We have a great speaker lineup for FinDEVr London which will take place on June 12 & 13. As part of our FinDEVr Feature series, which highlights some of the speakers you will see on stage at the event, we recently interviewed the CTO of one of the presenting companies, eWise. You can save 20% on your FinDEVr ticket when you register with eWise’s promo code eWise20LD17.
Here’s our interview with Allan See, eWise’s CTO:
Where did you start your career and how did you gain the experience needed to run the tech side of
See: I started out as junior developer in a startup consulting company in the Philippines. Our main clients back then were other startups that built their business around open source technologies like Maestro for Maven. That’s where I immersed myself with open source technologies and how to navigate through its communities, including with people all around the world from Australia to Asia, Europe and America.
A few years later, I started working for a Japanese company specialized in internet ad marketing – like what Google Adwords does but for the Japanese market. That was my first experience with a massive scale application handling 4TB of data, 1M partner relationships generating 200M page views, 3M clicks and 100k transactions a day. After this experience, I started to work in the banking software space. I joined a fortune 500 company that provides online banking solutions and was managing their channel division. That’s when I heard of eWise and all the great things the FinTech company was doing, which made me decide to join eWise.
From a technologist’s perspective, what’s unique and game-changing about your technology?
See: When I joined eWise, I had the mission to reengineer entirely eWise Aegis, our patented core technology platform that allows safe and secure financial account aggregation. Aegis is ground breaking in the sense that it flips an old idea on its head. When given the task to attain data from several sources, a typical approach would be to check whether those sources have APIs that can be used for data retrieval. If the APIs do not exist, then comes in the hard decision for technical leaders, whether or not they want to opt for the HTML parsing/screen scraping approach. This is usually a hard decision to make because it’s not a matter of whether they can do it but rather, can they maintain it and what would be the cost of maintaining those. And if they do decide to opt for the approach of screen scraping, there’s the matter of accessing data through a secured means. Meaning, they would also have to get access to their users’ financial accounts credentials and store them securely on their servers, so that when they execute their screen scrapers, they can use those credentials to access the user’s data on behalf of that user. Of course, engineering and security teams would always be familiar in how to secure those data from a technical standpoint to a process one, but it would continuously be an arm’s race preventing a possible breach/leak. The risk of losing those data is just too high.
eWise’s Aegis, though, manages all those risks. The platform allows the user to save and store all of their financial accounts credentials (login and password) in the Personal Data Vault installed on their own device, and no one else than the user can access these credentials. Neither the service provider (the bank using eWise Account Aggregation service) nor eWise are storing the user’s credentials, which considerably reduces the risk of being hacked.
That is, Aegis technology allows us to connect both to direct channels like PSD2 APIs and to indirect channels via HTML parsing. Aegis also manages all the complexity of creating and maintaining these connectors by investing in internal tooling to allow us to maintain those connectors the most effective and automated way. And with Aegis’s patented technology, the risk of having all your eggs (i.e. credentials) in one basket (i.e your server) is gone because Aegis connectors run in the client side – i.e. the end user’s device like his laptop or phone. That means eWise’s clients (financial institutions, fintechs, etc.) would just have to provide their users the Personal Data Vault which they install on their laptops or phones, and the Aggregation will be performed from the user’s device. Instead of sending credentials to the server side where aggregators are running, they will send it to the locally installed Personal Data Vault, which means the end user’s credentials never leave their device.
To summarize, what’s ground breaking about eWise’s technology is that it allows data aggregation both via direct channels (APIs) and indirect channels (HTML parsing for non payment accounts – not included into PSD2 scope), and it allows the end users to be the custodian of their own data, not the aggregation provider.
Tell us about your favorite implementation of your solution/technology.
See: We have launched many cool implementations lately. One of the latest ones will be the launch of a challenger bank mobile app, and Account Aggregation is at the core of their app. “First, with the app, you can view your current bank accounts, transfer money instantly, and we’ll save you thousands of pounds a year by analyzing your data and figuring out how we can improve your finances. A central objective is not trying to make customers shift bank accounts – rather, adding loads of value up front,” said their CEO. They are launching a lifestyle focused banking portal, regardless of banking relationships.
FinDEVr London 2017 is sponsored by TestDevLab.
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