VB Interview #19 – John Sharp, CEO of Authentium


John Sharp first contacted me in May 2007, via Linkedin. I was Head of Online Sales at Lloyds TSB, and John came across my Linkedin profile and my blog.

John is the CEO and Chairman of Authentium, a Miami based company specialized in securing customer communications and transactions. John is constantly travelling the world: we have already met twice in London (we met again last week) and he is spending the next couple of days in Asia.

Online security is a major concern for customers… and for banks. Phishingis still a big issue in the UK. 53% of phishing emails originate from the US, according to a recent study by ClearMyMail. It looks like fraudsters become more and more clever by the day.

Customer confidence and trust in online banking is low, and it is a challenge banks need to address quickly.

Banks must find innovative ways to reassure their clients
Most solution providers acknowledged the importance of online security. AtFinovate in New York, I saw the excellent demonstration from CheckFree: their solution can be configured to call your client on his mobile phone and ask him for his pin before allowing him to connect to your online banking service.

More and more banks are providing two-factor authentification. John shared with me an anecdote in Asia where most banks are providing a widget for 2FA. One day, he met that man who had several banking relationships: he had to make sure his pocket was big enough to carry all those widgets…
2FA is not the perfect solution, and it is quite costly to roll out (costs for the widgets, shipping them to your clients, educating your customers, providing customer support…) and people can loose their widget.

Authentium: secure your customer communications
Authentium provide two key products that I found extremely interesting:
VERO, a secure web browser
elements with VirtualATM, a secure desktop widget platform.

With those two solutions easy to rollout, banks can make sure they communicate with their clients in a secure way. Moreover, it could be a good marketing tool to increase your customer base and retain your valuable customers: it is easy to install, easy to use, and it is reliable.
With elements, marketeers can push relevant service info or promote a product directly to their client desktop. Then, clients can initiate a secure session to increase their confidence online.

Interview with John Sharp


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Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London, Christophe is an entertaining social media keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of social media, social business and digital innovation.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is 'Social Media Senior Managing Consultant' at IBM Interactive Experience. He's also a Digital Advisor at the Financial Services Forum and the Moller Centre (part of the Churchill College in Cambridge).

Christophe's views on are his own, not necessarily his employer's.

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