DSwiss, Digital Safes, and the Principles of Privacy By Design

DSwiss, Digital Safes, and the Principles of Privacy By Design

Ahead of FinovateEurope in London next week, we talked with Tobias Christen, CEO of Zurich, Switzerland-based DSwiss, about his company and its flagship digital safe technology that supports the long-term secure, safe-keeping of personal files and passwords.

DSwiss was founded in 2008 and most recently demonstrated its technology at FinovateEurope 2018.

Finovate: Banks offer an adapted version of your digital safe directly from their online banking portals. But why would people want to save passwords and files with their bank?

Tobias Christen: A recent PwC-survey concluded that banks are amongst the most trusted organizations when it comes to privacy and cybersecurity, outranking healthcare providers, nonprofits, and online retailers. This only confirms our own experience: Increasingly, people are looking for a trusted partner that can help them keep important data safe. Banks are really well-positioned to act as that partner because of their long history as custodians of wealth.

The study also revealed that only 10% of consumers feel they have complete control over their personal information. In my opinion, that’s because they started out making the mistake of saving everything with companies whose business model was to sell data. There’s nothing wrong with using social media, iCloud or Google Docs but we’re seeing a growing understanding that not all data is made equal. Some documents are worthy of a superior protection – copies of ID papers, financial documents and passwords for example – and people are really looking for a safe alternative to store such data.

This is where a digital version of the bank safe seems like a very logical place to go. People feel safer storing essential data here because the business model of banks is not based on selling customer data but rather on their ability to keep such assets safe.

Finovate: How do you keep up with consumer demands and ensure that the digital safe stays relevant to them?

Christen: We’ve had a two string approach to that. On the one hand, we develop and market our own B2C solution called SecureSafe, which has more than 1 million users. Being behind our own B2C solution gives us direct access to highly valuable user feedback. Due to the popularity of such services as Dropbox, SecureSafe users started asking for more advanced file sharing and sync capabilities. We responded with secure sharing and encrypted sync functionality.

On the other hand, we’ve established a highly collaborative approach to the digital safe. Since our first private and cantonal bank clients joined us in 2009, DSwiss experts have joined forces with banks to develop strategic features that fit their particular needs. In 2011, we started to work on a patented single sign-on technology to allow for smooth integration of digital safes in online bank portals. eDelivery for the safe transfer of bank documents directly to clients’ safes followed soon after. After entering our first collaboration with a major bank in 2015, we’ve been able to speed up the collaborative product innovation.

Our latest innovation combines original meta-data that is passed along with documents (or requests) and data that is extracted with rule-based and machine-learning-based algorithms. This might sound very technical, but at Finovate London 2019 we’ll show you how it makes onboarding for a mortgage a lot faster and easier for bank clients. Ultimately, this feature makes any interaction between bank advisor and end-client user-centric. This fosters customer loyalty and helps a bank stand out to prospect clients.

Finovate: How do you keep up with security demands from your bank clients?

Christen: Banks have always been focused on a particularly high level of security and are understandably cautious when it comes to collaborating with fintechs. However, DSwiss was built on the principles of privacy by design from the get-go. We’ve employed zero knowledge architecture, double encryption and triple data redundancy since the very beginning. In particular, our zero knowledge architecture takes the confidentiality protection, which banks generally implement, to the next level. Throughout the years, we’ve been so fortunate as to work with banks of all sizes, both private and retail. That has enabled us to build up a lot of experience with the specific regulations that concern banks, such as GDPR.

Finovate: According to you, what are the biggest challenges to online security and privacy protection today?

Christen: In the old days, cyber criminals were quite often isolated individuals with limited financial resources. They were principally motivated by curiosity, pride or revenge. Today, the offenders are mostly motivated by economical perspectives and they are often engaged by governments. This means that we increasingly see well-organized and well-founded groups at work.

Watch DSwiss and dozens of other innovative fintech companies demonstrate their latest technologies live at FinovateEurope 2019, 12-14 February at the Tobacco Dock in London, U.K. For more information, including how to buy your ticket and save your spot, visit our registration page today.