Toronto Startup SecureKey Helps Secure Your Online Identity

SecureKey is a leading identity and authentication provider that simplifies consumer access to online services and applications. SecureKey enables next generation privacy-enhancing identity and authentication networks for conveniently connecting people to critical online services using a digital credential they already have and trust. SecureKey is a leading identity and authentication provider that simplifies consumer access to online services and applications. SecureKey enables next generation privacy-enhancing identity and authentication networks for conveniently connecting people to critical online services using a digital credential they already have and trust.

Today, verifying who you are is hard. For example, if you want to open a bank account you have to show up at the bank branch and present your driver's license and other key personal documents to verify your identity. That doesn’t make sense. Why can’t you verify you are you, online or over the phone? We live in a digital world, but we are being forced to use outdated and broken identity systems. SecureKey is fixing those systems.

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

The company was founded by Chief Executive Officer Greg Wolfond in 2008, a serial tech entrepreneur who brings more than 30 years of experience to SecureKey. His earlier ventures include Footprint Software Inc., a financial software company he sold to IBM, and 724 Solutions Inc., a wireless infrastructure software provider he took public.

Jaime Shapiro, SecureKey’s president, brings a host of experience specifically relating to financial services technology. Prior to SecureKey, he developed businesses, serving as president of Blue Sky Capital; executed M&A and strategic investment transactions as vice president of corporate development at 724 Solutions Inc.; and advised leading banks and insurance companies as a member of A.T. Kearney’s NYC-based financial institutions group.

Didier Serra is our EVP Sales & Marketing. He has extensive experience in sales, channel partnerships, technology partnerships, marketing, and program delivery, with two decades of knowledge in contactless, near field communication (NFC), and secure microprocessors. Prior to joining SecureKey, Didier was general manager and executive vice president of sales for North America at INSIDE Secure, a company he had co-founded in 1995.

Andre Boysen is our Chief Identity Officer. He is responsible for positioning SecureKey’s growth strategy, cultivating opportunities in new and existing markets, and promoting demand for the company’s solutions globally. Prior to joining SecureKey, Andre co-founded and served as chief technology officer of 724 Solutions Inc. Previously, he served as chief technology officer for Footprint Software and as chief executive officer for the company’s Asia Pacific business.

Eric Swedersky is our SVP Delivery and Public Sector. Eric oversees enablement and delivery of our services to clients and partners as well as SecureKey’s Program Management Office (PMO). He also holds a lead role in managing our key Public Sector relations. He brings over 15 years of experience in managing programs and operationalizing strategy over a breadth of industry, financial services, and government spaces. A partiality for applied technology and innovation stems from the beginning of his career when Eric served as an aircrew officer in the Canadian Air Force.

Dmitry Barinov, Chief Technology Officer of SecureKey, is a recognized industry leader with 18 years of experience in information technology and security. Prior to SecureKey, Dmitry has led and delivered numerous technology, security, identity and risk management projects including major implementations in the financial payment industry that have included EMV migration. As Technology Head in a major North American financial institution Dmitry has participated in major payment platform transformations and contributed to the Canadian Bankers Association’s Financial Service Industry Computer Incident Response Team organization (CFI-CIRT).

Rene McIver, Chief Security Officer, brings over 18 years of information security experience to SecureKey and is responsible for ensuring that the security posture of SecureKey’s cloud-based authentication and ID services meet industry best practices and stringent regulatory requirements.   As such, Rene oversees SecureKey’s compliance program and has key involvement throughout the product development and operational deployment life cycle. Prior to SecureKey, Rene held security leadership positions as Chief Security Officer at Authenticor Identity Protection Services, whose aim was to build a federated biometric identity protection utility, and also Chief Information Security Officer with Route1 Inc., a trusted provider of security and identity management network solutions. Rene established a firm foundation of information security in the fields of cryptography, as Crypto-mathematician with the Canadian Government’s Communications Security Establishment; and in biometrics, as Director of Technologies with Bioscrypt Inc., a provider of advanced fingerprint recognition technology.

Scott Allan, SVP Operations, brings to SecureKey over 18 years of leadership experience across IT operations, engineering, security, and architecture domains in diverse heterogeneous computing environments. Scott has demonstrated proven excellence in leading teams in the design and delivery of highly scalable solutions and data center operations for Tier 1 and 2 mobile operators, government and banking industries across EMEA and North America. Prior to SecureKey Scott led teams in the delivery of very large-scale messaging and access infrastructure for 724 Solutions and more recently with Sentaca Communications.

Patrick Engel, SVP, Product Development, has assembled and heads an industry leading team of technology specialists since the founding of SecureKey where he is responsible for product management and product development. Patrick has over 20 years of experience in software and technology development for the financial services, government and manufacturing industries. He was previously Chief Technology Officer of Authenticor Identity Protection Services and was responsible for architecture and design of Authenticor¹s federated biometric identity system. Patrick spent 8 years as VP, Product Development at 724 Solutions, where he was responsible for building secure mobile solutions for Financial Services, and providing software infrastructure and data-usage oriented consumer applications to mobile network operators. He also spearheaded the creation of an industry-leading alerting solution that notifies consumers via SMS, email, MMS, IM, and voice.

How are you being financed? This information is confidential.

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?

The technology industry can be tough. Major strides in privacy and security are only effective until the next major data breach or hack, when players in the technology industry are forced back to the drawing board.

To date, there has been a fundamental lack of respect for consumers’ digital identities in the market. SecureKey’s mission is to solve this issue of identity and ensure that consumers are given complete control over their identity, allowing them to decide who they share information with and when.

As such, the biggest challenge we still have to address and overcome is emphasizing to everyday Canadians that their digital identity and assets have value, and should be respected by organizations that have access to this personal information.

Other key challenges SecureKey faced during its inception were:

• The design of a new type of information service that provides user identity validation data, and still retains blinding privacy principles, while eliminating need for centralized authority/operation that do not provide a single point of failure and are resilient against denial of service attacks.

• Maintaining end user privacy and keeping them in full control over their digital assets while registering their consent into an immutable ledger, enforcing ecosystem rules, and providing evidence of data and identifier validity.

• Aligning multiple trusted partners to the idea of a new digital identity ecosystem that could operate and scale at a national level.

• Fast adoption by consumers and businesses. 5. How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?

We try to be very active in the development community, regularly attending events and participating on panels and through speaking engagements. We have had a significant hiring cycle over the last six months and through our social media channels we have created a “buzz” that has candidates coming directly to us for opportunities.

We also offer our team flexible time off policy where employees can manage their time effectively by taking the personal time off they need and still meet their work deadlines.

Who is your biggest competition?

N/A

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?

We plan to launch a new innovation publicly in 2018, including substantial efforts in marketing, advertising, communications and more. We also plan to continue to onboard organizations and agencies that will benefit from the new innovation, in order to further expand the reach of the service and benefit to consumers.8. What is the big lesson you've learned (success or failure) with this project.Today, verifying who you are is hard. Identity fraud is a real problem, and the best fraud prevention measures often mean customers can’t access the services they want without going through a complicated, lengthy and costly validation process.

Even with these measures put into place to safeguard businesses and consumers, Equifax estimates fake identification is costing Canadians as much as $1B overall each year. That’s above and beyond the billions of dollars and millions of hours wasted each year due to inefficiencies and ineffectiveness in the validation process.   SecureKey is building a federated identity ecosystem that puts the control of digital assets back into the hands of the consumer. We have learned that, once informed, people and business are incredibly receptive to pursuing these ecosystems.