two years isn’t necessarily useful at this stage. When setting the plan, your company’s long-term strategy should not change, but your rate of investment should slow slightly. For example, if you had five key areas you wanted to pursue this year, you might choose to start with two and tackle another the next year.

Contrary to popular belief, it is paramount that you resist the urge to make cuts to survive. Instead, think about cutting costs to facilitate growth. That may seem like a luxury, but it’s the only way to come out successfully on the other side. Again, your long-term business strategy should remain intact, so consider the cuts you can make to help manage costs in the short term but that will actually enable your long-term growth strategy.

Finally, you absolutely need a plan B, and probably a plan C, but don’t give up too soon. Have confidence that you can rely on your backup plans but remain on course. You may be surprised by how little you need your fallback options.

Invest In Company Culture

There is often a debate between prioritizing company culture or business strategy, and particularly in a crisis, business strategy tends to win out. Our current environment has the majority of employees working remotely, many for the first time. Not only have impromptu hallway conversations, coffee breaks and happy hours become nonexistent, but employees’ personal lives have been upended.

Investing in company culture is more important now than ever before. In fact, there has never been a stronger need for companies to facilitate “fun” that employees love to complain about. These activities don’t need to be complicated or expensive. Start the week with a team meditation. Host a daily BYOB coffee break or happy hour via Zoom. Conduct virtual events that offer employees the chance to introduce their significant others, children, pets or homes.

Look for opportunities to show employees their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Maybe that is a gift card for dinner or a subscription to a meditation app. Particularly for those who are new to remote working, the risk of boredom, sense of isolation and loss of community are high. You don’t know just how much someone might need that companionship.

Company culture during a crisis is also dependent upon communication from senior leadership.

Particularly when your staff is remote, there is no such thing as overcommunication. It’s essential that leadership is available to employees and communicates openly about the challenges and plans for the future, for better or worse. When possible, providing employees a forum to ask questions and offer ideas can be particularly beneficial and encourage ownership in the process. This can not only lead to a better company culture, but a more productive, empowered and invested workforce.

Redefine Your Leadership Approach

As the leader of a company, you are likely accustomed to having all eyes on you. During moments of uncertainty or significant change, this is particularly true. As employees continue to balance personal and professional obligations, manage job security fears, deal with financial stresses and health risks while battling remote working burnout, they will look to senior leadership for guidance.

It’s important to remember the full range of outcomes. During stressful moments, you see many people anchor in the possible negative results, but there are a number of ways in which a decision can net positive, and it’s essential to give both sides equal focus. When you do this, you redefine reality and give hope to those around you. It’s OK to show that difficult decisions are painful, but ultimately, it’s your job to show the path forward.

An important opportunity to lead by example exists around work habits. We know that routines are important. Closing your laptop and truly shutting it down is an important part of that routine. Your ability to set structure for yourself will enable your managers and the rest of your organization to do the same. The risk of burnout is high and is easily avoidable. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Learning from the past teaches us how to prepare for the future, invest in our culture and think about our role as leaders so we can succeed. The situation can seem dire, but it’s important to remember that some of the best innovation comes from necessity. Don’t panic, stay true to your strategy and be open to ideas along the way. You might be surprised where you are when you look back on this moment.

Aura bolsters security offerings with Pango acquisition

Aura aims to provide all-in-one security and privacy protection for consumers

The digital security company Aura has announced that it will acquire Pango for an undisclosed sum in an effort to expand its current identity protection and security offerings.

In addition to being the company behind the popular VPN Hotspot Shield, Pango also offers a password manager called 1Password as well as a service called Robo Shield that blocks robocalls. Last year the company partnered with Aura to offer its identity theft protection service IdentityGuard alongside its own products in a subscription service to help protect users online.

Through its acquisition of Pango, Aura aims to become the premier unified security suite that protects consumers and their families with comprehensive, data-driven products. The combined entity will provide all-in-one protection for consumers by combining both firms’ privacy, identity and security products.

Aura and Pango

In a press release, founder and CEO of Aura, Hari Ravichandran explained how the acquisition will allow the combined company to offer a holistic solution to protect users’ privacy and security, saying:

“The momentum Aura is building with the acquisition of Pango uniquely positions our business to continue scaling as we integrate exceptional products that provide a digital halo of protection for consumers. Privacy and security are more important than ever and Aura aims to be the simple holistic solution. The combined global business is profitable with well over $200 million revenue and a talented team of more than 450 all-stars committed to ensuring that our millions of subscribers have the most advanced technology to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

Aura recently acquired FigLeaf and PrivacyMate and their products alongside Pango’s will be consolidated into a holistic security and privacy solution over the next four to six quarters.

Once the acquisition of Pango is complete, Ravichandran will remain Aura’s CEO and he will be joined by Pango’s most recent CEO Sujay Jaswa who will serve as chairman of the board.

 

 

Managing a tech team can be a complicated task. When a previously in-office team suddenly becomes distributed, it can complicate matters a lot more. Tech leaders guiding their teams through and after a shift to working remotely need to learn on their feet—fast.

Fortunately, many of the members of Forbes Technology Council have long-term experience in managing distributed teams. Below, 16 of them offer their experience and expertise for tech leaders learning the ropes of the remote workplace.

1. Bring human interaction online.

Our company has always been global, and we’ve been very focused on remote team building. The key is to keep it personal. We are all motivated by human interaction, and successful remote teams bring more human interaction online. Do this by requiring meeting attendees to enable cameras and set an example for active meeting participation. Also, build in time for culture no matter how busy things get! – Einat MetzerEmedgene

2. Lean more heavily on established tools.

Many are not equipped for this change and don’t have the necessary tools to heighten productivity. Rather than introduce a new work collaboration hub that may cause confusion, I think it’s best to build on the momentum of a tool you’ve already been using. We’ve increased the number of calls we have, intensified our use of Slack and switched on our cameras during Zoom calls to feel more connected. – Harinder TakharPaytm Labs

3. Talk to each other.

You have to communicate regularly—not just by email, but by phone and video. As leaders, we always have this need to control things. And right now, as we all face this pandemic, the feeling of control may seem elusive. Regain some of that feeling of control by staying connected with your team daily and encouraging them to avoid knee-jerk decision-making. Keep calm, and talk to each other. – Gail PeaceLudi, Inc.

4. Keep video conferences open while you work.

For teams that are accustomed to working next to each other and collaborating in real time as they work, I’d recommend hosting a video meeting that everyone can have up and running while they work. This would allow open discussions for whatever is needed. – Russell P ReederInfrascale

5. Clarify communication with custom emojis.

Written communication is easily misconstrued, and sarcasm doesn’t always translate in writing or across cultures, so clearly communicating is huge. When meeting face-to-face isn’t an option, emojis can help set the tone for written communication. Creating custom emojis specific to your company culture is another great way to help convey thoughts while also unifying you as an organization. – Keith ValoryPLEX

6. Trust your gut to stay ahead of the curve.

I like to confer with my leadership team across the U.S. so I can see the situation from different angles—geography, family structures, local mandates and more. I also rely on my investors and venture capital community to share how other leaders manage their organizations. My advice is to huddle up with trusted colleagues, listen to your employees and make decisions to stay ahead of the curve. Trust your gut. – Cameron WeeksEdify Labs

7. Share and store knowledge.

Whether you are meeting one-on-one or with a group, there should be nonephemeral ways of capturing knowledge so that others may learn. It could be notes stored in Google Docs, issues in Asana, recordings in Google Drive or code in GitHub. A culture that encourages team members to help others learn by sharing matters more than the tools you use to share this knowledge. – Paul DuvallMphasis Stelligent

8. Introduce rituals and document processes.

Things can get disorganized quickly, so it’s key to set up routines—such as daily standups—to help team members establish effective remote-working habits and boost productivity. It’s also important to have a regularly updated internal process document—a “self-service” manual your team can use to ask questions and share solutions, even if they can’t physically be in the same room. – Fred de GombertAkeneo

9. Support flexible work schedules.

Within reason, give remote employees the ability to design their own day. Depending on the job this may not always be possible, but managers who make an honest effort to be flexible will often see teams respond more positively and productively. This flexibility may be even more critical during the COVID-19 crisis when working remotely may be more complicated and stressful than usual. – Rita SelvaggiActivTrak

10. Embrace asynchronous work.

Just as transitioning to a fully work-from-home environment can be challenging, managing remote teams can feel disconcerting. Stay connected by supporting and protecting your teams so they have the balance and focus to create great things. Embrace asynchronous work in these uncertain times; empathy and mental health are exceptionally important to retaining and elevating great talent. – Sid SijbrandijGitLab Inc.

11. Keep the lines of communication open.

Your team will look to you for guidance. What and how you communicate matter, even if it’s via Zoom, conference calls or other channels. Remain calm and be transparent, and keep the lines of communication open (and constant) via Slack or email. Make sure your employees know you are prioritizing them and they will prioritize the business. – Hari Ravichandran, Aura™

12. Ask clarifying questions.

A lot is lost when you can’t be in the same room together. Don’t assume people are on the same page after a brief video call. Everyone needs to assume that you’re not on the same page and take the time to ask clarifying questions. Many times I think I have given a clear answer, but then found out later I didn’t even answer the question. There can be a question behind the question. – Steff KelseyBlues Wireless

13. Empower your team.

Treat Monday like it’s the most important day of the week—schedule recurring key meetings to ensure the team is aligned. I also strive to be available and communicate frequently and candidly with my senior leadership to ensure clarity on priorities and goals, enabling them to have meaningful conversations with their teams. Empowering teams unites us across geographies and boosts employee engagement. – Brian StaffordDiligent Corporation

14. Actively seek feedback from team members.

It is important to lead with empathy during this period. We should actively seek feedback from our competent team members. Members of my IT team work in four different countries, primarily in the Caribbean and the U.S. Collecting and sharing creative ideas for improving emotional and physical well-being, service-level agreements, and service excellence were thought-provoking. Our teams crave clarity and appreciate empathy. – Londell AlburyAdtalem Global Education

15. Avoid multitasking during meetings.

When teams are on calls or video conferencing, rather than in the same room, it’s tempting to multitask. However it’s clear when someone is distracted or typing away, and it can come across as disrespectful. If you are a manager or leader, make it clear that people in meetings should not be checking email or doing other things. Live that yourself. Block separate time for email, IM or text messaging. – Chris Barbin, GGV

16. Lean in and be helpful.

Now is not the time for unsolicited pitches. As a business that conducts remote technical interviews, it would be easy to dial up our sales campaigning. But instead, we’re focused on being helpful partners and human-centered leaders. The first question I ask—whether I’m speaking with an employee, client, prospect or investor—is “How are you doing?” It gets to the root of what is most important. – Mohit BhendeKarat

Every year as the weather starts to warm, brooms across the country are prepped for annual spring cleanings. With a majority of folks at home during this unprecedented time, take a moment to clear your browser. What most people don’t realize is that your digital life is vulnerable to clutter, too.

In a study conducted by Risk Based Security, there were over 3,800 publicly disclosed data breaches that exposed 4.1 billion records in the first six months of 2019 alone. In this digital age, spring cleaning should be about more than just purging homes; it should be about cleansing your digital footprint as well to ensure your personal information is organized and safe.

Many people are unaware of the importance of a digital cleanup, while others avoid tidying their cyberspace because they don’t fully comprehend all the harmful effects a disorganized digital presence can have. Cluttered devices and outdated profiles are all signs of a security breach waiting to happen. By following a few easy steps, everyone can take solace in knowing that their digital life is clean, secure and at less risk.

Empty The Trash

An easy first step is to literally take out the trash: Empty your desktop recycling bin. Nothing you delete is permanently gone until you’ve done so. All those old documents, embarrassing photos, and programs you no longer use are still lingering on your hard drive, taking up space and putting you at risk of old files resurfacing. It’s important to remember that once you’ve taken the time to clean out old files and downloads, always trash the trash.

Declutter Mobile Devices

Have you ever downloaded a seemingly “cool” app that you ended up using only once? Make sure you delete all those unused apps that are taking up space on your mobile devices. Most likely you were prompted to provide personal information upon downloading the app, and now that information is sitting on your device, at risk of being compromised. In addition to deleting unused apps, it’s important to make sure that the apps you do use are up to date, as outdated apps are at risk for malware and viruses.

The security settings you agreed to when you set up your Facebook account in 2005 are likely extremely outdated. Take the time to review privacy and security settings on all your social media accounts and online profiles to make sure you are comfortable with how much you are actually sharing and with whom. Having your location services turned on for all your accounts or apps is a decision you may have made years ago, but it may be time to reconsider. Do your acquaintances from college need to see all your family photos? What you’re making for dinner? Consider reviewing your list of friends to make sure everyone still belongs.

Minimize Your Online Accounts

With the rise of e-commerce and online shopping, it’s likely that you’ve ordered items from websites you no longer frequent. Unfortunately, that means that your credit card and other personal information may still be floating around in cyberspace. Make sure you delete any online accounts that you don’t actively use to minimize the odds of having your personal details be part of a data hack. Remove saved personal information in accounts that you don’t use on a regular basis, including credit or debit card details and addresses.

Use Unique Passwords 

While remembering different passwords for a seemingly endless variety of personal or business accounts may feel tedious, it could be what saves you from identity theft. Using the same password for all your accounts makes it easier for hackers to access your personal information and your accounts. Consider using a password manager to store and protect all your unique passwords, and in an effort to keep your accounts even more secure, look into using multifactor authentication (also known as two-step verification) on critical accounts such as your email and banking accounts.

Dispose Of Old Electronics

When you finally get the newest device on the market that you’ve been eyeballing, don’t forget to properly clear out and dispose of your old one. Any device with the ability to store information can retain your data long after you deleted it. This includes mobile phones, copiers, printers, scanners and networking equipment such as Wi-Fi routers. It’s important to thoroughly wipe all electronics by clearing the data or consult with a trusted professional to help you properly and securely dispose of the device.

Tune Up Your Browser

It’s easy to forget about the cookies that store bits of your information within your browser as you surf the web. Moving forward, make a conscious effort to check your browser settings on a regular basis to ensure they’re configured to perform automatic updates. Also, consistently clear out your browsing history, and avoid using autofill to store passwords when possible.

Staying healthy during this time means washing your hands and taking precautions. But staying safe online can be simple when you remember to clean your data as often as you clear out your closet to stay as protected as possible in this digital age!

‘Tis the season for sales! Historically, Black Friday has been the traditional time to grab a bargain during the holiday season, but times change, and technology is transforming our shopping habits. As a result, Cyber Monday, the digital version of Black Friday where you can find the best deals online, has been steadily gaining popularity.

Now, a survey from Deloitte (via CNBC) shows that of those looking for bargains this holiday season, 53% will be looking on Cyber Monday compared to 44% on Black Friday. As Cyber Monday takes over as the most popular shopping day, it’s time to take a step back and think about what that means for our online shopping safety overall.

Everyone knows that security is important when shopping online. However, when bargains are available, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget. Hackers and other online frauds are most active around the holidays. Unless you’re careful, the hunt for savings may cost you more.

There are plenty of things to keep in mind, including being careful, using common sense and avoiding anything that doesn’t feel quite right. However, at this time of year, the scams get creative, so let’s look at the more common ways consumers can be scammed during their search for online bargains.

 

Scam Watch

There are a number of scams we can fall prey to in the scramble to find a bargain. Always apply the old saying, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” There are great deals to be had during the holiday season, but you should be wary of extreme savings. If that $1,000 TV is selling for $100, there may be something amiss.

Here are some scams that are common all over the holiday period:

• Fake Online Stores: This is unfortunately quite common. In this instance, a fake online store is set up featuring great offers. Behind the scenes, it’s harvesting card numbers and personal details.

• Account Hacking: This can affect both retailers and consumers. Account hacking is when accounts are hacked and orders are made to a different address. The cybercriminal may use fake credit card numbers or, for accounts that store payment details, may even use stolen card details.

• Email Links: Here, fake emails coming from seemingly trusted sites are distributed with links to tempting bargains. When the unknowing consumer clicks through to purchase, they’re sent to a copy site that harvests their details.

• Public Wi-Fi: While it may be tempting to do a bit of online shopping on the go and at the coffee shop, beware. Data is not secure on public Wi-Fi and may be intercepted, making it easier for cybercriminals to steal identities and card numbers.

• Unencrypted Sites: Some legitimate online stores fail to use encryption, leaving the consumer vulnerable. Unencrypted transmissions that store financial and personal details can be intercepted and stolen. In many cases, that’s why the site fails to use encryption in the first place.

• Goods Never Sent: A seemingly legitimate site may simply disappear after a sales scramble is over, meaning the consumer never actually receives their purchased goods.

There are many more scams out there, but most follow the patterns you can see in these examples. Knowing where the risk comes from is one thing, but how can you stay safe and still grab a bargain?

 

Staying Safe Online

• For Consumers: Around the holiday season especially, but whenever you’re shopping online, always be vigilant. You can limit the risk you are exposed to. Stick to stores you know, and if you find something from an unknown supplier, check out the site. Look for reviews or comments, and make sure the site is secure before making purchases. Check for contact details in case your order doesn’t arrive, and make sure credit card companies support their payment system.

Keeping your accounts secure means being careful. Don’t store passwords on your phone or devices that others can get access to. Use original, strong passwords that won’t be guessed, and check for activity on the account that may show signs of hacking.

During the holiday period, you’ll also be overwhelmed with email offers. Never just click a link. Double-check the sender’s legitimacy, and if in any doubt, visit the site via a bookmark, or enter the address manually. For additional peace of mind, you can also invest in a cybersecurity tool. This will help ensure your identity and your family remain safe from unwanted criminals during what should be the happy holiday season.

Above all, always be aware of what you’re clicking on, entering details in or looking at. It takes seconds to double-check, so always do, and you can have a great holiday.

• For Retailers: Identity fraud is one of the most common issues retailers come across during the holiday season, and it can be difficult to spot. Implementing an email validation for account setup or bank validation for payments can avoid many of the common identity fraud approaches before they cost you money. Delivery is another area where you can take measures. Many fraudsters will be looking to have parcels redirected to new addresses. If the goods are being sent to another city or state from the identity given, it may be something that could be flagged as a warning in the system.

Ensure all your software and systems are up to date to provide the best protection possible, and be aware of the signs of account takeover activity such as multiple failed password entries and the use of several IP addresses when logging in.

 

Conclusion

While this sounds scary, you can still enjoy shopping during the holiday season and grab those bargains you have been dreaming of. If you take care, double-check that sites and payments are legitimate and follow the advice here, you will have a safe (and successful) holiday.

Read the original article at Forbes.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NSCAM) has been an annual fixture since October 2003. The goal of the last 16 years has been to raise awareness of the importance of security when it comes to your digital data, and today, that message is more important than ever.

Endless studies and reports are exposing our highly digital consumption habits. A 2019 report from Hootsuite and We Are Social shows we’re spending on average of six and a half hours online each day. Half of that is spent on mobile devices.

We’re spending more time online than ever before. We shop more online, spend more time on social media and do more of our financial and regulatory business online, too. Most of us use banking apps, file taxes online and share images of family, friends, holidays and almost every aspect of life on social media.

Online accounts for our grocery stores, video streaming and a hundred other things all add up, and the result is a huge amount of information about our personal lives out there in the digital world. At the time, how many of us think about entering names, dates of birth and other information when we are asked? It’s easy to put out there, and this is why cybersecurity awareness is so important — not just in October, but all year long.

Own it; secure it; protect it

“Own it; secure it; protect it” was the theme of this year’s NSCAM, with the focus on individual privacy, consumer devices and e-commerce security. All are areas that are increasingly under threat, especially as we approach the holidays, when e-commerce is even more popular.

Despite the increased threat, cybersecurity remains an afterthought for far too many. At a time when we, as a country, are spending more time on mobile devices than TV, the sheer amount of digital data out there about every one of us should make us stop and think. Yet, we are often unaware of the risks posed, never mind what the consequences might be. There are various common areas of attack that are increasingly in use today.

Cloud databases make life easier for us all, with images and messages uploaded to the cloud for easy access. But they are also a significant vulnerability. If you hear in the news that a celebrity had their phone hacked, what likely happened is their cloud storage was hacked, giving the hacker access to all their photos, messages and other data.

Another common threat you will often hear about is a data breach. In this case, a business’s databases or servers are compromised, giving criminals access to everything contained within. That could be your shopping history, credit card numbers and so on. And it happens with alarming regularity.

But that’s not all — biometric data often gives us a false sense of security, but systems are not as secure as we may think. Artificial intelligence (AI) has become so powerful that not only passwords but fingerprints or face detection may be bypassed. With AI quickly growing in sophistication, we must accept that soon, hackers will have access to tools that can overcome these kinds of locks on our devices and data.

What can we do?

The threefold idea behind this year’s theme helps individuals and businesses understand the risks they face and the often-simple solutions that can make all the difference:

• Own it: Update privacy settings to keep your data secure. Know which apps are running to ensure you always know where your data is going. Additionally, stay safe on social media by watching what is shared and with whom.

 Secure it: Create strong, secure passphrases — ideally, a different one for each account. Use multifactor authorization whenever possible, and always watch for phishing attacks. Never click on a link without first checking the sender.

• Protect it: Always protect whenever you connect. Have up-to-date security software on your devices, and be careful with public Wi-Fi. For businesses, always maintain adequate safety protocols for customer data.

To ensure these ideas are acted upon, it is up to us to spread the message and raise awareness. Whether individuals, businesses or government bodies, we must all act. Tell others; raise awareness, and put these ideas into practice yourself. If you are unsure about a site, double-check before handing over your data, and consider cybersecurity software for additional peace of mind.

Conclusion

Staying secure in the digital world shouldn’t be an afterthought. The more we rely on digital solutions for almost every aspect of life, the more vulnerable we become to cyberthreats. NCSAM is a timely reminder that we should all be more aware of that vulnerability and of both the threats and the things we can do to minimize them.

 

Click here to read Forbes article.

160over90 has been selected as AOR for Aura, a company that offers personal identity protection and digital security services including the product Identity Guard.

The agency will be helping Aura with media relations, entertainment PR, influencer marketing, corporate comms, thought leadership and partnerships, according to a 160over90 representative.

Aura began searching for a new agency earlier this year and signed the one-year, six figure agreement with 160over90 in mid-September, said Aura’s chief communications and branding officer Lark-Marie Anton.

Aura started thinking about bringing on an agency once its new brand launched in July, explained Anton.

In January, WC SACD One, a joint venture formed by iSubscribed, WndrCo and General Catalyst, acquired a company called Intersections. Right after that deal closed, according to a company statement, iSubscribed was merged into WC SACD and combined with Intersections. In July, the combined businesses were rebranded as Aura.

“We acquired Identity Guard in early January 2019 and then very quickly decided we were going to make sure we created a brand holistically for all our digital security offerings,” said Anton. “When that was completed and we launched Aura in July, it was beginning to be clear that we wanted to partner with an agency that would allow us to leverage the new brand and allow us to leverage culture and engage consumers in a meaningful way.”

Aura did not conduct a search or issue a formal RFP. Aura executives had existing ties to the agency’s PR and comms leaders, said a 160over90 rep.

iSubscribed engaged Ketchum for two projects between late 2018 and early 2019, the latter of which concluded in March.

“We wish [Aura] continued success,” said a Ketchum representative.

“Our CEO Hari Ravichandran had worked with [Ketchum] during his time with a previous company,” Anton said.

160over90 was chosen because it’s part of holding company Endeavor, which also owns WME, IMG, and organizations like Miss Universe Organization, Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Professional Bull Riders organization, said Anton.

“It was about finding the right partner and [160over90] does have an amazing network,” Anton said. “It’s absolutely the integration of those connections, the ties to things like culture, culinary and music, all of it. Having one holistic agency that has access to all of these different verticals is important for us.”

160over90’s seven-person core team working the account — split between its New York and Los Angeles offices — will be led by Rachel Goldman, a senior account director based in Los Angeles.

Click to view PDF of PR Week – Aura selects 160over90 as AOR

NEW YORK, NY   — Award-winning branding and advertising agency Circus Maximus has created a distinctly human brand identity for tech company Aura, a digital-security brand that launched this month. Aura’s offering pairs intelligent-scanning antivirus software with an advanced data-enabled technology that uses artificial intelligence to monitor, manage and protect sensitive information.

Aura is a one-stop shop of integrated products that provides enterprise-grade security solutions. Intrusta and Identity Guard’s cybersecurity and identity-theft products give consumers a halo of protection, so they can enjoy the benefits of technology without fear. Aura is a combined business entity formed by iSubscribed and Intersections Inc with partners WndrCo and General Catalyst.

While most cyber-security brands favor a dark, scary vision and a high-tech Matrix message, Aura is treating people like…people. The company’s mission is to pioneer digital freedom for all and enable people to enjoy the benefits of technology simply and without fear. Aura’s brand principles include “caring,” “human,” “candid” and “vigilant.”

Circus Maximus created the naming, branding, website, and other materials—from the typography, color palette, logos, imagery and other assets detailed in the brand style guide to the corporate website where consumers can view Aura’s security services—to complement the brand’s goal of “simplifying digital security for our modern lives.”

The color scheme (Sunrise, Nightshade, Peach and Gradient) is warm, natural and accessible with crisp typefaces that are professional yet friendly. The website’s pages are airy—there’s plenty of white space and the language isn’t too lofty. Images show happy, secure and diverse families enjoying the digital world and Aura officemates working to protect consumers from the threat of cyber-security breaches.

Aura uses adaptive technology, so its easy-to-use interface learns from the user to continually improve security and the experience. Its near real-time alerts inform customers, so they can act quickly if their personal information is breached.

Circus Maximus also created the tagline for Aura: “Your Digital Halo.”

“We know that finding and articulating a brand’s empathy is the key to their consumer appeal, and long-term success,” said Ryan Kutscher, Circus Maximus founder and chief creative officer. “Aura represents how we implement that process in a category that falls into the trapping of fear tactics all too easily. We’re excited for the wonderful team at Aura as they launch this unique brand.”

Aura provides a host of personal-identity protection offerings, including monthly credit scores and annual credit reports with information from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, social media insights, dark web monitoring, bank account takeover alerts, cyberbullying alerts and intelligent antivirus scanning.

“Technology has become an ever-increasing presence in our lives,” said Hari Ravichandran, CEO and founder of Aura. “Aura is the digital halo that empowers people with tools, data, notifications, knowledge and relentless customer service to help them use their technology and devices freely.”

 

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About Circus Maximus

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About Aura

Aura™ is a technology company dedicated to simplifying digital security for consumers. Committed to creating a unified platform of services, Aura uses adaptive technology to enable customers to manage disparate cybersecurity needs with ease. Innovative personal identity protection products such as Identity Guard and technology services including Intrusta antivirus are part of the Aura family. Trusted by more than 1 million customers, Aura is the digital halo that provides real-time peace of mind. For more information about Aura, visit: www.auracompany.com.

Two recently combined consumer cybersecurity companies are heading off under a new branding to make a run at providing some online peace of mind for regular folks, and they’re doing it with $150 million in capital from Boston-area venture firm General Catalyst and WndrCo, the West Coast technology investor run by former Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Burlington, MA-based iSubscribed completed its acquisition of Virginia-based Intersections in January and has since been focused on integrating the companies as well as rebranding the company, now known as Aura.

“From a consumer perspective people want something relatively simple and straightforward for their family and homes, something that protects their devices and all the things happening in their house,” Aura founder and CEO Hari Ravichandran tells Xconomy.

Ravichandran founded iSubscribed after he left another company he started, Endurance International Group (NASDAQ: EIGI), which started helping small businesses get a foothold on the World Wide Web but grew into a multi-faceted company that offered hosting, marketing, security, design, and more. Ravichandran stepped down from Endurance in 2017 amid an SEC investigation into the company.

ISubscribed’s, and now Aura’s, approach to meeting consumers’ needs is to get the best tools they can find, buy, or build under one roof. So far, Aura currently offers a malware and antivirus product called Intrusta as well as an identity theft protection system it acquired from Intersections.

Ravichandran says the company has a couple of ideas for its next products. First, something to cut off spam emails and communications for consumers once they go through the seemingly unavoidable experience of having their personal data leaked online or otherwise sold to some data brokers. The ideal technology would halt the spam, and also lock someone’s credit file before the personal data are misused by a hacker to open a bank or credit account.

Aura’s next focus is on the home and the exploding number of internet-connected devices, Ravichandran says, controlling how they communicate on the network and how much bandwidth they use, and even spot potential intrusions more easily.

iSubscribed raised a $12 million Series A funding round in May 2018, prior to its deal for Intersections. Aura now has $150 million in funding from General Catalyst, WndrCo, and the founding team. The company has 300 employees across offices in Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.; and New Mexico.

Ravichandran says the company has $150 million in revenue and 1.2 million customers who pay monthly fees to use the products.

Click to view XConomy – July 15, 2019

Listen to Hari on the Dare to Move podcast discussing entrepreneurship with Garrett Nicole Wood.