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Enterprises Can Abandon Their On-Premises Hardware & Servers, Embrace BYOD

RSA Interview with Craig Lund, Chief Executive Officer at SecureAuth

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Please tell us, what is SecureAuth Corporation all about and what do you do?

Craig Lund: SecureAuth provides 2-Factor Access Control to all industries, extending to mobile, cloud, web, and network resources. We have developed a range of products that enable two-factor authentication, single sign-on, and identity management services on-premises or hosted on the cloud. Our main product, SecureAuth IdP, can deploy into virtually any environment, facilitates flexible authentication via our 20+ authentication mechanisms, asserts identities to all applications through SSO, and provides help desk and user management services, including logging and auditing, 1-Touch Revocation, and self-service password reset.

SecureAuth set out to fix common authentication problems, and by designing our solution scalable and with the future in mind, we have been able to adapt to all movements away from VPNs and hard tokens, and into cloud and mobile business without requiring major adjustments.

Our solution enables any organization to become its own Identity Provider (IdP), maintaining internal control of identities and access, while enabling uncomplicated access for employees, partners, contractors, and customers.

What are you launching at RSA?

Lund: At RSA 2014, SecureAuth will be unveiling its 100% cloud-based authentication solution, 2-Factor as a Service (2FaaS). Hosted in the infinitely scalable Google Apps Engine, any organization can deploy two-factor authentication for all of its users, especially customers. 2FaaS accepts any identity and authenticates via SMS, Telephony, and E-mail One-time Passwords (OTPs), and our patent-pending, low-friction Device Fingerprinting to ensure secure access to web and mobile applications.

With 2FaaS, organizations can abandon their on-premises hardware and servers, embrace BYOD, and implement confident security into their corporate resources without ever storing user information or passwords on the cloud.

The biggest challenge for us in telling the 2FaaS story is assuring customers that their data remains secure even with a cloud-hosted solution. In a post-PRISM world, organizations are rightfully cautious about utilizing cloud resources to access confidential data. We are no longer tied to desktops and web servers that rest securely in our protected networks; we employ mobile devices and communicate and work within applications that are open to the world.

However, 2FaaS is unique in its architecture. It deploys within individual applications without requiring any identity provisioning. It simply conducts the authentication without any passwords or personal profile information required. Because this seems impossible, conveying this message to others has been difficult; but we are steadily acquiring believers.

Who is your target audience and how do you intend to reach them? What is the biggest challenge you face right now in telling your story and winning over new clients?

Lund: SecureAuth's target audience for 2FaaS is organizations that require customers to access their resources. Because this solution requires no identity provisioning, hardware, or thick clients, and can be utilized by any user on any device, the lightweight authentication is ideal for users outside of internal networks.

The biggest challenge for us in telling the 2FaaS story is assuring customers that their data remains secure even with a cloud-hosted solution. 2FaaS is unique in its architecture as it deploys within individual applications without requiring any identity provisioning. It simply conducts the authentication without any passwords or personal profile information required. Because this seems impossible, conveying this message to others has been difficult; but we are steadily acquiring believers.

I'd be curious to hear any general thoughts you have on market trends...

Lund: The trend is now moving away from traditional networks and enforcement points and toward applications and browsers. There are ways to safely and easily access any application from any glass, so why go through a traditional VPN? Google has proven this model to work quite well. It's the future.

What is the viral aspect of your product?

Lund: 2FaaS is a drop-in solution for applications with a simple web redirect to our service. We don't duplicate the users' PII in the cloud like other solutions. Our phone is ringing off the hook from ISPs and enterprises looking to protect their users' PII. We are a true B2C BYOD solution because we don't need to control the end point; we are all server side code.

What's the business model? How will you make money?

Lund: We sell a per user/per year subscription through a direct sales channel and also through traditional security resellers, like Fishnet and Accuvant. We also sell through an OEM and white label model where SecureAuth is invisible to the user of a branded product or service.

Who are your competitors?

Lund: It is cliché to say we have no competitors but there really is no other integrated solution that combines two-factor authentication, identity federation, Identity management, and mobile security all in a single platform that deploys out-of-the-box. We do have competitors in targeted point solutions like RSA, Okta, and Ping Identity.

How do you differentiate from your competitors?

Lund: Our competitors specialize in one area; SecureAuth specializes in four. We have the most flexible strong authentication, the most extensive federation, have expanded further into mobile security than anyone else, and include IdM tools, including cost-saving and effective user self-services. And we achieve all of that in a single product, whereas our competitors would require third-party tools and extensive professional services to attempt tie together several products to achieve the same functionality as SecureAuth.

How does your technology differentiate from the competition and can you elaborate on the different technology deployed?

Lund: SecureAuth has been awarded numerous patents and has several more pending. Our technologies on X.509 delivery, authentication, and revocation; secure mobile access; and two-factor-to-SSO architecture have launched our products to the top of the market, while our technologies on user-device registration have resulted in major customer wins.

Device Fingerprinting is a unique technology that comes with SecureAuth IdP and SecureAuth 2FaaS. The system pulls unique characteristics from mobile or desktop devices, and maps them to users in the enterprise directory. This enables low-friction subsequent authentication as the SecureAuth solution recognizes the device and authenticates via the fingerprint rather than requiring an OTP or token. This enables high security with no user friction - a true BYOD solution.

What business or technology could yours disrupt?

Lund: SecureAuth's technology has the potential to eliminate traditional authentication and point-solutions by deploying a company portal protected by SecureAuth wherein the enterprise does not need a traditional VPN to provide secure access to any application for employees, partners, contractors, and customers. By designing an adaptable and modern solution that facilitates convenient authentication and identity federation for all resources with a single license, products that cover only one aspect of enterprise security or require high-friction workflows (hard tokens, thick clients, etc.) do not make sense anymore.

Who founded the company, when? What can you tell me about the story of the company's founding?

Lund: I founded SecureAuth with my technical co-founder, Garret Grajek, whom I met back in the early days of IAM at Netegrity. We worked together again at IBM where I ran the security sales teams for the Americas, and through numerous customer interactions it became clear to us that a browser-based authentication solution that integrated with identity and federation tools was the future. Seemed logical to us that if you were going to federate an identity, shouldn't you be really sure who they are first? And yet there wasn't a solution that combined authentication and federation/assertions, thus SecureAuth was born.

What is your distribution model? Where to buy your product?

Lund: SecureAuth sells directly and through the channel. The product can be purchased directly via contact with the SecureAuth Sales team or through any one of SecureAuth's certified resellers.

What's next on your product roadmap?

Lund: It's all about mobile - any device to any application. We also continue to add new authentication methods to our workflow funnel as new threats emerge.

Are you targeting a first VC round? If yes when and what will you use the funds for?

Lund: We have raised 21 million to date. Our two largest investors are Toba Capital led by Vinnie Smith, and Allen Miner of Sunbridge.

How much money is being sought?

Lund: We are projecting cash flow positive in 2014 while maintaining our streak of 100% growth. So for us it's not a question of raising money for ongoing operations, but rather, do we want to do a very large raise with a top tier VC to push for more than 100% growth? Those discussions are ongoing.

What else would you like to add?

Lund: It's a great time to be in the IT security business. The market is very receptive to effective, innovative, cost-effective solutions. I love going to work every day.

Partnerships, collaborations or affiliations:

Lund: FishNet Security, Unisys, Accuvant

Federal or state grants, contracts or awards received:

Lund: SecureAuth was awarded the Stevie Award for "Fastest-Growing Company" in 2012 by The American Business Awards, won the People's Choice Stevie Award for Favorite Security Solution, was selected as "Favorite BYOD Security Solution" by UP-START, ranked highest in Customer Satisfaction in the Forrester Wave Report, was deemed "positive" in the Gartner WAM Report, and was recognized as a "visionary" provider in the latest Gartner Authentication Magic Quadrant.#

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their registered owners.

More Stories By Xenia von Wedel

Xenia von Wedel, Tech blogger and VP of Socialradius/San Francisco-San Jose. She mainly writes about B2B solutions, social media and open source software. SocialRadius is a full-service social media marketing agency, serving clients in a variety of industries worldwide. The agency is focused on thought leadership content creation and syndication, social media outreach and strategy.