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Entersekt: Authentication and mobile app security solutions that open up digital banking

 Silicon Review
   2016-03-17

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“The single biggest existential threat that’s out there, I think, is cyber.” –Michael Mullen

In 2013, financial services companies in the US lost an average of $23.6 million per company from cyber-security breaches—the highest average loss across 26 industries. Financial institutions today recognize the value that mobile devices offer in shielding their customers from fraud. Yet, the most widely used approach, in which an OTP (one-time password) is sent to the customer’s mobile device, cannot guarantee that transactions are safe from phishing or man-in-the-middle attacks. Based outside of Cape Town, South Africa, Entersekt is the first company in the world to roll out a fully interactive online and mobile transaction authentication system for financial institutions and other enterprises.

Founded five years ago, the company has already signed numerous banking clients in Africa, Europe and the USA. It has been certified by Visa, MasterCard and American Express for integration with their 3-D secure payment systems, and its flagship product, Transakt, is FIDO Certified as a U2F authenticator.

Entersekt is an innovator and thought leader in digital authentication and mobile security. In this industry, it is critical to stay ahead of the curve with security solutions in order to sufficiently protect clients. Entersekt continually invests in research and development to ensure that it stays ahead of the fraud curve. The company has been able to maintain a proud track record of identifying threats and developing a solution to neutralize them before they go mainstream. Entersekt continuously engages with its clients to get a clear understanding of the challenges they face in the industry. These challenges, together with the company’s own research, are then fed back into the product roadmap.

Transakt: Expanding Opportunities on the Mobile Channel
Transakt, Entersekt’s primary product, transforms just about any mobile phone into a powerful weapon in the fight against account takeover fraud. It is available in two deployment options: a mobile software development kit (SDK) and mobile security app. The powerful SDK enables institutions to leverage Entersekt’s advanced mobile security infrastructure in their own existing apps. The SDK provides the strongest possible device ID in the form of an X.509 digital certificate while also enabling transaction signing capabilities. Where rapid deployment is required, or where an institution does not have its own mobile app, there is the light-weight, stand-alone Transakt app, compatible with hundreds of models of phone on IOS, Android, Windows Phone and other platforms. The user experience consists of a push-based authentication prompt on the mobile phone, together with the relevant transaction details, and a simple choice between Accept and Reject.

With the multi-factor authentication and advanced mobile app security Transakt provides, its customers are free to think big, expand their mobile offerings without exposing their own clients to cybercrime.

Clientele
Entersekt’s activity in the North American and European markets is focused on the top-30 banks, as well as the core and online banking providers. The company’s target customer base is financial services in general (including payments applications) and banking in particular, focusing on meeting the mobile security and authentication needs in heavily regulated industries. Its clients include Nedbank, CapitecBank, Investec, Old Mutual, Swisscard AECS, Equity Bank, FirstBank in Colorado, and many other enterprises.

Customer Success
Nedbank is among South Africa’s largest financial institutions, with assets of over $54 billion and over 7.3 million retail and corporate clients in mid-2015. It is present in 39 African countries, partly through its alliance with Lomé-based Ecobank. Headquartered in Johannesburg, it employs over 29,000 staff.

Nedbank has all but eliminated online banking fraud since the launch, in March 2012, of Approve-it, an interactive transaction authentication security feature built by Entersekt to replace an earlier system using SMS one-time passwords. It allows Nedbank customers to authenticate online banking transactions using their mobile devices. It also forms the security platform on which the award-winning Nedbank App Suite is built. This fast-growing range of mobile services – from retail and business banking to personal financial management and online stock trading – was downloaded 1.1 million times bymid-2015.

The Nedbank App Suite has been widely credited for its simplicity, convenience, functionality, and cost effectiveness. It provides a consistent, intuitive user experience regardless of the various back-end systems the different services engage. It requires little, if any, customer education. In 2013, it was recognized as the best consumer app on Android at South Africa’s premier mobile app awards. It has been showcased at the Accenture Global CIO Forum 2013 in Rome, and was the subject of a presentation at the Gartner Identity and Access Management Summit 2013 in Los Angeles that same year.

The Future Sight
For the immediate future, Entersekt plans to:

  • continuously raise the security bar because convenient security will enable everything else on the mobile channel
  • mature the authentication use case because it is the immediate market need
  • unlock other mobile use cases because users want value beyond peace of mind
  • enable market and channel partners because they need to fully exploit the window of opportunity
  • focus on asymmetric biometrics, adding other biometric factors such as voice

In addition, the company is reaching out to new industries, including developing solutions tailored to health and insurance providers.

Client testimonials
“We are delighted with the 99% reduction in phishing losses since the introduction of the Approve-It system.”
– Anton de Wet, managing executive client engagement, Nedbank

“The Entersekt solution ensures leading-edge security combined with easy-to-use convenience.”
– Carl Fischer, executive marketing &corporate affairs, Capitec Bank

Meet the Master Trio
Schalk Nolte, CEO
Schalk joined Entersekt as CEO in 2009, bringing with him experience in managing large-scale mobile technology and network deployments for GSM operators across Africa and the Pacific. Schalk’s passion for entrepreneurship and his relationships in the industry have been driving forces behind Entersekt’s growth.

Gerhard Oosthuizen, CIO
Gerhard provides the organizational and operational power that translates Entersekt’s vision into reality. He has a wealth of experience in developing and managing successful international software development and delivery teams, including for S1 Corporation.

Dewald Nolte, VP business development
Dewald is one of the four founders of the company and leads the business development team. Having been involved in several projects further afield than Entersekt, including the A-Darter missile program for Denel Dynamics; his technical ability is as impressive as his solid business acumen.

“ Our authentication and mobile security solutions make the digital world safer to bank and shop.”

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