Interview with Jake Johnson - Co Founder at Batten

Shauli Zacks Shauli Zacks

SafetyDetectives spoke with Jake Johnson, one of the Batten co-founders, about their process for testing cybersecurity software, the best practice for preventing identity theft, must-have security apps, and more.

Can you talk about your background and what led you to co-found Batten?

I have spent most of my career in consulting and M&A before shifting my focus to the startup world. Early into Batten’s inception, I started working with Patrick Robinson, our CEO, and his conviction in the mission of keeping families safe inspired me to join him full-time. Having spent most of my career working at larger corporations with robust IT/Security departments, I had never really worried about my digital security. It wasn’t until I started working in the startup space that it hit me that we were all at risk from digital threats. This specific realization was a significant factor in me to become a co-founder of Batten.

How does Batten evaluate and test cybersecurity solutions?

At Batten, we are an expert-led organization on the product side. On the Cyber front, our lead expert is Kurt Sanger, who recently retired from the U.S. Cyber Command. Between Kurt and the rest of our expert team, we apply learnings from our national defense community and large corporations to the consumer level. When it comes to evaluating specific solutions, we lead with the security strength/protocols, the reputation of the company, and layer in consumer-facing elements, specifically user experience and value offered to the consumer.

What are the best tools for preventing identity theft?

Preventing identity theft starts with adopting foundational digital security protocols in your daily life. The tip of the spear is the usage of unique and complex passwords across all your accounts; password managers have made this extremely easy to do. From there, ensuring your internet connection is secure is paramount; using a VPN is the easiest way to make that happen. Between a password manager and VPN, consumers are taking the first steps in prevention. However, there is also no preventive tool that will keep consumers 100% safe from identity theft. To account for the potential risk of Identity Theft, it’s essential to use an ID protection tool that offers robust monitoring and alerts so that any potential issue can be mitigated before losses are incurred.

What are the most common cyberthreats that can be easily prevented with the right tools?

The biggest driver of digital identity theft today is social engineering which typically manifests as spoofing or phishing and relies on human error. The fact that it depends on human error makes it challenging to prevent. However, the risk is significantly lower with the adoption of foundational digital security protocols, a good antivirus that can spot malicious links, and a keen eye for suspect emails. While the goal is prevention, we are major proponents of robust cyber insurance made specifically for consumers so that in the off chance something does happen, the additional protection is in place.

What is the most important type of cybersecurity software (for example, password manager, VPN, Antivirus, etc.) that the average person needs and why?

For the average person, the most critical part of cybersecurity software is finding something that best suits their technical aptitude and lifestyle. For most people setting up and fully adopting a VPN, Antivirus, Password Manager, and Identity Protection on an al a carte basis is overwhelming and likely not result in a positive experience. With that in mind, we like the “All-in-One” solutions like Aura that bring all critical software components under one platform, making it simple and easy for the average person.

How do you see the fight for online privacy evolving in the 3-5 years?

It will be a constant struggle for increased consumer protection v.s. the proliferation of information, convenience, and connectivity. On the protection side, we see GDPR-inspired legislation at the state level that shifts control back to the consumers. This is a step in the right direction for individuals and their data privacy. On the other end of the spectrum, we are in a period where the desire for connectivity and convenience is at an all-time high. This behavior has resulted in the exponential growth of data and access points. When we typically think about privacy, the first thing that comes to mind is maintaining control of data and personal information. That is a realistic outcome with appropriate legislation and adherence from good actors. However, the biggest hurdle for privacy lies in the battle between consumers and the bad actors. Between the data and entry points created through consumer behavior, the sophistication of attacks, and AI, it will be on the consumer to protect themselves.

About the Author

About the Author

Shauli Zacks is a tech enthusiast who has reviewed and compared hundreds of programs in multiple niches, including cybersecurity, office and productivity tools, and parental control apps. He enjoys researching and understanding what features are important to the people using these tools.