What role do you do in the world of identity?

I manage content marketing at Ubisecure. I’ve been here for around 9 months, so I’m pretty new to the Identity industry. I studied Classics at university which wasn’t very marketing related, but I really liked the research and writing process which translates to what I do now. When I graduated in 2014 and wasn’t quite sure what to do next, I interned at a corporate events company and got a taste for what marketing involves with some hands-on experience. They let me transfer into marketing and since then I’ve worked with a range of companies in different industries, in a telecoms company and then as a freelancer, until joining the world of digital identity.

Where’s Ubisecure based then?Francesca Hobson headshot

Our headquarters are in Finland, so the technology is developed there, but we have offices in Sweden, the UK and Germany and customers across Europe. We’re open-minded about remote working, being a forward-thinking tech company, so I work from my home office most of the time which I love (aside from the lack of air con in summer). I’m based in Heidelberg in Germany and I travel every so often to meet colleagues and partners. It’s very entertaining working with Finns because they’re quite blunt compared to Brits, and they love making a point of our cultural differences. It’s a very impressive place to visit – though perhaps too cold for me in winter!

What is Ubisecure about?

Our vision is to simplify the automation of interactions, whether it’s between individuals, businesses or things, and our solutions are built and developed in house. Our advanced identity platform caters for a number of different Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) and Organisation Identity use cases.  We also provide Legal Entity Identifiers (LEI) – which, if you haven’t heard of yet, you’ll see everywhere soon. It’s a 25-character identifier, endorsed by the G20, which establishes one ID behind every business.

Who’s using your solutions?

We’ve got a number of partners and end customers globally, but a great example of where you can see our CIAM software in action is with the Finnish government. Citizens/employees can access various government services with their individual/organisation IDs, and delegate tiered access to their accounts to individuals/organisations. Aside from the benefits of greater user experience, security and increased productivity, the government is saving €8 million a month with this ‘self-service’ offering. Finland has a relatively small population of approx. 5 million people – so imagine what could be saved if it was scaled to a bigger economy, like the UK.

So what’s next for Ubisecure? 

We’re currently launching Right to Represent – a service which reduces fraudulent organisational representation during provision of new services, high risk transactions and onboarding of new customers. Where these kinds of operations would otherwise call for manual verification of whether an individual has the right to represent/conduct business on behalf of an organisation – or worse, not verify that at all – we’re automating the process to save time, money, and increase security. We’re in a unique position to offer such a service, as it combines the delegation capabilities with LEI issuance capabilities that I mentioned before.

Why do you think Women in Identity is important?

No matter what your company does, you can’t have 1 person replicated to fill a boardroom. Every industry, including Identity, needs diverse workforces to bring a variety of approaches and expertise to the table. There’s clearly a shortage of women in cybersecurity, not necessarily from companies hiring with bias but there are problems in the confidence levels of women looking at applications (or at least perception of confidence), and issues with what girls are encouraged to participate in from a young age. I feel like that’s starting to change now from greater publicity of reports and an awareness amongst younger generations, but there’s a significant way to go. It’s not enough to passively think ‘I’m not sexist so I don’t need to do anything to solve gender imbalance’ – we need active participation from as many people as possible to be able to eliminate this issue. Anything Women in Identity do to promote diversity is really important.

How do you describe identity to your friends/family? 

I normally just say I work in marketing to be honest – it’s easier! Identity as a word doesn’t tell you much about the industry, so sometimes saying a more general term like ‘cybersecurity’ gives people as much as they want to know. If I ever talk about it with non-techies like my mum, I simplify it by comparing it to signing up to an app and logging in.

The fact that no one understands what identity is must make your job a lot harder? 

Most of the content I create is for people who do have some level of understanding of the industry, but sometimes it is a challenge to summarise everything we do in a short message. I also think that being new to an industry is sometimes an advantage for a content writer, as you write in simple terms and explain things as if they were to someone at your level. The key is making sure that everyone can understand it in scenarios relevant to them, whether that’s through case studies or statistics or, for visual learners like me, seeing a short video is super helpful.

Now for the most important question, if you were an animal, what would you be? 

Ah, I always thought if I was asked this question in an interview, I would say a horse because I’m good at working in teams or alone… and obviously love running through fields of wheat.

Can you recommend your favourite book too please?

I feel like I should say something non-fiction, but I’m a big fiction reader. I’ll go for Circe by Madeline Miller, because I’m a big nerd about ancient Greece and it has a good underlying message of female empowerment.

Find her on LinkedIn

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