Pinn: Pioneering The New Age Of Cybersecurity

Will Summerlin, Founder & CEO Throughout the enterprise environment, there is a growing need for companies to ensure their customer data, transaction details, and that operational blueprints are kept safe from cybercriminals with malicious intent. Without the proper cybersecurity in place, any company across any industry is at risk of coming under attack and having critical business assets stolen or ransomed, a reality experienced by several large organizations over the last two years. In 2016, the cost of a data breach averaged nearly $4 million per company, and 81 percent of incidents occurred because a password was used by someone other than its owner. Despite having a deep awareness of the cybersecurity issues plaguing businesses worldwide, many companies, large and small, struggle to keep up with the ever-changing technology meant to keep customer data safe.

Pinn, a cybersecurity software company, has set out to diminish these all too common cybersecurity challenges faced by the world’s enterprises. Established initially as a mobile payments company, Pinn’s current CEO and Founder, Will Summerlin, recognized a gap in the marketplace surrounding the level of security enveloping mobile transactions. A lack of confidence in the identity of the person conducting the transaction and the sluggish pace at which transactions were processed prompted Summerlin to redirect Pinn’s focus toward cybersecurity solutions. Today, Pinn works to solve the complex problem of cybersecurity within business environments through a human attribution platform that quickly and securely identifies individuals interacting with various devices.

Meeting the Changing Needs of Business

Pinn takes a unique approach as it relates to viewing the security ecosystem of the business market, seeing it as a fragmented puzzle to solve. Summerlin states, “It’s like someone took a hammer to a mirror and all of fragmented pieces represent the state of cybersecurity today – these fragments need to be brought together. One of the consistent aspects of these disjointed fragments, the glue if you will, is identity.” The company focuses its efforts on proving the identity of business users and customers, managing and controlling the process of authentication through a platform that is on the cutting edge of technology.

While there have been several advances in the cybersecurity environment around authentication of individuals, many companies are still utilizing legacy technology that is anchored by usernames and passwords. With the prevalence of cyber attacks among the world’s largest businesses, it has become clear that a greater level of assurance is needed in verifying the identity of individuals, both internally and externally. Summerlin states, “Some businesses have implemented stricter password guidelines, requiring complex combinations of cryptographic information. Unfortunately, that often leads to more challenges in safeguarding identifying information, like a user writing down a password that can be easily stolen.” In some cases, two-factor authentication can be used to increase security measures in validating that a user is truly who they claim to be, but Summerlin believes this tactic still relies heavily on static credentials.

Pinn works to solve the complex problem of cybersecurity within business environments through a human attribution platform that quickly and securely identifies individuals interacting with various devices

“Each of these strategies is a knowledge-based approach, and anyone with that specific knowledge can use it to do malicious things.” Pinn recognizes the need for human-based identity authentication, and the company has created a robust platform to meet that business need.

In modern technology, there are more secure methods to ensure someone is the person they claim to be, including tapping into the power of data, sensors, and behavioral attributes. Summerlin explains, “By using deep learning and fusing that with physical attributes, our platform can determine whether someone entering a password is the authorized user. From how fast a user is typing to how hard they press down on a mobile device or keyboard, data is seamlessly captured to authenticate a user before they are given access to sensitive information.” Pinn’s platform shifts cybersecurity in business away from knowledge- and object-based credentialing to human-based, giving companies the ability to address issues related to identity and vulnerable passwords without increasing complexity or adding friction.

Each company Pinn works with has a different ecosystem that presents its own challenges and obstacles in keeping up to date with the latest and greatest cybersecurity. When engaging in active discussions with company executives and board members, Summerlin and his team have recognized that a common pain point in solving the puzzle of enterprise cybersecurity is staying on the cutting edge of technology without disrupting business operations. “Pinn offers an authorization server that is built into the platform and integrated with the workflows companies are already used to. We work with several integration partners and consultancy companies to ensure updating the type of cybersecurity solution a business requires is rapidly identified and deployed.” Through its partners, Pinn is able to deliver its solution within a matter of hours, getting a business up and running with updated security measures that work in line with its legacy systems. Each collaborator is brought in to integrate, test, and then support the company moving forward, and that allows Pinn to focus on developing its platform even further.

Delivering Success Worldwide

Nearly all industries face challenges in maintaining control and security over sensitive customer data, including financial service companies, government agencies, and industrial organizations. Pinn has witnessed the success of its platform in practice with several large, global businesses, all with a need to prove users’ true identity. Recently, the company had the opportunity to work with a major player in financial services that had several corporate clients whose high-level executives experienced e-mail hacks consistently.
The problem of fraudulent wire transfer requests via e-mail was so prevalent that the financial institution had taken the stance of absorbing the risk for those clients. In consulting with Pinn, the company was able to utilize identity technology to establish assurance in identifying corporate clients through the company app. In providing this higher level of security, the financial institution not only had confidence that the person initiating the transaction was the actual authorized user but also was able to reduce the fraudulent requests significantly.

Pinn has seen similar success from other companies with which it has engaged. A large API management tool used by several Fortune 500 companies had a weakness in how access to its data was granted. Through a simple password, an administrator could log in to the system and reconfigure APIs as needed. However, in the wrong hands, changes to this information could be detrimental not only to the API company but the customers it served. In partnering with the API management firm, Pinn’s technology was able to be integrated into the company’s system, providing a more secure yet seamless authentication process. With validated identity for each administrator logging into the system, the company reduced its security vulnerability in an impactful way.

Innovation on the Horizon

The world of cybersecurity and the tools used to mitigate risk in business are constantly changing, but Pinn is at the forefront of these shifts consistently. Summerlin states, “We are actively building partnerships with other companies to create interesting and meaningful solutions to complex business challenges.” Recently, Pinn collaborated with a mobile infrastructure organization in an effort to develop a solution to solve public internet pain points. With the systemic risk inherent to the space, the partnership is meant to bring together technology and business networking assets to reduce security issues surrounding identity verification. Additionally, innovation is taking place in partnership with the world’s best-performing facial recognition firm Ever, which will improve Pinn’s continuous attribution capabilities across devices and networks. Ever’s facial recognition models are trained on billions of photos the company retains for its consumer-oriented service. It is an effort toward increasing the capabilities of identifying users with the most up to date technology. Summerlin states, “There are other innovations on the company’s roadmap as well, including voice and fingerprint recognition, all which we are working to integrate into the platform.” Each company faces different challenges with cybersecurity, and Pinn is working diligently to ensure its reach is expanded to help businesses solve these problems by taking in various forms of user data.

"By using deep learning and fusing that with physical attributes, our platform can determine whether someone entering a password is the authorized user"

Pinn and its team have an in-depth understanding of the obstacles businesses face in today’s hyper-connected environment, and that knowledge lays the groundwork for delivering solutions rapidly and effectively. Summerlin concludes, “Not only do we have the privilege of having open discussions with large enterprises, but we also are incredibly active in the research community. Pinn company advisors and employees are actively engaged in that space which allows us to leverage the community to find the newest and most promising technology out there.” Pinn plans to continue down the path of innovation by dedicating its resources to augmenting the human-and behavioral-based attributes used to identify authorized users in all facets of the enterprise realm.


Redwood City, CA

Will Summerlin, Founder & CEO

Company's patented software combines a variety of physical and behavioral attribution modules that forensically attribute the identity of a human interacting with a device