SecurityBrief Asia - Technology news for CISOs & cybersecurity decision-makers
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Interview: Twizo explains why the 2FA revolution isn’t quite here – but it is coming
Mon, 28th May 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Silverstreet is a cloud communications company that prides itself on making communications simple.

All too often too many services are presented in unnecessarily complicated wrappers – but Silverstreet is trying to demystify that approach with its enterprise partners.

One of its brands is Twizo, a cybersecurity brand that aims to take the same simplification approach to two factor authentication.

I spoke to Eric Dadoun, who works across both Silverstreet and Twizo. As Twizo's chief commercial officer and a serial entrepreneur, he started his first business as a teenager and has been involved in numerous opportunities.

Dadoun first discovered the application-to-person industry through a promotional SMS that invited him to an event. He was interested to find out how the message was delivered to him, particularly because it wasn't from a contact.

“Long story short and coming on 15 years later I've enjoyed the opportunity to be a direct part of Silverstreet, Twizo, Impiro and in a variety of other companies through an investment role.

“I'm really excited about the future and our ability to help create it so when I see a problem and I see great people working on a solution I love getting involved. That's the great thing about being an entrepreneur in that we have the tools to try to fix the problems we face so I couldn't be happier.

There are certainly many opportunities when it comes to the development of security measures like two-factor authentication (2FA). Twizo was built on the foundation of simple, customized 2FA.

“Cybersecurity is a problem we all face but 2FA is offered by a lot of service providers in either a too complicated or too unclear of a way. We want to offer 2FA in an easy to use, easy to understand and easy to implement package which we think we have done,” Dadoun says.

Two-factor authentication has a few barriers to overcome before it becomes an inherent part of business, particularly as many organisations misunderstand what it can do, or because 2FA is just not user friendly.

On top of that, organisations are still relying too much on traditional username and password access. There are also a variety of 2FA solutions that users deem ‘burdensome', Dadoun says.

The problem lies not just as the enterprise level – consumers also play their part. Nobody wants to be a victim of fraud, so why don't they insist on 2FA?

“We're all human and 'it won't happen to me' is unfortunately a mentality that we all periodically struggle with when it comes to cyber security and even offline threats. Being reactive after the fact is far more complicated, costly and less effective than pre-emption. In the same way that we invest in insurance for our health, homes, automobiles and so on, we should be investing in insurance for our digital security.

Dadoun points out that there's no one-size-fits-all-approach so we can't rely on traditional 2FA solutions.

“We have to promote continued innovation in the 2FA space and finally that we have to give enterprises as well as consumers the flexibility to pick a method that suits them best.

“In addition to flexibility and ease of use, enterprises can incentivise users to activate 2FA. The cost of a data breach in terms of monetary and brand image loss far exceeds the costs associated with incentivising users through discounts, promotions or other such actions. “

In addition to a variety of 2FA offerings, Twizo is also trying to make it clear that 2FA can indeed be a viable component to a larger cybersecurity strategy.

“Every additional layer of protection goes a long way and 2FA is a legitimate layer.

In Singapore, Dadoun says there is strong government and institutional support around 2FA and ceneral cybersecurity.

“There are some great R-D efforts backed by the government being operated out of NUS (National University of Singapore) in conjunction with direct government organisations such as the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA),” he says.

“We are doing our best to engage with these groups and we welcome anyone else to reach out to us as we are big believers that educating the public is going to be a big step in the efforts towards adoption.

“We are also seeing big enterprises such as Singapore Airlines start to adopt 2FA which is great as hopefully that will lead to others following their lead.

With 2FA simplicity at the core of its business, Dadoun says that it's about building a product that every Twizo employee would enjoy using as a consumer.

“It's an exciting space that we're all eventually going to have to deal with in the future as our world becomes even more digitized so we're really fortunate to have a chance to contribute to it."