Intellicheck’s president, Garrett Gafke, recently interviewed Ping Identity’s CEO, Andre Durand, to discuss the emerging space of identity and security. Here, we get his insight on where he thinks the sector is headed.
Can you tell me a little bit about your history and background?
I started a small software company before web browsers were a thing and sold it in 1998 before starting another company Jabber, an instant messaging tool. In October 2001, I took a sabbatical and while on a friend’s sailboat had an “aha” moment–if our identity is the most important thing in the physical world why is it not a huge focus in the digital world.
That’s when I decided to focus on identity and what it should look like. This idea essentially laid the foundation and set a roadmap for Ping–one that we’re still following 20 years later.
Give us a summary of PingID.
PingID is a cloud-based, multi-factor authentication (MFA) solution for workforces that drastically improves their security posture. We secure about 3 billion identity accounts for the world’s largest enterprises including governments, banks, and airlines, to name a few.
To account for evolving authentication policies, our security is stepped up in high-risk scenarios and streamlined for low-risk users and applications. We made it so that it can integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Azure AD, Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) and Windows login, Mac login and SSH applications.
How have you seen the importance of digital identity change over the last decade?
The importance of digital identity has always been important, however, within the last 10 years its recognition has changed dramatically. We used to be able to avoid the necessity of a strong identity in the way we secured things and have this notion of securing the perimeter, but that’s dissolved in the last decade.
Now we are left with the question of how we secure ourselves. There’s no firewall between us and the bad guy in the digital world.
Identity becomes the focal point. We are left to defend our identity on our own. I would see we’ve seen a massive change in the way that we think about security with a singular focus of protecting identity.
Why are you passionate about this industry? What drew you to the industry?
The mission of identity to enable security so that we can maintain our freedom is a worthy mission. People who are mission-driven, care about what their impact has on society. There’s no shallow end to the pool of identity either. For some people that will scare them, but for me that was attractive.
If our digital identity is not secure, then our digital world is not secure, and that’s scary. Technology has made our lives significantly easier. A task that used to take an hour, now takes you five seconds, such as depositing a check. However, it’s all the more important that those tasks are as secure as they are convenient.
How do you believe secure identities play into the overall customer experience?
We definitely take our sense of freedom for granted until it’s taken away. Let’s say someone breaks into your house, now you are afraid to leave and the natural human reaction is to go into lockdown mode. So you bar up your windows and never leave the house, now your freedom is lost.
The same thing is true in our digital world–if we constantly had to worry that something insecure was going to happen, we would live in a very different world. Consumers expect their interactions to be secure. Trust and brand loyalty are all associated with keeping customers’ information secure. They also want frictionless interactions. We as an industry have to balance the friction. If you throw up too much friction, it can actually derail your consumer into thinking “nevermind”. We have to reduce that.
What recent trends have you seen that are worth noting?
Bots are coming. They’re being used to perpetrate identity fraud to create fraudulent accounts and do account takeovers. API’s are the focus of the attack, so corporations need to be prepared.
This space touches everything–AI, machine learning, etc. It’s the foundation of security. We are not free if we are not secure. Enabling security is foundational to our freedom.