INTERVIEW: Jim Miller, Chairman & CEO, ImageWare Systems

It’s an exciting time for identity management solutions provider ImageWare. Having been officially accredited as a Technology Partner in the Amazon Web Services Partner Network this past March, the company is now preparing to launch its flagship GoVerifyID system on Amazon’s cloud computing platform. INTERVIEW: Jim Miller, Chairman & CEO, ImageWare SystemsAnd given its track record with previous successful deployments, ImageWare’s multimodal, multi-factor biometric authentication platform is already proving popular in its cloud-based Software-as-a-Service iteration on AWS, with the company asserting that several customers are already signing up as resellers.

Mobile ID World President Peter O’Neill recently had the opportunity to discuss these exciting developments with ImageWare CEO Jim Miller in an interview touching on the AWS launch, the enterprise market, and how ImageWare’s year is shaping up.


Peter O’Neill, President, MobileIDWorld: You have just launched a new enterprise ready turnkey identity and transaction verification service, please tell us about this news and why it is so unique?

Jim Miller, Chairman and CEO, ImageWare Systems Inc.: Well we have been listening carefully to small, medium sized enterprise users and the one thing they have in common Peter is a serious concern over IT security. In a world of very complex password policies and login challenges, not to mention absolutely daunting and ever increasing security threats, how do you provide an easy user login experience while at the same time satisfying your IT professional’s security concerns? IWS’ GoVerifyID provides an answer to that problem by delivering an enterprise ready service that supplies multi-factor and multi-modal biometrics, can easily be integrated into existing security protocols with absolutely no disruption to business process, and simplifies password resets while enhancing security. It really is an enterprise ready, turnkey, end-to-end solution that covers the full range of authentication services. We are including identity proofing at the front end through our partner TransUnion, so our users can be sure that the biometrics tendered at enrollment are actually legitimate ones; we are also taking care of cloud provisioning via our partners at AWS. We are supporting virtually all mobile devices; we handle enrollment and real time authentication and verification with seamless and simple integration on a pay-as-you-go, scale-as–you-need basis. It is a product that is ready to go today and we think it is very timely given current market conditions.

MIDW: Speaking of those market conditions, what would you say the main drivers are behind this new offering?

IWS: Current events. The fact is that over 60% of all data breaches are a result of weak or stolen passwords. All of us have been reading about this for some time. Millions of people have been the victims of identity theft. C-level executives have been dismissed because of it and companies are facing fines, penalties, bad press, and incredible damage to their brand because of it. Costs are in the billions on a global basis and brand damage is incalculable. Companies and large segments of an enterprise workforce connect remotely, causing a nightmare for IT professionals. How do you know that it is you that is connecting and not someone who has taken your device and compromised your passwords? Frankly, with traditional methods, you don’t! You have no idea really who is behind the identity being presented. So ImageWare decided to provide an easily integrated pay-as-you-go, scale-as-you-need service for enterprises of all shapes/sizes and that adds the third factor of identification to what you have, what you know, and – the hardest factor to commit fraud against – who you actually are. Our biometric-enabled service does precisely that.

MIDW: You mentioned enterprises large and small, are there verticals that you feel will be more actively looking for this solution like financial, healthcare, etc?

IWS: Our three target markets remain retail, financial, and healthcare. However, fraudsters are indiscriminate with respect to vertical markets and it is a fact that last year hackers hit 70 million Target customers and they accessed 80 million Anthem patient records. Everybody from Walmart to the US Office of Personal Management to Experian and Blue Cross were also hit with a net result of millions of records compromised, damages ranging from litigation and serious brand damage to individuals getting their identities taken to their detriment. So enterprises of all shapes and sizes, private or public are welcome with a particular emphasis on the small and medium sized entities. Ones who are looking to avail themselves of secure and easy biometric authentication, but can’t find it all in a one stop environment and don’t have the in-house ability to set it up. So we are going to provide a turnkey, end-to-end solution for those folks.

MIDW: You talked a little bit about ease of deployment and ease of integration with legacy systems; can you talk a little bit more about that? How you are offering this out, you mentioned that it is available now, what is the pricing model, and how does it work?

IWS: Integration was a big issue for us and we tasked our engineering folks with the goal of making this what I call drop dead simple. We designed it that way and it works exactly that way. It takes somewhere from 4 to 16 hours of work to integrate. It literally takes 100 lines of code to integrate it, it is even less if you are connected via one of the interface standards for input or authentication exchanges, such as SCIM or SAML protocols. Our initial users were surprised, at how simple it is to integrate and use and how fast they can be in business. It is very fast and very simple and, as I said, designed from the get go to be that way. Pricing is on a per-person/per-month basis, but we can price on a per transaction basis as well. It is not only a flexible system, but the pricing model is flexible as well.

MIDW: Well Jim, I think the timing of all this is really incredible, because at the events that I am attending where mobility is a big factor, like MWC in Barcelona, enterprise-wide security was a very hot topic. And one final question if I may, has this been a good year for your company?

IWS: It has been a very exciting one. As you know, we are one of the true pioneers and innovators in the biometric industry. We have seen adoption go from if to when. We’ve seen having to explain what a biometric actually is to discussing licence terms with small, medium, and large enterprise users who now want to deploy biometric systems across several continents. It has been a good year and we think it is on its way to be a truly great one.

MIDW: Jim, thank you very much for speaking with us today.

IWS: My pleasure Peter…as always, great to talk with a fellow industry veteran!