Forticode breaking new ground in cyber security

Information and credential theft could be a thing of the past thanks to Cipherise, a revolutionary product which has been developed by Forticode, a Melbourne-based start-up cyber security company specialising in user authentication innovation.

Cipherise transforms the user’s mobile phone into a digital key that creates a personally-held digital identity that can never be replicated or shared.

According to Forticode’s Founder and CEO, Tony Smales, (as pictured above) Cipherise offers protection against digital espionage and credential theft.

“Companies now have to consider the best way to protect themselves and their clients from fraudulent digital access. To best integrate digital security, it needs to be both simple and secure to the user.”

The Cipherise program is a decentralised solution where credentials are protected on every individual user’s smartphone.

“Users no longer need to remember multiple usernames and passwords for every system that they access because the Cipherise solution consolidates all access into a single risk based user experience,” said Mr Smales.

It’s been a big six months for Forticode with Pronto Software recently announcing a $1.3 million investment in Forticode, forming a partnership that will see Pronto Software’s Research and Development team working closely with Forticode throughout 2018 to further develop and integrate Cipherise into its cloud-based customer solutions.

And, in November 2017, Forticode was recognised in Gartner’s Cyber Security Report, ‘Market Guide for User Authentication’ which provides insights and recommendations for organisations navigating through the issues of security in an expanding digital environment.

Also in November, Forticode announced that it had partnered with EY to provide state of the art cyber security solutions through Cipherise.

But, as Tony Smales will attest, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing: “In April 2016 we literally threw all our technology in the bin, which was a huge decision, and rebuilt it from scratch.”

While it meant the company had to take a temporary step backwards, Tony is adamant that the resulting developments have been worth the effort and Forticode is growing from strength to strength with over 25 companies currently piloting the technology with a view to engagement.

While Forticode is now attracting the attention of large enterprises, Tony says the biggest challenge he’s faced is “the disbelief factor” that a small company in Melbourne couldn’t possibly be ahead of the US and Israel.

“Because we are different to anything on the market and we can claim that Cipherise is immune to phishing, people think it’s impossible. It counters what every other security company says – they believe that it’s something you can mitigate but you can’t actually prevent. So our answer is, even if you get hold of a password, it’s irrelevant because you can’t use it.

“We’ve suffered an awful lot of disbelief and the Australian market is very hesitant to try anything new at the best of times. So we’ve been a bit bullish about saying that we need to be able to succeed here before we would even think about trying to conquer overseas,” he said.

From the outset Tony has been prudent in protecting his innovation and continues to engage Watermark to advise on IP at both local and international levels.

“When you have something unique and ground-breaking, you need to protect it. With a lot of the rules changing in relation to IP and IP protection, you need to execute your IP strategy very quickly and effectively.

“When I started out, I asked myself, is this something I could sell to another entity in a discreet transaction without selling the business? So I actually looked at the IP strategy as a way of building assets rather than it just being a protectionist approach,” he said

Forticode is currently being advised by James Wan, Senior Associate, who is a patent and trade marks attorney and lawyer based in Sydney.

“James has shown exceptional intellect and understanding of what we are trying to achieve, not just what we have. He thinks about how he can help, not ‘what do I need him to do?’

“The delivery so far into the next phase with our existing patents has been a well-controlled and led conversation from Watermark’s side which is what I need,” he said

So what does the future hold for Forticode?

“The current strategy is to continue the initial organic engagements and continue to build the product that will allows us to do direct sales to government and enterprise. We’re very focussed on a partnership strategy so we’re talking to a number of the integrators and the consultative companies,” said Mr Smales.

Forticode will definitely be one to watch.


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