Wibu-Systems can proudly reflect on more than three decades of innovation and progress in protection, licensing, and security of the most valuable digital assets that are reshaping our entire way of life. From their base in Karlsruhe, Germany, the company has not only grown the business globally, but also greatly expanded their technology: Wibu-Systems’ original dongle-based software protection system has evolved into a comprehensive family of secure license lifecycle management products that are being used in virtually every domain, from developers who enjoy the versatility of the CodeMeter® solutions, to business leaders who recognize its potential as an enabler of novel, license-based business models.
Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?
WIBU-SYSTEMS: Wibu-Systems is dedicated to excellence in software and document protection, license and entitlement management, and security of connected endpoints, all built around our CodeMeter technology − a suite of modular, scalable, and interoperable software, hardware, and cloud elements. Our goal is to help ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) and IDMs (Intelligent Device Manufacturers) safeguard the digital IP embedded in their products against counterfeiting, theft, and reverse engineering; enable new business models, especially with the integration of our technology in third party platforms like SAP that streamline business processes even further; and preserve the integrity of their code against cyber attacks and tampering.
E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products?
WIBU-SYSTEMS: We are pressing ahead in several new areas. First and foremost, we have introduced CmCloud, which brings our licensing technology fully into the cloud, with novel cloud containers for software licenses and secure cloud services for complete mobility.
We are particularly excited about our new generation of software protection methods for the Python programming language. Use of Python is advancing in many of the key application areas of today’s digital world, like AI and machine learning. With our encryption and licensing method for native Python code, no recompiling is needed, making it easier for programmers to employ the most effective code protection.
Furthermore, we continue to refine our latest additions to the CodeMeter’s universe, like Certificate Vault, which builds a bridge between secure license management and the world of digital certificates, and CodeMeter Embedded, our bespoke solution for embedded devices.
E.E: What are the ranges of products?
WIBU-SYSTEMS: Our main development focus is on CodeMeter, our flagship protection, licensing, and security technology. CodeMeter is not just a single component, but an entire ecosystem of products built around the core CodeMeter Protection Suite and the CodeMeter License Central management solutions. We have a range of encryption and protection tools in place that work with a selection of license containers; these include soft license containers for ease of use, our very new CmCloudContainers for added mobility and versatility, and a full range of specialized hardware containers, our CmDongles, that come in many different form factors, including USB sticks for regular computers, secure memory cards, and ASICs for integration in high-tech devices or even full-scale industrial facilities. Around these core products, we have developed an array of services, e.g. hosting the licensing infrastructure in our dedicated data center or consulting for technology and business design concerns. In addition, we maintain our ongoing commitment to keep users of our legacy products secure as well.
E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?
WIBU-SYSTEMS: With our long history, we are serving a diverse set of markets and areas of application. There are very mature segments like regular B2B software licensing, where we continue to push forward with innovative options, like features-on-demand schemes, subscriptions, and pay-per-use models as well as effective business process integration. Then there are emerging areas, like cloud licensing to address the need for greater mobility and freedom.
And there is the embedded world, which is very dear to our hearts. Smart devices are everywhere, especially in modern manufacturing, and our clients are beginning to realize the potential they could have at their disposal if they moved beyond the old, monolithic perpetual licenses and started to charge for software features. With CodeMeter, vendors can leverage the new possibilities presented by the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0, such as manufacturing-as-a-service and additive manufacturing, without having to worry about the security of their machines, the integrity of their intellectual property, or the design of business concepts from scratch.
E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?
WIBU-SYSTEMS: We see several new trends on the horizon. Cloud licensing will continue to grow in importance, because people are starting to get over what one could call the anxiety threshold of worrying about manipulation, IP theft etc., in the cloud when they have top encryption and protection capabilities like ours in place. This also relates to smart devices, with intelligent hardware working together in connected, usually cloud-edge networks. This goes from the much-vaunted smart factory to novel medical devices: it is software and data, not nuts and bolts that matter now. In our digitized society, we need protection, licensing, and security more than ever. When we trust AI and digital devices to operate in so many areas of our lives and our economies, we need to have their trustworthiness, integrity, and security guaranteed. In the background, the big issue for a forward-thinking IT security company like ours is new advances in cryptography, which underpins so many of these questions. The term to remember is: Post-quantum cryptography. Quantum computers are believed to be able to solve certain computational problems, such as integer factorization (which underlies RSA encryption), substantially faster than classical computers, thus putting at risk current encryption mechanisms in the near future. Together with other world leading vendors and top academia experts, we are currently researching ways to develop and implement post-quantum secure methods that guarantee long-term security-by-design.
E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?
E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021?
WIBU-SYSTEMS: The world is slowly coming out of a very unique experience and moving toward a state of cautious optimism. These many new technologies, from the cloud to AI and smart factories or self-driving cars, will certainly play a big part in reinvigorating society. Now is the time to seize this moment, focus on new, ethical business practices, and make technology work for a better world. What we need is innovative technology produced by financially independent companies, a strong sense of cooperation with other vendors and academia, and tough decision makers who are working relentlessly to make our new digital lives more resilient. The crisis of the recent past is teaching us why IT security, data privacy, and personal integrity matter. It’s up to us to embrace the future with more accountability than ever before.
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