Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  16 Apr 2009

INFOTECH: FireID Takes On First Channel Partner


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FireID, the Stellenbosch-headquartered developer of South Africa's first cell phone-based one-time password authentication solution, has chosen leading enterprise software solution provider Sybase SA as its first local channel partner.

Sybase's client pool is characterised by large banks and corporates which are constantly on the lookout for stronger security solutions.

“We have been providing clients with security solutions for many years, so FireID was a logical addition to our solution portfolio,” says Julie Tomlinson, Sybase SA’s director for mobile business.

FireID's authentication solution, which can be used on any phone and integrated with any operating system, works across multiple applications. It generates a one-time password on a cell phone that eliminates the need for SMS or e-mail passwords or fob keys.

“For us it's a logical solution,” says Tomlinson. “When a user needs to be authenticated with a password, why carry another device to do that when everyone already has a cell phone?”

The channel partnership is part of FireID's strategy for driving its solution into companies' existing architectures.

“Because we're a technology development company, we want to focus on what we do best,” says FireID CEO Jenny Dugmore. “Sybase develops a relationship with a client, understands what the client needs and delivers the right solutions.”
FireID will be shifting most client relations across to the company's channel partners, starting with Sybase. This will fall under channel manager Gerdus Byleveld, who joins the team in May.

Sybase SA, which started off selling database management systems in 1991, branched out into the mobile solutions space five years ago. It is predicting a strong revenue stream from FireID's solution, based on the product's quality and business model. Tomlinson believes FireID's affordable annual subscription fee, covering both service and maintenance, will appeal to companies with large user volumes:

“In the mobile space there's an acceptance of the pay-as-you-use model. It is moving away from the traditional software acquisition model where clients buy licences for millions of rand. Our mobile users are looking for a monthly or annual fee that they can manage and control and it is booked as an operating rather than capital expense.”

Tomlinson foresees rapid uptake for organisations with VPNs, which are operating in a controlled environment. In the meantime, Sybase has installed FireID on its own network, to give the sales team first-hand working knowledge of its capabilities.

With its sights set on market segments other than banks and corporates, FireID is set to strike up more channel partnerships.

“We also want to look at a channel that serves customers in the small to mid-size market-and we're looking for a partner in the government space,” says Dugmore.

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