“The market for security as cloud services has a great potential”

GET TO KNOW Tamas Horvath, product manager of PKI as a Service at identity and security company Nexus Group. “The security method PKI has had a big upswing. At the same time, more and more companies are overcoming data protection and security skepticism and are making use of the advantages of cloud computing. This combination makes PKI as a service appear very attractive, for securing both IoT and traditional IT,” he says.

 How would your colleagues describe you?

“I don’t want to talk myself up, but I think they appreciate my extensive knowledge in public key infrastructure (PKI) and in other Nexus products. I have also heard that I’m good with customers – I like to listen to them and provide them with solutions.

“And people from pre-sales say that they like to read my in-depth technical comments. My colleagues have also said that I’m a perfectionist – I hope they mean it in a positive sense,” says Tamas Horvath.

Why are you working at Nexus?

“I have a background in electrical engineering, with two PhDs: one in computer engineering and one in cryptography. After my studies, I worked as a programmer and a PKI consultant, and I wanted to do deep engineering and create new technology – that’s why I joined Nexus 12 years ago. At that time, Nexus was the only European PKI product vendor, and that sounded very exciting.

“I have had different roles at Nexus within product management, professional services and sales, and I recently became product owner of PKI as a Service,” says Tamas Horvath.

What are you working on now?

“I’m the technical project manager for two big customer projects, and this takes up a lot of my time right now. I can’t mention any customer names, but one of them is an internet of things (IoT) company, and we are providing security in the form of PKI as a service.

“The other is a more traditional project for a large corporation, where we help them with PKI employee cards. It’s a pretty complex project, since they have so many different kinds of users, certificate types and systems to interface with. In this case, we provide software for an on-premises PKI system.

“Currently, we have about 40 customers for PKI as a managed service; the vast majority are still using on-site solutions,” says Tamas Horvath.

What does the future of PKI look like?

“PKI has been around for several years, but recently it has had a big upswing. The reason is that it is an excellent solution for high-scale systems with lots of entities outside of the organizations’ IT systems that you have to distribute credentials to and communicate securely with. We see very large-scale applications of PKI especially in the IoT area, and here you can learn new innovative ways of applying public key technology.

“I think that PKI will be consumed more and more in the form of cloud services. Earlier, organizations were very cautious when it came to cloud computing. They wondered if it was secure and compliant with data protection laws. But the economic benefits outweigh the concerns, and organizations have also realized that they can get better security in the cloud than with on-site installations; with cloud providers, you benefit from economy of scale, and you get real professionals managing the security.

“The IoT is structured in a different way than traditional IT systems, both technologically and in regard to business, and cloud services are often the best fit for this architecture. This holds true for more than just PKI and security: IoT companies will focus on their core businesses, and rent the rest of the infrastructure from other ecosystem players,” says Tamas Horvath.

Describe an ordinary day in the life of Tamas!

“I get up 06:30–7 a.m., before the kids wake up, so that I can go to the bakery and get fresh bread. Then the whole family eats breakfast together, and then I rush off to the office.

“I always have lots of meetings, which makes it hard to concentrate on what I call real work. But I always try to squeeze in a few hours where I can concentrate on working on technical papers or sales documents. In the middle of the day I take a break to eat lunch with my colleagues.

“I love working and the evening hours are most suitable for that. But since I have a family, I try to stop working by 6 p.m. at the latest. I take the bus home, we eat dinner, I play with the kids, and then it’s time for the bedtime routine: baths and telling fairytales. I usually make up a fairytale on the spot, and it always takes too long – we have such a nice time that it’s hard to stop.

“My oldest is usually asleep by 9 p.m., and by then, my wife and I are also exhausted. We try to do something productive – right now it’s mostly preparing for our coming move – and sometimes we watch a movie,” says Tamas Horvath.