Life in the digital age is filled with everyday conveniences. Information is never more than a tap, swipe or click away, and tasks that used to require an in-person visit or phone call – such as shopping, banking or inquiring about a tax return – can be ticked off a to-do list by simply logging into a website or a mobile app.

But these conveniences also bring a whole set of challenges as users of online services and apps grapple with worries about security, privacy, and the risk of identity theft or fraud.

Simpler, safer and surer access to services

Toronto's SecureKey Technologies is easing many of these concerns with innovative solutions that simplify consumer access to online services and applications by letting them use their digital credentials with trusted providers. For example, Canadians who want to check the status of government benefits such as pension or employment insurance can choose SecureKey's Concierge ServiceTM solution to sign in to the Government of Canada website through their bank.

"With SecureKey Concierge ServiceTM, Canadians can use their trusted and well-remembered bank password to log in to the Government of Canada website and see their taxes and benefits and access other government services," says Greg Wolfond, CEO of SecureKey. "Millions of Canadians are now using the service."

SecureKey goes beyond convenience with a solution that truly protects consumers

SecureKey offers more than the convenience of using a familiar password. The solution's technology architecture ensures that no personal information is shared during the log-in process, and neither the trusted provider – such as the bank – nor the online service being accessed know about each other's relationship to the user.

"If you're accessing a government service, the beauty is we make sure the bank you sign in with never knows which service you're going to and the government never knows which bank you're using," says Wolfond.

From Ontario to the world

SecureKey was founded in April 2008 and now has over 80 employees, with the majority working in Toronto and a few working out of the company's offices in Ottawa, Boston and San Francisco. The company's technology is now used by millions of Government of Canada service users, and by partners in the United Kingdom and the US.

SecureKey is in the process of launching a new service that makes it simpler for consumers to share their identity and their other data in a secure and private manner. The new service received a grant from the Command Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analytics (CCICADA), a research center of excellence funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate, for its security and privacy characteristics.

"People are looking at what we're doing and saying 'this is a great model,'" says Wolfond.

Greg Wolfond, CEO of SecureKey

No single organization or industry can solve today's digital identity challenges – collaboration is necessary to bring together the best capabilities to benefit all organizations, institutions, governments, and their citizens. To bring the new service to market, SecureKey has been hard at work bringing together leading organizations from across financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, and government to create an ecosystem that solves the challenges associated with digital identity.

SecureKey is backed by blue-chip investors such as Intel Capital, Rogers, Telus, TD, BMO, Scotia, CIBC, RBC, Desjardins and National Bank. The company recently started working with IBM on a new, blockchain-based technology that will enhance identity authentication and expand the range of SecureKey services to include telecommunications companies and other levels of government.

Wolfond says SecureKey's Ontario location is a key factor in the company's success.

"All the banks are within a few blocks of each other in downtown Toronto," says Wolfond. "With our headquarters in Toronto, we have great access to our customer base."

SecureKey's proximity to the country's banks is also critical because the company is working closely with these partners, as well as governments across the country, to roll out its new blockchain-based technology. The progress made in Ontario becomes the framework for what can be offered on a global scale.

A labour pool rich with highly skilled talent

SecureKey's logo

SecureKey's location also provides an edge when it comes to finding skilled talent – which is a big challenge for most technology companies, says Wolfond. Blockchain developers and experts in user interfaces, identity, privacy, fraud management and technology usability are essential to continued innovation at SecureKey, and Ontario's labour pool is a rich source of these highly specialized workers.

"All the great schools, such as University of Toronto and University of Waterloo, are within easy reach from our location," says Wolfond. "And with access to plenty of services, a great lifestyle and a great vibe overall, Toronto is a place where people love to work and live."

A supportive environment for business

Wolfond, who has built four other companies in Ontario, says the province provides a supportive environment for businesses, in particular those that are focused on leading-edge innovations. As an example of this support, he points to government-backed programs such as Ontario Centres of Excellence, which co-invests with industry to commercialize innovations and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs.

"We are not moving our base," says Wolfond. "I have a history of building successful companies in Ontario, and I will continue to do that with SecureKey here."

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