As a former engineering student who established his career in tech marketing, it’s a privilege to have been part of several technological revolutions that are improving the lives of billions of people worldwide. I’ve always been interested by the way progress impacts usage. I thought that technology moved quickly back then, but it’s exponentially faster in 2017, no doubt. The pace of change offers vast opportunities across multiple sectors but it doesn’t come without risks and responsibilities. As CEO, I’d like to use it to discuss a subject that I—and everyone at Gemalto—believe is central to the success of our customers.
Trust has become one of the most powerful competitive differentiators in today’s world. It is the defining quality that determines whether you can continue to do business with others, and it allows digital customer relationships to flourish. As technology connects more of our lives at an ever-increasing pace, how we build and maintain trust will govern the success of digital interactions.
We’ve all seen how detrimental a data breach can be both to a company’s reputation and its bottom line. Since 2013, over seven billion records have been compromised, and organizations that are hit can take years to recover. This is why it is imperative to put security right at the top of everyone’s agenda.
As I speak with my peers across diverse businesses and in the public sector I’m struck how similar their concerns are; in a data-driven society they all need to do two things:
- Securely identify and authenticate the people and things that access their services, facilities or nations
- Protect their data, and that of their customers, which is increasingly done through encryption
Digital technology is now woven into the fabric of everyday life and I’m proud that we play our part in securing the most valuable devices and services in the private sector as well as helping governments to increase trust to public services.
However, and this might sound like a paradox coming from the CEO of a security software company, if we just focused on security, then our technology could become inconvenient or even unusable by the everyday end-user. Security without convenience will hinder digital service deployment, thereby reducing trust, and this is where Gemalto and the Tech sector in general must redouble its efforts. Over the past few years, people have got used to multi factor authentication like PIN codes for payment cards and website logins using a one-time SMS verification code. Now, we’re set to improve the experience further through biometric technology.
Biometrics, as you may have experienced at ePassport gates, increasingly provide the backbone of government identity solutions, whether that is national IDs, driver’s licenses or passports. At every step of the way they enhance security – for example, by improving the certainty of border control or reducing identity fraud – but also benefit citizens by offering greater convenience. This could take many forms, such as faster issuance of a new ID document or shorter lines at airport immigration. Biometrics isn’t just the preserve of Governments, with the arrival of fingerprint type solutions and facial recognition to log into your mobile phone for banking services. We see an enormous potential for biometrics in the commercial sector. This is why our acquisition of 3M’s Identity Management Business complements our approach and strategic aims. By adding biometric expertise to our repertoire and building on new partnerships with governments, law enforcement, border control and civil identification bodies, we are going to make the world a safer, more secure place.
In many ways, all authentication technology has been a stepping stone to the point where YOU become the authentication mechanism. In contrast to passwords, badges, or documents, biometric data cannot be forgotten, exchanged, and cannot be forged. It brings a new level of accuracy and convenience to help managing identities. While, in the meantime, it also involves much more precaution and data protection to preserve these very precious personal pieces of data.
The implications of this, alongside the many other technologies that are transforming the world of business and wider society, will be amongst the topics I try to investigate as I blog here. What do these new technologies mean for everything from public services to modern, distributed working practice? How do we pre-empt the next generation of exploits as bad guys try to circumvent the latest generation of security technologies? And how can we educate end-users to the point where they are truly liberated to do what they need to do, free from concerns about security exploits? But this level of detail is certainly a topic for another post.
In the meantime, I’d really value your feedback, concerns and considerations for the topics and issues that matter to you as a customer of Gemalto’s, as a partner, employee, technologist, engineer or as a citizen that uses digital services.
This post has been cross-published on LinkedIn.