BIO-key enhances capabilities, user interface of PortalGuard platform

BIO-key’s acquisition of the PortalGuard platform last year turned them from a maker of biometric point solutions into an IAM platform, and now they have announced significant improvements to that platform.

Fred Corsentino, BIO-key’s Chief Revenue Officer

BIO-key has announced enhancements designed to improve both the flexibility and the user experience of the PortalGuard ID as-a-Service platform. The improvements include enhanced adaptive authentication, fuller Single Sign-On [SSO] support for secure remote work access, Microsoft Azure Active Directory integration, support for the FIDO2 specification and its passwordless mode, and an improved dashboard for a better user experience.

BIO-key has been in business since 1993, and has been making biometric solutions all that time. But the company was really fundamentally transformed last year, and moved from being a provider of biometric point products to a platform provider. This also led to an intensification of their channel focus, and becoming a channel-first company.

“BIO-key has been in the biometrics business since its inception, and our software algorithms that read the fingerprints are as good as they get in the business, but the ‘new’ BIO-key is a combination of companies acquired in July 2020, including the PortalGuard platform, which came with the acquisition of PistolStar,” said Fred Corsentino, BIO-key’s Chief Revenue Officer. “BIO-key is now integrated into the platform. So now we are an IAM [Identity and Access Management] company with a platform that has integrated biometrics. It’s an integrated platform, not an a la carte menu.”

BIO-key focuses on three principal verticals when investing their Go-to-Market resources: financial services, particularly community banks and credit unions; the SLED [State, Local and Education] market, and education which is primarily higher education.

“PortalGuard has a rich history with colleges and we are extending that vertical as well,” Corsentino said.

BIO-key began giving much greater emphasis to its channel before the shift to being a platform provider, but that shift pushed the company further in that direction, to the point where Corsentino said they have become a channel-first company.

“This is a major market expansion for us,” he said. “We developed a new channel program in late 2019, and grew it last year before the acquisition. With the integrated combined company, we rolled out a new version of the program that catered to the new types of partners we are looking for. That was in October. We have become a channel-centric company.”

All of their partners are involved in some form of cybersecurity.

“Some are specific specialists in identity and IAM, but all are security focused,” Corsentino noted.

The changes begin with major improvements to the interface over the original platform.

“We have made a very comprehensive set of improvements to the mobile platform,” Corsentino said. “We made changes to the interface which will be very appealing to most customers. It all looks cleaner, more polished, and easier to use. We added a user-friendly dashboard for administrators. It’s all so much more visually appealing, and easier to set up.”

This should be a big deal for channel partners as well, Corsentino said.

“They can have confidence that the solution is truly a cloud-based, much easier to use platform with a great user experience, as well as a tremendous feature set. It’s also very affordably priced.”

Corsentino said that the new feature enhancements are significant.

“We now provide additional support for Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory,” he indicated. This provides real-time authentication in PortalGuard, and AD’s Hybrid Domain joining functionality will also be supported for organizations that have federated Office365/Azure AD with their PortalGuard instance. It all adds up to a better cloud experience for customers looking to move away from hosting their own data centres.

PortalGuard has already supported FIDO2 tokens, but it has added support for the FIDO2 specification that supports a passwordless mode, to provide another option for customers looking to dispense with password-based logins.

“We have also made Adaptive Authentication more comprehensive,” Corsentino said. This results in more fine-tuned risk-balancing controls, and better analysis of contextual or adaptive characteristics to strike the perfect balance between security and convenience.

The SSO enhancements involve updates to the SSO Jump page, that let users easily search through their apps by title or help text for quick discovery. The updated SSO Jump Page is available for PortalGuard customers at no additional cost with a simple set-up for both administrators and users.

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