The year 2020 has finally come to an end and every industry across the globe including the BFSI sector is planning the new year with a lot of optimism, underlining the opportunities above the adversities and challenges. To understand the product providers for the sector and their plans for 2021, we recently spoke to Binod Singh, President & Chairman of the Board, Ilantus Technologies, a company that deals in secure identity and access management with Single Sign-On, Multi-factor Authentication, Identity Governance & Administration, Privileged Access Management and more. In an exclusive conversation with Elets News Network (ENN), Singh said that the company is stepping into 2021 with a lot of optimism and hope and adding new capabilities into its flagship offering, Compact Identity. He also said that the company strengthened its distribution channels and recruited several strong technology and distribution partners across the world to be ready for 2021.
How has COVID-19 changed the technology solution providers for the BFSI industry? What challenges and opportunities did you come across post the pandemic?
Talking about opportunities first, Ilantus is a key player in the deep cybersecurity space and the requirement for our technology has gone up due to Covid-19 because working from home has increased the need for employees to access enterprise applications and vital resources of their company remotely. As a result, Identity and Access Management (IAM) has generated a lot of interest lately and the active demand in terms of procurement has amped up. Having said that, in the BFSI sector, the interest is even more because achieving RBI compliance has been made mandatory and IAM is one of the key pillars in the RBI cybersecurity guidelines. The challenge, however, has been for the BFSI industry to evaluate security solutions quickly because they have not been working from their offices and typically POCs (Proof of Concept) or Trials are very important before decisions can be taken. In effect, the decision-making process that usually took about 1-2 months earlier has extended to 5-6 months in this year. In summary, the positive side is enhanced demand for IAM which is only going to grow because people working from home is becoming a reality for most organizations, post-covid as well. We expect the decisions that got delayed or postponed being made in the last quarter of this financial year i.e., January to March 2021.
How has leadership changed during these uncertain times? What measures did you initiate to keep Ilantus operational and relevant?
Covid-19 has created a lot of opportunities for our space. The latest version of our product Compact Identity has been very well accepted by the industry. As a result, we needed to add reinforcements in our leadership to take advantage of the growing demand for our product and the domain itself. In that direction, we appointed a CEO, Arun Singh, in the US. Arun joined with 25+ years of experience in running global cybersecurity businesses, with a strong executive leadership background that spans general management, sales & marketing, revenue growth, service delivery, and transformation. He came onboard post his successful endeavour at Ernst & Young LLP where he was the Principal and Americas Advisory Risk Leader for Cybersecurity. At EY, he led numerous consulting and managed services engagements for clients globally and built Cybersecurity-as-a-Service offerings. We also had Gautam Dev join us from EY, who has been a valued advisor in the global cybersecurity space for over two decades and has played a critical role in investigating severe cyber incidents. We made significant changes in the organization structure, adding highly experienced leadership team members, to help us work more efficiently in a remote manner. Since close supervision is not possible with WFH, roles of employees were altered accordingly to ensure effective use of time and resources for maximum impact. We took these steps to ensure that we take full advantage of the current situation and are well prepared for WFH becoming a reality in the future.
Digital-first is the need of the hour. How has Ilantus ensured data safety for the financial institutions?
Ilantus plays a very important role through our domain in the safety of information – Identity and Access Management introduces very stringent controls for information access and brings in a governance system for access and control. From the perspective of administration as well as governance of security controls, our technology has been playing a very important role in the BFSI sector – We already have leading banks as our customers who vouch for our technology. We have continued to enhance our solution to suit Indian market requirements, be it compliance or rural inclusion. Today, Compact Identity, our flagship solution in Identity and Access Management, is best poised in India to address RBI compliance requirements with an identity-centric architecture. Beyond RBI compliance, our solution helps Banks and financial institutions with proper governance and administrative systems for access control & management and is also equipped with the right capabilities to establish robust Security Operations Centres for holistic cybersecurity.
Apart from BFSI, which other sectors are you working on? Which segment sees the major demand lately?
Apart from BFSI, the government sector is a very big sector that calls for immediate attention because the access control to critical information and the need for cybersecurity has become very important – we are seeing increased demand in state governments as well as central ministries. Manufacturing, Retail and Education are some of the other sectors we are working with. Within BFSI, we see demand from cooperative banking sector as well as digital banking and payment companies. However, as cyber threats advance to more sophisticated levels, our technology and the need for cybersecurity is global and there is a very deep surge in demand in economies like the US and European countries.
What lessons from 2020 would you like to carry forward? What have you planned for the upcoming year of 2021?
A key lesson learned is that any organization needs to be financially prepared for uncertainties like the pandemic which was completely unexpected. Another aspect is the ability to innovate and strengthen the product in times like these when customer demand is temporarily low, so that we can be ready to hit the market with full force when things pick up. The pandemic has taught everybody that things can become very uncertain, and that’s when you get really tested out from a management perspective – These are some of our key learnings and they are going to stay with us.
We are stepping into 2021 with a lot of optimism and hope, having added many new capabilities into our flagship offering, Compact Identity. Our product, already known for driving superior ROI and exceptional user adoption rates with unique features and ease of use, is now fully equipped to cater to the requirements of people working from home. It also works very well on mobile applications. We added innovative features like offline use cases that work very well for microfinance companies and cooperative banks to help with rural inclusion through mobile technologies.
Other advanced capabilities in the access management side like password-less authentication and dynamic risk engine were also added. Apart from this, we further strengthened our distribution channels, having recruited several strong technology and distribution partners across the world so that we have a robust partner ecosystem to cater to the growing demand for our product in 2021.