Depending on where he is located at any given time, he may be focused on cyber security or then again, helping to run a bakery.

David Bruno’s working life is as varied as the two municipalities where he might be at any given time if international air travel was an option – Thunder Bay, Ont. on one side of the Atlantic and Lucerne, Switzerland on the other.

Born and raised in this northern Canadian community, when he is home the chances are he will be directly involved some way in the running of Donato’s Bakery on Court Street, a successful family business that he and his brothers operate.

In Lucerne, in his role as co-CEO of SafeSwiss Secure Communication AG, his focus is on cyber security and end-to-end encrypted email as opposed to cinnamon buns or cheesecake and how this all came about is as fascinating as it is unique.

Bruno’s career began soon after he graduated with a masters’ degree in international relations and communications from the University of Madrid, which he was able to complete courtesy of a scholarship from the local Thunder Bay Rotary.

He was hired by a Spanish telecom company and working out of both Barcelona and Montreal immersed himself in data security threats taking a number of courses in topics ranging from DDoS, identify theft and anti-money laundering to how best to combat terrorist financing.

Everything he learned formed the backbone of a company he would end up founding called Pure Swiss Data. In February, the company merged with SafeSwiss, and he explains how that all came about in this podcast with ECA founder Phil Bliss.

A release announcing the multi-million-dollar acquisition noted that Secure Swiss Data was one of the first companies to provide end-to-end encryption, file storage and file sharing facility directly to consumers.

The release went on to say that “both companies confirmed the deal was a necessity as part of the ongoing effort to mitigate the current escalation of daily cyber attacks and data breaches. Last year, cyber security breaches reached astonishing levels with both British Airways and Marriott Hotels group fined (US$229.34 million) and (US$123 million) respectively by the GDPR superpowers for data breaches that affected 349 million people globally.”

As to how he ended up in Switzerland, Bruno says many people have asked him that, particularly following the Swiss banking crisis of 2008.

“The banking industry there had arrogantly outstretched themselves and then turned to setting up branches across the world,” he says. “When the Panama Papers came out and even before that governments around the world realized they knew that some of their citizens were doing business with Switzerland, they are money laundering, they are doing XYZ."

They demanded more information, he adds, but the banks said, 'no, we can’t do that.' Governments, in turn, then retaliated by threatening to close down branches. At the threat of losing their shirts, literally, the Swiss banks capitulated.

“Fast forward to the data world and Swiss authorities vowed never to repeat the wrongs of the past. Data protection is going to stay within our borders, and it will never leave. That’s what lead to the strongest data protection in the world and that’s why we went with Switzerland.”

The motto of Pure Swiss Data was this: “You may not have anything to hide, but we all have something to lose. Putting your data out for everyone to see is something that nefarious players can accumulate and then use against you.”

Bruno, whose company recently signed a technology agreement with Qnext, developer of the FileFlex remote access, sharing and collaboration suite, says the company believes “privacy is a human right and that is what we provide.

“As we are living through COVID-19 we are now experiencing a new shift. The shift is everybody stay home. The advancement of the Internet has allowed us to work quite well remotely, but the problem is we have not allowed our security to catch up with the need for these types of changes."

In recent white paper, Bruno wrote that the most common threats emerging during this tumultuous time are phishing, malware and ransomware attacks, according to cybersecurity experts.

“For many employees, connecting to the corporate server through a virtual private network (VPN) isn’t something they’re familiar with. Considering how rapidly the COVID-19 pandemic spread, it seems likely that corporations may have rushed their instructions and guides for employees to connect. This leaves severe vulnerabilities for the cybercriminals to exploit. Even in cases where the VPN connection is secured, attackers have found vulnerabilities in home network infrastructure and private internet connections to launch their attacks.

“Together, corporate and government employees could be facing billions of dollars in additional costs from ransomware, phishing or malware attacks. Aggregate cybersecurity costs for the entire economy could boom this year, just as the recession hits, applying the costs everyday users and taxpayers face. However, there seems to be much more at stake than just money. State-sponsored cyber attacks add yet another regretful and petrifying dimension to this crisis.”

Hosted by Philip Bliss