1Kosmos CSO, Mike Engle, and CMO, Michael Cichon, discuss onboarding, ID proofing, and strong customer authentication in this vlog.

Michael Cichon:
Let’s welcome Mike Engle, Chief Strategy Officer to 1Kosmos to The Vlog. How are you?

Mike Engle:
I’m great. I’m great. It’s good to be here again.

Michael Cichon:
Well, awesome. So a digital identity, it’s all the rage. Little did I know, when I joined a few months ago, how crazy the space around us would get. A lot happening on the customer and the workforce side. We’re here to talk about the workforce today. What are you seeing in the customer base?

Mike Engle:
Yeah, so, a lot of people pay attention to how we address our customers and get them into the system. There’s been a ton of investment activity and M&A activity on companies that prove who somebody is remotely, right. Take a picture of a driver’s license and say yes or no. We’re really working with our clients to apply that same technology to the HR onboarding process for new hires, contractors and employees, so the way they used to be done is incredibly broken. It’s 30 year old technology: scan, email, fax your documents to some HR rep, right? And now you have all kinds of trouble with that. You have PII, information floating around in email, possibly being printed out, and of course the user experience for that is terrible, right? Me taking a picture of my driver’s license, copying it over somewhere, so there is a better way.

Michael Cichon:
Yeah, yeah. I’m aware of that. I’ve been there and done that. So this is the I-9 employee employment verification process here in the US.

Mike Engle:
That’s right, yeah. So when you joined 1Kosmos, you had to go through an I-9 onboarding and what was great about that for you was, you did it digitally, right? And that’s what our customers need to do now, so instead of doing it the scan, fax, email way, they’ll get the 1Kosmos block ID app, for example, or it could be the customer’s app, and digitally scan their documents. Those documents are verified in real time and the best part is, the user’s live face is matched to those documents, right? So you’re solving two problems. One is for the company in validating the documents, and the second is for both the company and the employee that they have a better way to digitally onboard themselves and their employees into the system.

Michael Cichon:
Okay, so let me play devil’s advocate. There’s a little bit of friction. It’s a little bit of a pain in the neck, but what’s the big problem? Why can’t I just continue to fax and email these documents and then be done with it?

Mike Engle:
Yeah, you’re right. So PII may be able to mitigate that by putting a zip password on it, right. It’s not the end of the world, but one of the biggest issues we’re seeing is workforce fraud, right? So people only typically think about fraud on the customer side: payment fraud, account takeover, but what’s happening is something called contractor jacking and paycheck jacking, so contractor jacking is when you hire person A and they go through all the rigorous processes of interviewing them and whatever. On day two, that contractor slips somebody else into the seat and subs it out for half the price, right? So now the person you hired is not the one doing the work. You might not find this out for months or even years, it’s possible. Maybe they look similar to somebody else, or you just, you don’t really remember what they look like when you hired them.

Mike Engle:
So we need a solution for that. If you digitally onboard them the right way, you will link their live face to the onboarded documents and then we use that to prove who they are every time they log in. So on day two, the way they would do contractor jacking is username, password, hey buddy, call it up. I need your credentials. And then the 2-FA kicks in, right? Hey, I need the 2-FA, all right. So it’s the old broken way is now replaced with, “Hey, new hire on day two. I want to see your live face.” So that’s a real game changer. Every one of our clients knows of a situation where somebody else was sitting in the seat of somebody they thought, and we have a solution for that.

Michael Cichon:
Okay. So a few days ago we had the White House directive on security, which mentioned multi-factor authentication. Does this then dovetail into that security direction?

Mike Engle:
It does. Yeah. So obviously your face, your biometrics, is a strong factor. The other one is the digital credential that you onboarded when they did the I-9 or whatever process it is. So now you have a digital certificate, which we kind of think of it as a distributed PKI. That’s the user can be in control of along with the biometrics and now you can layer on any form of other employer credential on top of that, your active directory, your LDAP X509. It doesn’t matter. And you’ll know who they are every time. So it is a real game changer.

Michael Cichon:
Well, I’m on board. It sounds like this is one part of digital transformation that’s right for digital transformation.

Mike Engle:
It is. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, so when you marry together that credential along with FIDO password lists, it’s a real game changer. And those two by themselves do not solve the issue, right? If you do them in a silent fashion. They need to strengthen and build upon each other, so that’s what we’re here to do for everybody.

Michael Cichon:
Awesome. Well, thanks for your time this morning, Mike. I appreciate it.

Mike Engle:
My pleasure. We’ll talk soon.