It’s been a crazy last two months and last two years!

It’s been a crazy last two months and last two years!

That’s two months since we launched the world’s first secure iPad/iPhone browser solution and two years since we saw the need for it with the launch of the iPad … and began asking Apple’s permission to build the software and the hardware … and you do need Apple’s permission! That’s a big difference from the worlds of Macs, Windows and Linux that we’ve all known for two generations.

In the last two months, the v1.0 PKard Reader app and hardware solution has shipped in thousands, showing what can be done by focusing on user and organizational benefits rather than simply shipping reader hardware with spec sheets and inviting users to build their own apps [and try to get them approved!] … That approach reminded us of home computing in the 1970s, the Apple ][ more than the Mac or the iPad/iPhone... A competent 6th grader can write an app but secure integration to smart cards, not quite the same.

This month Secure ID news, the industry's leading publication for news and insight on government and enterprise identification and security programs covered us …

… and we received the FIPS 140-2 validation, something most vendors seem to receive just as their products reach end-of-life.

In some ways it’s the end of the beginning. We’ve proved that strong authentication with two factor smart card authentication can add strong security to mobile and cloud environments, with real consumers and real world usability, simplicity and affordability constraints, not hardcoded R&D prototypes in a lab… Something that many industry insiders thought couldn’t be done … or only with cumbersome and expensive hardware and server-based solutions, which would exclude the key BYOD market… and potentially deliver what users call “useless bricks” with a user experience comparable to BlackBerry/BES, which was in fairness state of the art in the 1990s.

The need for increased enterprise securityand the growing need for BYOD support are highlighted repeatedly by industry journals and analysts, as illustrated by a sampling of articles just from the last 2 weeks -

Thursby's security is fully HSPD-12 compliant military/government level to unique, tamper proof computer chip smart cards with PIN encrypted access. There's no requirement to reinvent infrastructure, or lobby for watered down security citing old approaches to iPad and iPhone integration, so it works out of the box for organizations already using CAC, PIV smart cards with PC or Mac desktops and laptops -- simply extending the security to iPad/iPhone. Passwords, challenge questions, usage profiling, association to devices, or “soft" or “derived”certificates all have their place in the consumer sphere but it's important to distinguish strong security from the appearance of it, or worse going for shortcuts in the name of "ease of use" and inadvertently adding ease of tampering, spoofing, cloning and copying... the very reasons security experts in the DoD and US Government mandated strong smart card security rather than the kinds of safeguards used for online banking or social media. The picture in international government, healthcare, finance, energy and at large corporations is the same. Where any organization wants strong security, smart cards are issued... which drives the need for a smart card solution with iPad/iPhone, not just Mac, PC, or Linux.

So, what’s next? Rather than beginning by “boiling the ocean” and trying to be all things to all customers on all platforms (great pitch but a scope hard to deliver on with any depth), we’ve begun with the key markets of Apple in tablets and Apple in smart phones since that’s what consumers want (with the fragmented Android hardware/software a close second in smart phones and we’ve already covered the Mac marketplace for years) and concentrated on the killer apps of secure web and secure email. We’re looking forward to a series of exciting announcements extending what can be done on secure iPads and iPhones, making them not just adjuncts to laptops but for many, viable replacements.

After all, as Steve Jobs said, this is the beginning of the post PC era, much like when PCs themselves followed consumer demand, pushing out VMS/UNIX minicomputers a generation ago.

These are exciting times in tablets, with iPad competing with the Amazon Fire and Google and Microsoft plunging into the soup-to-nuts hardware-software-services fray with Nexus 7 and Surface and in smart phones, the iPhone competing with Samsung’s latest releases.

FYI Hopefully readers will understand that the deliverables we focus on are products rather than blog posts. Our emphasis has always been more listening to users, building and improving great products and delivering value than the having the best PowerPoint icons, or highest video production values.

IF you want to see demos done by real employees rather than slick music and graphics for brochureware companies check out: