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November Special Edition 2021 (Vol-II)

‘We Aim to Create Solutions that can Handle All Kinds of Information around the World Safely and Securely, and Become a Leading Company in the New Era’: Norio Fujita, Founder and Representative Director of Soft Giken Co., Ltd.

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“We are on a mission to make every world better by creating new services that utilize the latest security technology in the world.”

Soft Giken Co., Ltd. is a system development company that develops robust systems by making full use of IT technology based on the idea of “improving the whole world.” It develops social systems that support everyone’s lives and provides security services that protect important information.  To tackle the information leakage problem occurring globally, the firm is developing and providing “YubiOn security products” that realize two-factor authentication using FIDO authenticators or YubiKey which is an authenticator developed by Yubico, to protect access to innumerable applications with a single key.Soft Giken Co., Ltd. was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

Soft Giken Co., Ltd. was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

To highlight and further understand what Soft Giken Co., Ltd. stands for and seeks to explore in this segment, I sat down with Norio Fujita, who serves as the company’s Representative Director.

Below is an excerpt

Tell us what inspired the creation of Soft Giken Co., Ltd.

The mission of Soft Giken is to create a society where everyone can handle all kinds of information in the world safely and securely to “make every world better.”

We were convinced that software would change the world. Also, we were thinking of a borderless business.

Under contract from a major general electronics manufacturer, we have been developing disaster prevention information systems for national and local governments for many years.

We feel a sense of accomplishment in realizing ideas using security keys, challenging the field of security solutions, and contributing to society through the FIDO alliance.

Q. Soft Giken develops social systems that support lives and provide security services that protect essential information. Splendid. Would you like to elaborate on this a bit more?

We provide a river information system that predicts the occurrence of flood damage, and air environment system that constantly monitors the air pollution status, and a road monitoring system that provides the road status of expressways. For more than 30 years, we have been involved in the development of disaster prevention information systems for social infrastructure systems that are closely related to the lives of residents and allow them to spend their time safely and comfortably.

The river information disaster prevention system automatically collects and processes various data in real-time and promptly notifies the observer. It includes observation data such as precipitation, river water level, amount of water flowing through the river, meteorological information from meteorological observation satellites and rainfall radar, and video information from surveillance cameras that monitor rivers.

In order to reduce the risk of flood damage as much as possible, we will predict the occurrence of flood damage more quickly and reliably. In the event of a flood, the system will notify residents by email or broadcast of accurate and reliable information. In addition, the collected data is open to the public on the Internet.

We have developed the Internet and web application development services utilizing the communication application technology accumulated in this business. Soft Giken aims to create solutions that can handle all kinds of information around the world safely and securely and become a leading company in the new era.

Q. What can you tell us about the YubiOn security service?

YubiOn is a brand name of security service provided by Soft Giken.

YubiOn for Windows/Mac with YubiKey: The service provided by YubiOn has an authentication function and a management site that is easy for the administrator of the information system department to manage, which can also improve work efficiency.

To meet the increasing security requirements of telework, remote work, My Number support, PCI DSS support, etc., authentication in various situations such as PC logon, VPN, cloud service authentication, etc., is indispensable. We currently provide a two-factor authentication solution that uses YubiKey’s OTP when logging on to a PC.

YubiOn PC Logon is a solution that allows you to easily introduce the two-factor authentication of the PC, which is necessary for the security of the PC that you take out. With a simple set-up that installs the client software, integrated management by the administrator can be realized. There are two types of YubiOn solutions, a YubiOn cloud version and a YubiOn standalone version, that can be used in closed networks to provide the most suitable solution depending on the client’s usage environment.

YubiOn FIDO Logon: Two-factor authentication using FIDO2 is possible. This service can be used with FIDO2 certified external authenticators (Yubico YubiKey & Security Key / Feitian Japan BioPass FIDO2 / GoTrust Idem Key / AuthenTrend ATKey.Pro, etc.).

These external authenticators are sold by Soft Giken so that we can provide them together with the solution.

In order to increase the security strength, we combined a management site on the cloud that centrally manages users, PCs, and external authenticators with a Windows logon application. You can improve the user experience by using various FIDO2 certified external authenticators.

YubiOn FIDO2(R) Server Service (FIDO certified in March 2019): The service site has a management site for easy credential management by service providers, service system builders, and managers of in-house information system departments which can improve work efficiency. By using this service, you can safely and easily use Web applications for PCs and smartphones with FIDO2 authentication. It can be applied in various business fields.

You can use FIDO2 authenticators such as YubiKey, IdemKey, and biometric ATKey sold by Soft Giken. This service contributes to the spread of the “passwordless society” that the FIDO Alliance aims for.

YubiOn FIDO2(R) Appliance Server: It is currently sold only in Japan. We developed a server that implements FIDO2 authentication as an appliance server to accelerate the commercial use of FIDO2.

The Appliance Server provides core network management technology indispensable for corporate infrastructure as an appliance to reduce TCO of complex network management, improve visibility, improve availability, increase stable network uptime, support corporate business, and continue to provide ICT solutions. FIDO2 server developed by Soft Giken can realize the latest FIDO2 authentication method is implemented, and we sell it as the Appliance Server.

Q. What strategies are in place to encourage innovation in your company?

Research on the latest technology: Network security research teams are exploring the latest technologies such as FIDO.

We are developing by incorporating ever-evolving technology even in the business domain related to disaster prevention information systems.

System development is realized by making proposals that exceed customer needs.

Specific measures: Currently, we are focusing on developing solutions that protect and strengthen the entrance to PCs.

In addition, we will provide an API so that the YubiOn solution can be linked with the federation function.

In the future, we will strengthen the development of authentication solutions that can support cloud computing of platforms (PCs).

Expand alliances with companies related to authentication technology globally.

Marketing measures: We are not considering establishing an overseas base, but we will increase service sales and technical support partners.

We will actively incorporate the use of digital advertising and SNS to expand our business globally. We are aiming to be a company that can provide total security solutions.

To that end, we will expand the business domain, such as expanding the security application area and providing secure data management.

Furthermore, we aim to “make every world better” by creating new services that utilize the latest security technology in the world.

Q. Will Soft Giken be expanding, bringing on any new products or services that we should be aware of?

Soft Giken started providing new services using FIDO2 certification, which is the latest specification of FIDO, in May 2021. It makes centralized management possible on the Web management site. You can combine a cloud-based management site that centrally manages users, PCs, and external authenticators with the Windows logon app for added security and improve the user experience with all FIDO2 certified external authenticators.

The users can freely combine and use FIDO2 certified external authenticators according to their respective usage conditions.

Q. Where do you stand as a company in the current market landscape? And what are you doing to stay ahead of the curve?

Currently, we are focusing on the Japanese market and are not considering establishing an overseas base. We will expand our business globally by increasing the number of overseas partners for service provision and technical support and by actively incorporating the use of digital advertising and SNS.

We are also focusing on developing solutions that protect and strengthen the entrance to PCs.

In addition, SSO and federation functions and closed network products (YubiOn standalone and hybrid versions) will be added to the YubiOn solution to improve client convenience.

In the near future, we will strengthen the development of authentication solutions that can support “Cloud PC”.

Q. How do you plan to combat your competition?

Currently, we are researching, developing, and providing functions and services that other companies do not provide. In the future, we will also provide solutions that incorporate convenient functions and services provided by other companies. In addition, by participating in the working group as Sponsor Level Members of the FIDO Alliance, we will grasp the latest standards at an early stage and utilize them to develop new authentication solutions.

Q. What plans for transformation are you pursuing to remain relevant now and in the future?

We aim to be a leading company in a new era with the technologies we have cultivated over many years in software development and the new technologies we have always adopted. Soft Giken is working on technological development with pride in everything that the world wants. We believe it is important to contribute to every world, society, community, and field. We are in response to the change, to apply for a new paradigm and trends, and will continue to develop leaders who can think positively.

The Visionary Leader at the Helm of Soft Giken Co., Ltd.

Norio Fujita is the Founder and Representative Director of Soft Giken Co., Ltd. He believes that software is a collection of knowledge, wisdom, and intelligence. He is driving the company successfully with the aim of contributing to the world through software.

After building a steel-related system, he started a social infrastructure (river, road, atmosphere, etc. monitoring and disaster prevention information management) system construction business that contributes to public safety. This is still the main business of Soft Giken.

In 2010, he believed that a system that protects society’s safety and security is important and began developing a security solution [YubiOn] at the entrance of a PC using YubiKey (Yubico). The origin of the name, “Yubi,” means finger in Japanese. YubiKey can authenticate the PC more safely by touching it with a finger.

Mr. Fujita is making full use of IT technology, developing various systems, and expanding alliances with companies related to authentication technology globally.

"For more than 30 years, we have been involved in the development of disaster prevention information systems for social infrastructure systems that are closely related to the lives of residents and allow them to spend their time safely and comfortably.”

"We will actively incorporate the use of digital advertising and SNS to expand our business globally. We are aiming to be a company that can provide total security solutions.”