Fewer than 15 miles separate MediaPRO from Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters. But the Bothell cybersecurity company didn’t join Microsoft’s Cybersecurity Tech Accord because of a shared Eastside heritage. Instead, MediaPRO found the agreement’s pillars — defend customers against attacks, oppose government offensives, build capacity, and work collaboratively — meshed neatly with its goal to teach companies and people how to protect their data online.
In April, 34 companies comprised the Cybersecurity Tech Accord’s inaugural signatories. MediaPRO was one of 11 additional companies to sign on to the agreement in June. Notable tech leaders to join the agreement include Cisco, Dell, DocuSign, Facebook, LinkedIn, Nokia, Oracle, and Salesforce.
“We’re a natural complement to some of the leading signatories,” MediaPRO chief strategist Tom Pendergast said. “When we saw companies that we admire rallying around this coalition, we really felt comfortable in joining that. We think that every company of every size needs to get more serious about the job of educating employees about their role in data protection. We felt there was a great opportunity for us to have a voice there.”
The Cybersecurity Tech Accord commits its backers to protecting the data of all entities and empowering developers to improve their protection capabilities, and it forbids aiding government-launched attacks.
Many accord members focus on technical services, such as shutting down cyberattacks, manufacturing devices, and developing software to keep sensitive information secure. MediaPRO is the first (and only, so far) signatory focused on security education and awareness: refraining from connecting to public and unsecured wireless networks, checking incoming emails to ensure the sending addresses are legitimate, and not divulging personal or identifying information on social media platforms.
“We really believe that it’s important for every individual to take control of their personal data and to understand that they have a stake in keeping it safe,” said Pendergast. “We look for opportunities to promote this message, and (Microsoft’s Cybersecurity Tech Accord) feels like a great way to do that.”
MediaPRO’s decision to join doesn’t revolve solely around how it can augment the accord or how an increased spotlight can promote the company’s aims. Rather, Pendergast said, his company strongly believes in the accord’s credo — a code of conduct of sorts for tech companies to abide by.
The Microsoft connection also drew MediaPRO. Pendergast called president Brad Smith a strong spokesman for data privacy issues and noted strong personal ties between the two companies, part of a synergy that extends into the professional realm.
“I was a fan of the tech accord from the moment it was announced,” Pendergast added. “(Microsoft was) one of the first champions of data protection among the big American corporate giants, and they’ve maintained a really, really high standard throughout their history for the way they treat people’s data. For us, it was more of an ideological alignment with Microsoft than the fact that we’re neighbors. …We wanted to be part of it.”