The Boardroom With...
Mr. Michael Harris
Chief Technology Officer
SecurityStockWatch.com: Thank you for joining us today, Michael.
One will read on PreciseBiometrics.com that "our vision is to be the world-leading
provider of secure authentication and access, leveraging smart cards and
biometrics for multi-factor authentication optimized for desktop, mobile,
and embedded consumer platforms. By making strong authentication easy
to implement and use, we help protect network resources and secure communications
across the globally connected world." Before drilling down into Precise
Biometrics solutions, please give us a brief company history and please
tell us about your background.
Michael Harris: I joined Precise Biometrics in 2002 after long
and successful engagements with two other large biometric companies. What
attracted me to Precise then remains strong today: dedication to using
biometrics and smart cards for increased security while making it easy
and uncomplicated for the user. It is biometrics as it should be
a tool to better identification and security without encumbering the user.
Biometrics' case studies speak volumes about your successful business
model, please give us an overview of the
solutions Precise Biometrics brings to market.
Michael Harris: Our model is rather simple and straightforward
- to supply toolkits, algorithms and readers that provide our partners
with the ability to develop and deploy strong authentication solutions
in an easy way. We strive to offer open source or standardized components
that encourages wide adoption through cross-platform, multi-OS, and interoperable
SecurityStockWatch.com: With over 160 million licenses in the marketplace
today, that is a truly impressive track record! May we have an update
regarding your success
story with the U.S. Department of State?
Michael Harris: The Department of State is only one of several
top-tier government agencies using our desktop solutions for logical access
along with the HSPD-12 and PIV mandates. Organizations like NASA, FAA,
and others use our desktop readers for PIV enrollment or verification.
At the Department of State, they took our technology further by implementing
Precise Match-on-Card (MOC) with PKI for secure authentication. With our
technology deployed across 60,000 desktops, they simplify the deployment
and use of high-security practices and minimize user frustration and help
desk calls. According to their own estimates they save between 7 and 10
million dollars per year with our solution.
Many of our larger deployments are within national identity cards where
we have teamed with the leading smart card providers to offer our proprietary
Match-on-Card algorithms. Our MOC solution is then used by the governments
as a secure and private means to identifying card holders.
SecurityStockWatch.com: And, we also read with great interest in
your recent Press Release regarding the news that, "Precise
Biometrics Receives first Tactivo Order from one of the World's
Largest Automobile Manufacturers." Can you tell us more about
the significance with this particular "win"?
Michael Harris: When we engaged with the automobile manufacturer,
we learned that they were using smartcards for desktop logical access.
The automobile manufacturer had developed several applications used to
encrypt documents that can be stored securely on these mobile devices.
The procurement of Tactivo enables the company to leverage their existing
credentials and deploy a secure solution to transition from desktop to
mobile devices, and utilize both traditional and cloud-based remote services
to provide their employees access to resources and data in a secured and
highly convenient way.
With the company considering other ways Tactivo can be utilized, such
as secure browsing and messaging, we are expecting this new relationship
to have significant growth potential as the deployment of Tactivo.
We have secured our position as the leading provider for Match-on-Card
within national identity cards and the deployment of desktop readers for
government logical access. As enterprises, such as this leading automobile
manufacturer, are now migrating from desktops to mobile, we are ready
to support them with our Tactivo product line. Using Tactivo enables the
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative to become a reality as it fully
supports the same security infrastructures deployed across desktops around
the world. We are truly bridging the gap between corporate and enterprise
IT security rules and the ease of use the user community expects.
SecurityStockWatch.com: Are there any particular additional "wins"
or success stories you would like to discuss?
Michael Harris: We are starting pilot projects for Tactivo within several
U.S. federal agencies. The federal government faces the same challenges
regarding the use of mobile devices as do commercial workplaces: employees
want to use their own smart phones and tablets, and authentication capabilities
on these devices don't support the security policies that were established
for desktop use. These agencies are proactively testing Tactivo as it
provides the ability to authenticate using the federal smart card credentials.
Our breakthrough solution will enable the migration to mobile devices
while preserving the necessary security and authentication policies that
are required by HSPD-12 (Homeland Security Presidential Directive). Because
the mandate covers all federal employees, we expect other agencies will
also consider deploying Tactivo after seeing the success of these first
SecurityStockWatch.com: We understand that mobile security is a huge market opportunity for
Precise Biometrics and congratulations on the
partnership with Thursby Software
in this regard. Care to elaborate?
Michael Harris: As mentioned previously, our model depends on strong
partners and we have teamed with the leaders in mobility solutions to
leverage our core technologies. A recent example is our partnership with
Thursby where together with our Tactivo and their PKard product we are
able to jointly offer a fully secure, PKI-supported, smart card and biometric-enabled
Web browsing and email solution. The strength of this lies in the fact
that now, in a simple way, the users of mobile devices can comply with
government and enterprise mandated security rules.
SecurityStockWatch.com: Any other new products and solutions you
would like to discuss?
Michael Harris: Precise Biometrics has several patents and innovations
that could be applied in upcoming areas like mobile payments with NFC
and EMV. Our core technologies for capturing and matching biometrics integrate
easily within the mobile SIM and chip technologies to secure transactions,
reduce fraud, and prevent spoofing.
With the new globally connected world we see a growing need for our technology
across multiple platforms. This year we will announce new solutions beyond
the Apple products to support other platforms like Android and Windows
SecurityStockWatch.com: What are your target markets and what
is your perspective on the market drivers for Precise Biometrics solutions
in these challenging economic times?
Michael Harris: Our long history is securely seated within the
government smart card and biometric security realm. We will continue to
build out these markets with our mobile solutions. At the same time we
are seeing much greater interest and adoption in our mobile phone and
tablet solutions within healthcare and financial sectors. The ability
for users to bring their own devices and comply with corporate security
rules is essential in today's environments. The inclusion of the biometric
allows for simplified adoption and maintains the user's identity and privacy
to a much greater level than available through passwords or tokens alone.
SecurityStockWatch.com: What resources
and support are available for end-users and the trade at PreciseBiometrics.com?
Michael Harris: With our push beyond government we identified the
need for more transparency towards our solutions and an increase in end-user
support and applications. For this initiative we introduced new websites:
Precisebiometrics.com and idApps.com. The latter is a community portal
for our Tactivo and app solutions. Partners, developers, and app providers
have a full resource kit and peer developer forum available. Users can
purchase Tactivo directly online or research apps that may be used with
SecurityStockWatch.com: Thanks again for joining us today, Michael. Are there any other subjects you would like to discuss?
Michael Harris: Throughout our evolution from government token
and desktop security to our latest mobile solutions we have noted a strong
need for interoperability, standards compliance, ease of use, and full
solution suites. Our latest products maintain these key components while
we continue to build out solutions for very specific use cases. The concept
and need for security is understood but where we really feel we excel
is by applying these practices in a straightforward way that integrates
to the user experience and retains the user's privacy. It is our belief
that everyone has the right to maintain their identity and privacy, that
it should be simple to implement and use, and that it should be available
across all of their connected devices.