The Story Behind TokenEx
The story of TokenEx starts with a napkin.
At a Starbucks in Tulsa, TokenEx co-founders Alex Pezold and Dr. Jerald Dawkins met to talk about their respective business ventures. The two met in a CyberCorps research group while attending the University of Tulsa, and even though they worked at different tech companies, they stayed in touch over the years, occasionally bouncing ideas off each other.
Over coffee, Alex and Jerry discussed how they could help each other in the growing cybersecurity industry. While working as a qualified security assessor (QSA) with the PCI SSC, Alex discovered the potential of cloud-based tokenization, so he brought up his concept for TokenEx and began to map out the basic idea on a napkin.
Jerry loved it. He agreed to help Alex build it in exchange for Alex helping him grow his Tulsa- based company, True Digital Security.
Thus, Alex and Jerry founded TokenEx in 2010.
In these early years, TokenEx was a small startup making its way into the competitive digital landscape. The company only had a couple of customers, and the idea of tokenization was still new. Alex and Jerry were doing TokenEx part-time, as they also worked other jobs. Soon it became apparent that they needed someone with a financial background. That person was Alex’s childhood friend Jeffrey Rudd.
Alex and Jeffrey met when they were seven years old. Their families owned cabins at Fort Gibson, a beautiful lake spanning 225 miles of shoreline and 19,900 acres in eastern Oklahoma. Over the years, the two boys stayed in touch and shared mutual friends in Tulsa. Fast forward to college, Alex and Jeffrey both attended the University of Tulsa – although not at the same time. Alex earned his master’s degree in computer science and information security through the CyberCorps program, and Jeffrey earned his bachelor’s degree in Finance.
In December 2011, Alex reached out to Jeffrey to get together. As the two old friends were eating breakfast, Alex asked Jeffrey to manage the books for his new tech startup. He needed someone he could trust, and Jeffrey was the perfect person. This was the first time Jeffrey heard about the idea behind TokenEx. By January 2012, Jeffrey was working part-time at TokenEx.
By 2014, the company started hiring more people and gaining new clients. Indeed, they realized that they could genuinely help protect businesses’ most sensitive data. In 2015, Jeffrey joined TokenEx full-time as CFO, which was an exciting opportunity to be a part of the evolving cybersecurity industry and help build a unique culture in the tech space.
As the business grew, Alex, Jerry, and Jeffrey worked together to scale their startup. Like any business, they experienced challenges. However, despite the steep learning curve for startups, they succeeded in managing a business, building a sustainable SaaS platform, hiring the right people, and creating an excellent work culture. Their dedication and determination helped them achieve these goals, which has resulted in an effective, flexible cloud-based tokenization platform that has helped businesses around the world protect what matters most.
What Problem Did TokenEx Solve?
Businesses that store sensitive data are at risk of cyberattacks. If data is compromised, this can lead to several issues, such as lawsuits, huge fines, damaged business reputation, and even permanent closure. Before TokenEx was founded, the primary security solution for businesses was encryption. Encryption transforms data into an unreadable form but can be deciphered via brute force attacks or the exposure of a decryption key. Indeed, this means that encryption is only as good as the algorithm used to secure data, making it a riskier security solution than tokenization.
Any business that stores sensitive information is susceptible to becoming a data breach victim. If hackers gain access to this data, they can potentially reverse engineer the encrypted data. For large businesses, this would likely mean millions of compromised records. Thus, this is where tokenization can solve the issue of companies needing to protect and secure their sensitive data without interfering with business operations.
How Did TokenEx Solve This Problem?
Since businesses have unique needs, it’s important to implement a security solution that meets those specific requirements. Tokenization offers complete flexibility as it can remove sensitive data entirely from an organization’s systems or remove portions of the data. This is necessary for maintaining business utility and protecting sensitive information. Indeed, tokenization is an effective and sustainable solution for businesses.
TokenEx built a cloud-based tokenization platform to protect the world’s most sensitive data from theft. This data includes everything from credit card and bank account numbers to patient information and personally identifiable information (PII). Unlike encryption, tokenization replaces sensitive data with randomly generated placeholders called tokens. These tokens do not have any inherent value, nor can they be deciphered. Even if a data breach impacts a business, cybercriminals will not have access to valuable data.
When businesses use our platform, their sensitive information is safely stored outside of their environment. Indeed, this is much less risky than if a business stored its sensitive data internally, where it could be compromised in the event of a breach. Furthermore, this offloads many compliance requirements to the tokenization provider, which will save businesses time and money to focus on other critical objectives, such as scaling their businesses.
What Is Your Focus Today?
As a data protection platform, data security is still our top priority. Since our focus is on protecting and securing clients’ data, we constantly test, monitor, and improve our cloud tokenization platform. Our flexible, robust tokenization services allow clients to meet their data protection needs, minimize the risk of data theft, and reduce the cost and complexity of many compliance requirements.
What Is the TokenEx Mission?
Our mission is to protect the world’s most sensitive data via our Data Protection Platform. TokenEx achieves this by offering omnichannel acceptance and several key services, including network tokenization, 3DS, Payment Services, Transparent Gateway, and much more. Additionally, our cloud-based platform helps businesses reduce the risk of storing sensitive data internally and offers a single point of integration for third-party providers. As a result, TokenEx clients can safely and compliantly accept, store, and send sensitive data. By achieving our mission, we can help organizations meet their goals, scale their business, and protect what matters most.