By D. Ray Tuttle
Courtesy of The Journal Record
TULSA – Two veterans of the data security industry have capitalized on the technology that replaces standard data encryption.
Alex Pezold and Jerald Dawkins, founders of the Tulsa-based technology company TokenEx, have changed the way credit card payments are secured, especially when it comes to shopping online.
Pezold is company CEO. Dawkins is chief technology officer. Pezold expects employment to growth slightly, adding two to four employees by the end of the year. TokenEx also has an office in Oklahoma City.
TokenEx provides solutions that combine tokenization, encryption and key management to ensure that sensitive data is secured. The process creates “tokens” that have no mathematical relationship to the actual credit card numbers they replace, Pezold said.
“Unlike encryption where the original credit card value can be obtained through decryption, tokenization adds a layer of security in that the original credit card value cannot be obtained from reverse engineering the generated token,” Pezold said.
The crucial factor in the process is the layer of security that cannot be obtained from reverse engineering, Pezold said.
“Tokenization is a sound technology for data security,” Pezold said. “Encryption serves a purpose; however, it does not offer the same degree of security.”
The benefit of tokenization is that no one can get back to the original value from the token, unlike competing technologies like encryption, said Pezold.
In April, The Journal Record named TokenEx a finalist for the Innovator of the Year Award. This was the second year TokenEx has been a finalist.
TokenEx, through its relationship with i2E Inc., was backed by investments totaling $250,000. Pezold and Dawkins founded the company in 2010. I2E is a private, not-for-profit corporation designed to develop technology-based companies in Oklahoma.
“From a technology standpoint, we have the strategy to be as flexible with data acceptance as we need to be,” Pezold said.
People began noticing that flexibility, Pezold said.
The turning point for Pezold, Dawkins and TokenEx was landing a $4 million contract to provide the data security technology for World Vision, a humanitarian organization. World Vision, which is funded through donations by individuals and churches, has more than 1 million credit card transactions per month. Last year, World Vision processed nearly 13.5 million credit card transactions, according to the company.
Seattle-based World Vision has 45,000 employees in 100 countries across Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Americas. It is a faith-based organization that provides hunger and emergency relief, among other things.
The TokenEx system means that World Vision, and any other client, does not have to keep actual credit card information. This removes the risk of handling data like credit cards, Pezold said.
TokenEx helps World Vision get more money into the hands of their charities because the TokenEx process is cheaper and easier to implement and maintain, Pezold said.
“We were awarded the contract in April,” said Pezold. “We have gone live with our solution in their environment. It was a quick, easy and seamless integration.”