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In The Boardroom With...

Mr. Paul Brady
Technology and Solution Evangelist

Senior Director
Identiv

Nasdaq: INVE


 

This is the 2nd in our series of interviews with Identiv. Please also see our previous interview with: Mr. Jason Hart, CEO, Identiv.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you for joining us today, Paul. Before discussing threats and solutions in greater detail, please tell us about your background.

Paul Brady: Thanks for having me. I am currently Technology and Solution Evangelist, Senior Director at Identiv with over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. As an experienced pre-sales system engineer, I have been focusing on information security for the past decade. My goal is to help drive sales of technology, leveraging my ability to explain complex systems in terms that everyone can understand and backing up those claims with working technology demonstrations, evaluations, and pilots.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: In our recent chat with Jason Hart, Identiv CEO, we talked about the recent breaches at Target, Home Depot, and JPMorgan. Jason shared with us that “exploiting weak identity credentials is one of the most common elements of most attacks”. What is your perspective, Paul, regarding the weak link common in each of these well-publicized breaches, enabling these cyber breaches to occur in the first place?

Paul Brady: The weak link is the fact that, in most cases, these breaches happened because the accounts were using password-based authentication. That is the weak link.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com:What is Identiv’s solution here? Is it safe to say that Identiv eliminates the weakest link?

Paul Brady: Had the exploited accounts required the use of Identiv’s uTrust Credential to securely login without a password, these attacks could have been mitigated.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: The threat environment has never been more challenging for your customers and many are also dealing with tight budgets and legacy systems. Identiv enables your customers to take advantage of what is already built in to their existing operating systems? Do we have that right?

Paul Brady: Correct. But Identiv also takes what has been traditional enterprise infrastructure investment and removed that complexity. So instead of having significant upfront investment in building out the capability to produce these types of credentials, customers can use our secure cloud service to produce these credentials without the need to install all the typical infrastructure required.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Ease-of-use also translates into value proposition. We are all familiar with using our cards plus PIN at the ATM and Identiv enables users to use the same type of card plus PIN to gain “access”. Care to elaborate for us, Paul, regarding Identiv’s unique value proposition?

Paul Brady: Absolutely. Identiv’s uTrust Credentials are incredibly easy to use because they are a form of authentication we are all used to — the idea of a card plus PIN is something users accept, we are all accustomed to using a card plus PIN to authenticate an ATM, a gas pump, etc. From the community, we frequently hear comments about other companies’ products such as, “this is too complicated for my users”, or, “you don’t know my users”. Often this is because the technology in question is not common to everyone.

Identiv’s uTrust Credentials can be ordered online and designed using a workflow that allows you to define how you want you credential delivered to your users. You can use the same methods used to distribute credit cards, such as secure PIN mailers or online unlock.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Congratulations on your recent announcement regarding U.S. government FICAM certification of Identiv’s uTrust TS Government Readers for premises access. Please tell us more.

Paul Brady: Identiv’s FICAM-certified solutions allow government agencies and enterprises to conform to federal mandates for physical access. uTrust TS Government Readers allow these agencies to meet those requirements.

Identiv’s uTrust Reader platform is a complete paradigm shift in the way premises access is managed. Combining strong authentication at the door with identity verification, uTrust Readers deliver the next generation of access solutions today. With cloud connectivity and NFC communication support, these future-proof readers can be tailored to the unique requirements of each facility and can conform to ever-changing migration requirements.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Without divulging any names, of course, are there any other “wins”, success stories, or customer voices you would like to mention?

Paul Brady: Of course. Identiv has recently helped a large network hardware provider secure its administrator accounts and remote access security. The company uses Identiv’s uTrust Credentials and built-in group policy to enforce smart-card-only login to Windows, Linux, and other servers.

Identiv is also currently working with major energy companies to help them become NERC-compliant while securing both physical and logical access; we are working with one of the largest credit reporting agencies to secure remote access to its networks as well as physical access to its facilities; and we have helped one of the largest insurance companies in the world move away from insecure proximity technology to secure contactless physical access.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Paul, can we discuss the Internet of Things (IoT) for a moment? We all know the upsides of living in a connected world — in seconds we can pay a bill, send a gift, book a flight, and control our smart homes with our mobile devices, just to name a few capabilities we take for granted now. But are we also more vulnerable? Your thoughts, Paul?

Paul Brady: Very soon, we will see more things than people — we will see our cars begin to drive us to work, our phone keep track of how we are feeling, our homes analyze the environment we live in — and these things will need to communicate with all other things.

Identiv has solutions that can identify the things within the IoT or other people. Identiv Trust Services (ITS) can be used today for the issuance of a credential to more form factors, such as smart cards and USB keys. ITS can provision objects with secure digital certificates within the object itself to verify or authenticate. Since ITS is built on open standards, Identiv can also provision credentials to other open-standard devices.

All of these objects, all of these things, will have an identity. How will you protect that identity?  How will you get that identity into your device? For vehicle communication, Identiv could provision credentials directly into the system used to identify the vehicle in traffic automation. Identiv could provision a credential to the parts that are used to build that same vehicle, ensuring that those parts actually come from the original manufacturer.

Beyond being a provider of credentials, Identiv also makes things — a lot of things — such as transponders that can be used to add value to the product you are building and embedded radio-frequency identification (RFID) and smart card readers that can give your product the ability to read credentials or other communicate with other things, like phones though near field communication (NFC).

Identiv’s uTrust TS Readers are also things of the IoT— you can use it for more than just opening a door. It features a very robust architecture and can communicate with other objects using protocols like HTTP or RS485 to send information about an RFID tag or credential to a web service or another IoT device, like a microcontroller such as Intel Edison.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: What resources are available for the authentication community at Identiv.

Paul Brady: Here are some videos which your readers may find helpful:

How to Eliminate Password
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtEBpVz953w

Protect Administrator Accounts
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CENXJeoD9xY

Post-Password Era Video
http://www.identiv.com/community/videos/life-post-password-era/

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thanks again for joining us today, Paul. Are there any other subjects you would like to discuss?

Paul Brady: How about passwords? They are the bane of our connected world. The time has come for us to eliminate the password.

I believe that we in the industry need to do a better job of helping users take advantage of the technology that has proven itself though the test of time and abandon the antiquated idea of passwords. Smart cards and PKI-based credentials have been around for awhile, but the issue has always been hesitant user adoption of secure technologies.

But as we are truly entering the Post-Password Era in our connected world, we all need to start taking the right steps to protect our identities, protect what we send to one another, and protect how we access the world. Identiv can help.

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