Daon is a privately-held biometric and identity assurance software company headquartered in Reston, Virginia, USA. The company was originally founded in 1999 in Dublin by a prominent Irish entrepreneur Dermot Desmond. To this day, Daon keeps its Irish heritage not just in the name, but also by running substantial operations in its Dublin office, yet maintains global presence across North American, Latin American, European, Asia-Pacific, and African markets. With more than 100 employees, Daon is currently protecting over hundreds of millions of identities around the world with its portfolio of mobile authentication and identity assurance solutions. The company’s products are used by some of the world’s largest financial institutions, as well as governments to secure national borders and critical infrastructures.
Since its early days, Daon has been focusing on developing and integrating various biometric authentication solutions such as fingerprint, face, eye and voice recognition as a more secure and convenient alternative to passwords. Unfortunately, despite the large number of such solutions available on the market, few have actually managed to achieve a notable degree of adoption, especially among consumers. In fact, the number of passwords an average user has to deal with is only growing thanks to the continuing adoption of cloud services and new device types. Hardware costs, complicated deployment and cumbersome user experience are among the reasons that inhibit further adoption of biometric solutions, but one of the biggest obstacles is arguably the lack of interoperability and thus the danger of vendor lock-in.
Many strong authentication vendors already came to the realization of the interoperability problem and combined their efforts to establish industry standards for biometric authentication. The best example of such standards is the FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance, a non-profit organization established in 2013 and currently comprising over 260 members. Since 2014, the organization is developing and heavily promoting their specifications: Universal Authentication Framework (UAF), which is focused on passwordless user experience on mobile devices and Universal Second Factor (U2F), which relies on various hardware tokens to augment existing password infrastructures. These two standards form the foundation for a large ecosystem of various hardware, mobile and biometric authentication devices that provide certified interoperability and convenient and consistent user experience. Daon is one of the board members of the FIDO Alliance and the IdentityX platform was among the first mobile authentication products to earn the FIDO Certified status.
However, even the best standard cannot address a large number of legacy authentication solutions still widely used in different industry verticals or geographical regions. Replacing them with new FIDO-certified products is often unfeasible because of limited budgets and development resources, as well as compliance regulations. Daon addresses this challenge by offering the platform approach and thus allowing customers to combine a range of authentication methods in a flexible manner to design their security systems around their individual business requirements, risk models and compliance regulations.
Thus, a single hardware-agnostic authentication solution can accommodate both budget-savvy legacy users and risk-conscious security geeks, providing a frictionless experience and encouraging mass adoption of strong mobile authentication.