Interviews Identiv CEO Jason Hart

By Staff just published an interview with Identiv CEO Jason Hart in its “In the Boardroom With” series. The full article is posted below: Thank you for joining us today, Jason. Since taking over as CEO approximately one year ago, and congratulations on that appointment, cyber breaches and threats continue to make daily headlines. Before discussing the security landscape and Identiv solutions in greater detail, please tell us about your background.

Jason Hart: Thank you. Yes, I was appointed Identiv CEO and Director in September 2013. I have been in the technology industry for over 25 years, including more than 20 years leading security companies.

I joined Identiv in 2011 with the acquisition of idOnDemand, a company I co-founded that pioneered the delivery of smart card-based identity solutions via a cloud service. Prior to idOnDemand, I was CEO and a director of ActivIdentity, a publicly traded provider of identity assurance and strong authentication solutions, where I earlier held a variety of sales and marketing senior management positions. I joined ActivIdentity (then ActivCard) in 2005 through the acquisition of Protocom Development Systems, Inc., an identity management software security business that I founded and led as CEO.

I am a native of Australia now living in Northern California. Beyond my passion for security, I also work as a volunteer search and rescue helicopter pilot for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services. Breaches at Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan, UPS, and the recent theft of over one billion passwords by Russian hackers have raised concerns about authentication and cybersecurity as never before. What is your perspective, Jason, regarding these recent cyber attacks and breaches? Are we seeing the prediction of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, a prediction he made several years ago, coming true regarding the “death-of-the-password“?

Jason Hart: Exploiting weak identity credentials is one of the most common elements of most attacks. Even attacks that seem unrelated to users, such as recent point of sale (POS) attacks at well-known retailers like the ones you have mentioned, can be traced to insecure passwords. Often, the same password is repeated for all organizations managed by the POS vendor, and once it is stolen, it essentially becomes a default password and the attackers can gain knowledge of the customer base.

One of the main challenges with passwords is that the methods used to compromise them are continually evolving, while the core defensive strength and tactics used to secure them remain the same. Best practice policies emphasize using longer passwords to counter the effectiveness of brute force attacks — forcing users to write them down or store them in even less secure places. The other impact of longer and more complex passwords are the increasing costs of the growing number of help desk calls attributed to forgotten passwords. While passwords are always cheap in the beginning, in the long term, the significant risks of a data breach make them an expensive proposition with diminishing returns.

So yes — Bill Gates’ prediction about passwords over 10 years ago is absolutely true today. The truth is that passwords are well beyond their use-by date and we are entering the “Post-Password Era” — we cannot continue to accept the continual breaches and corresponding business impact. One will read on that, “Our trust solutions allow people to gain access to buildings, networks, information, systems, and services, while ensuring that the physical facilities and digital assets of the organizations they interact with are protected. Our solutions are implemented using standards-driven technology, such as digital certificates, trusted authentication, mobility, and cloud services. The foundation of Identiv’s trust solutions is a single universal identity credential that can be used to trust or securely access any resource — premises, information, or even everyday items. Cloud-based Identiv Trust Services (ITS) provide a secure web portal to issue, manage, or revoke credentials, without the complexity and cost of internal deployments.” Please give us an overview of the products and Identity as a Service solutions Identiv brings to the table.

Jason Hart: Sure. Identiv’s uTrust products enable business executives and security leaders to make the paradigm shift from patchworked identity systems to a unified, simple, efficient identity solution that delivers higher security and resistance to obsolescence, for both premises and information access. Our uTrust products are unique in the marketplace as they are designed, tested, and supported to work together. No matter where a customer starts, Identiv provides the confidence that they can build a complete system in which everything works together.

Identiv’s idOnDemand service is a turn-key cloud-based platform that makes establishing a trusted ecosystem across all lines of business, geographic locations, devices, and people simple and convenient. Central to the idOnDemand service is the certification authority that issues PKI certificates — the standard for secure communications through the internet, banks, and high-security cryptographic applications within and outside the U.S. government for the last 20 years. By combining PKI with purpose-built secure hardware such as a smart card, USB token, or other devices, like mobile, the certificate’s private key is not only protected in a high state of security, but is also portable across devices and services, enabling pervasive use of strong identity whenever (and wherever) required. Public and private sector customers are facing unprecedented challenges today… tight budgets and legacy systems on the one hand and unrelenting threats on the other. What is Identiv’s value proposition in this environment? Why Identiv?

Jason Hart: As the world transforms itself to consolidate toward a digital infrastructure — connecting applications, devices, and people — it is no longer acceptable to CISOs, CSOs, and information and corporate security professionals to invest in legacy systems that can’t provide the resistance to threats and attacks that are reasonably required while enabling them to achieve compliance mandates and protect trade secrets. Even roles outside of traditional IT are affected, as evidenced by the departure of the Target CEO after a security breach that affected 40 million customers in December 2013.

The only rational answer is to move to a universal, standards-based system involving more than a password. Multi-factor authentication significantly strengthens the authentication process because it removes the password and eliminates many pervasive methods attackers commonly and successfully execute.

This is where Identiv’s value proposition comes into play. Until recently, if an enterprise wished to implement a multi-factor authentication solution to include a smart card, the only option was to aggregate, install, integrate, and manage the smart card environment in-house.

Identiv offers a service that already has the infrastructure setup and ready to use, audits completed, and lifecycle features built. This helps organizations avoid customizations, a great deal of time, complexity, cost, and resource overhead when issuing and managing identity credentials.

Using Identiv’s idOnDemand-managed identity service, organizations can simply and cost effectively grant trusted access for employees, customers and partners to information and assets such as IT systems, remote access, data encryption, secure email, and buildings. Congratulations also the announcement regarding the launch of the uTrust Technology Partnership Program with Viscount Systems as first member. Care to elaborate?

Jason Hart: Sure. By working with Identiv, OEMs such as Viscount Systems can quickly and cost effectively replace outdated and insecure security systems with trusted, high-security access control solutions, and help customers move to converged access solutions. The foundation of Identiv’s trust solutions is a single universal identity credential that can be used to trust or securely access any resource — premises, information, or even everyday items — and is issued from our cloud-based Identiv Trust Services (ITS). Our OEM partners are able to gain the benefits of these systems by embedding them into their own solutions and selling to their respective markets. It is truly a validation of Identiv positioning to have won the Security Products 2014 Product of the Year Award for Near Field Communication Devices and the Government Security News Award for Premises Solution at San Diego International Airport. Please tell us more.

Jason Hart: Sure. The Security Products New Product of the Year Award honors the outstanding product development achievements of security equipment manufacturers whose products are considered to be particularly noteworthy in their ability to improve security. Identiv was proudly awarded the New Product of the Year Award for Near Field Communication (NFC) Devices for our Giant NFC tag, which measures 5.1 by 7.1 inches, and delivers consistent detection over the entire surface area by any NFC-enabled device.

As the adoption of NFC-enabled mobile devices continues, solution designers are demanding a broader range of NFC form factors. We are seeing an increasing demand from multiple industries to extend their Internet of Things strategy to include NFC. These solutions offer new sources of information and interactivity for customers and manufacturers to better understand their world, including electronic toys, healthcare, government, and consumer items.

We were also honored to be recognized for providing the high-assurance integrated premises access and security solution for San Diego International Airport’s new Terminal 2. Airport security is obviously critical and entry points are a key area of attack. Identiv’s premises solution provides high security with strong levels of identity verification to controlled and restricted areas, as evidenced by our extensive government customer list, including airports, federal and state agencies, courthouses, as well as San Diego International Airport.

A distinguished panel of judges selected Identiv’s program with SDIA as an example of a partnership that provides invaluable security technology to an airport. Identiv and SDIA have partnered for nearly 16 years, with the Identiv access control system growing with the airport to meet its evolving security needs. The access control system complies with all relevant federal requirements and technology standards and supports pre-hire clearance of airport workers. What are your key target markets?

Jason Hart: With nearly 100 patents granted and pending, 100,000,000 licenses, and over 5,000 customers worldwide, Identiv is trusted by the U.S. government, global governments, universities and research facilities, telecommunication groups, mobile phone producers, transit and automobile companies, healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies, museums, airports, gas and oil companies, retail establishments, international banks, technology corporations, and more. Is our federal government doing enough to protect our critical infrastructure? Is FIPS 201 part of the solution?

Jason Hart: The U.S. government has implemented a standard known as FIPS 201 that mandates strong two-factor authentication for both buildings and information/network access. Users have a single strong credential known as a personal identity verification (PIV) card — essentially, a smart card. These cards contain credentials known as digital certificates, generated from a public key infrastructure (PKI) system — a standard that has existed for over 20 years and is used to secure millions of objects today from computers and networks to passports and mobile devices.

From a security standpoint, PKI completely removes the password on both the endpoint and the back-end, leaving an attacker with no passwords to attack. In fact, PKI and digital certificates are used in every browser to secure the connections — when you see “https:” or a padlock icon to indicate secure.

Every organization should be embracing what the U.S. federal government does to protect their critical infrastructure. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to get up-and-running with a pilot, because PKI and digital certificates are standards — nearly all operating systems and cloud/applications software support their use. Identiv helps companies deploy PKI solutions as a turnkey cloud service, so they can get up-and-running even quicker. Jason, can we discuss the Internet of Things for a moment? The benefits of IoT are clear… in seconds with our mobile devices we can pay a bill, send a gift, make a dinner reservation, check the stock market, and much more, but are we more vulnerable? Are our mobile devices a weak link the bad guys can exploit to get into the network?

Jason Hart: Sure. I have a sneaking suspicion that people have realized the Internet of Things (or as I prefer to call it, the Internet of EVERYTHING) is one of my favorite subjects to discuss. Analysts predict that there will be over 50 billion connected objects by 2020. I believe that number will grow even higher than that.

The good news is that digital technologies exist today that protect the underlying threats of device attack. It will, however, be necessary for the industry to provide trust in the devices at their core with technology, such as digital certificates, and provide solutions that can be certified against published criteria so customers can decide the policy for their device use. Like BYOD, it is inevitable that companies will struggle to actually control the use of many IoT devices in the workplace and therefore, policy and vendor adoption of inherit trust into the devices is required. What about Support & Training for Identiv solutions?

Jason Hart: Identiv’s Support and Maintenance Programs provide our customers with the services and support they need to keep their software and hardware environment running optimally. Identiv support is available 24/7 and our customers can be confident to get the support their organization needs.

The Identiv Learning Center trains end users and certifies Identiv Channel Alliance Network (ICAN) partners. We offer self-paced online learning, immersive instructor-led courses, private training, and an online technical library. Thanks again for joining us today, Jason.

Jason Hart: Thank you.

This article was originally posted here.