Dr. Günther Hoffmann of ContentPro

Category: Future heads

© ContentPro

© ContentPro

© ContentPro

Businesses in particular – both large and small – are highly dependent on the security of their data and this will not become less so in the coming years. Dr. Günther Hoffmann of ContentPro has already won several awards with "DocRAID – file sharing and email encryption", most recently the "ICT Innovator" prize of the EU, and explains in an interview with Projekt Zukunft what is important in a user-friendly and practical solution for more data security.

Data security is a much discussed topic. What key challenges do you see here for companies and what is DocRAID's approach to addressing them?

Especially in smaller offices, law firms, teams, but also in large corporations, secure document exchange and data security still often involve obstacles – as soon as an employee has to change his behaviour, it is very likely that he will not use security mechanisms. This trend is currently being addressed in the market with two types of services: Either the products are very easy to use, but only support data security to a very limited extent, or they are too complex and are simply not used by the employees.

Our approach, however, is to integrate our products into the user's processes as simply as possible. DocRAID, for example, can be incorporated as a drive, controlled via a web interface or used on Microsoft Outlook. We also run on all devices without the need to install apps. This does away with maintenance and service for the admins. The security mechanisms run in the background without disturbing the user's operations.

In addition, different documents – whether press releases or medical results – also have different protection needs. So I don't need to scare off my communication partner with security measures that don't make sense, but I can bring in additional measures for higher protection requirements, such as the protection of disposable codes or secure data rooms.

Your product DocRAID came about in the course of collaboration between the university and private sectors. Does Berlin offer a particularly favourable climate for such cooperation with institutions such as Humboldt Innovation?

It certainly helped us that we were already able to make contacts and to conduct projects with public and private bodies from the Humboldt University. For a young company, access to potential customers is extremely important: Institutions like Humboldt Innovation can provide a significant boost here with their networks, especially if they are headed by such committed individuals as Volker Hofmann.

Recently we were invited to events in Heidelberg and Heilbronn. I was surprised there at how actively medium-sized companies are looking for contact with innovative, young companies in order to adopt new developments, but also to spot investment opportunities in good time. I hope this will be just as intensive in Berlin.

Do startups in particular and young companies in general actually need to be made even more aware of issues such as data security and intellectual property? 

My perception is that young companies struggle initially with other challenges and that data security and intellectual property have a lower priority. Here you can achieve something with new innovative products, and perhaps also with awareness. If you say: Look, here's an easy-to-use product for document exchange with built-in security and here you have an easy-to-use product without security, then some are going to opt for the secure option. 

ContentPro itself won an award with DocRAID in the ICT – Innovative Competition of the Federal Ministry of Economics and now supports young companies. What would be your advice to young startups that want to operate in the field of secure data management?

We won the award in 2013 and are supporting the current competition by providing award winners and participants with DocRAID free of charge. There is currently no lack of concepts and technology to implement secure data management. In my opinion, improving the usability of security products is a good starting point. 

And finally: Berlin is…
… the best city in Germany.