Assertion, a startup founded in 2014, is an enterprise-grade platform for automated compliance of multiple enterprise applications. They offers solutions that make it easy for customers to ensure that enterprise applications are compliant with organisational policies, thus reducing risks. Claiming to be the first in the world that looks at the compliance of everything, this venture-backed startup was founded by Srini Narayanan and Pradeep Vasudev, who swapped their corporate lives to run their own venture.
With a focus on industries such as banking, financial services, insurance, IoT, healthcare, and contact centres, among others, they are building products which are cloud-first, use AI and big data to provide real-time and predictive compliance of any data. Analytics India Magazine caught up with the founders to know more about their RegTech products, growth plan and more.
Srini Narayanan shared that Assertion was born out of a specific company need. “A top bank in the world wanted a solution for a pertinent problem they faced. They had failed an audit with a regulator and wanted to create processes and policies to manage their global communications network,” he said. This is when they created controls and helped them automatically enforce them.
Thus, Assertion was born, with a focus on automating compliance, governance and lowering risk for top corporates.
Since then the 35-member team have been driving solutions for automating regulatory and corporate compliance. Being the world’s only platform that can automate multiple regulations, it uses a combination of secure connections to devices to process any kind of real-world data and automate complex problems that have largely been manual till now.
They have enabled a noted bank in Singapore to save up to $10 million in regulatory fines by identifying shortfalls in the system.
Solution And Use Cases
Pradeep Vasudev shares that custom compliance is a part of every business and that they have the perfect platform in Compliance Studio to address that market. “In fact, most companies come to us because we not only automate many regulatory compliances across the world, but provide an infinite possibility to automate any of their corporate compliance using it,” he said.
Explaining a use case of how their product is used, Vasudev gives an example of their largest customer, a global bank headquartered in the UK, where they needed a solution that could help them be always compliant. And their Enterprise Compliance Solution delivered just that. With over 20 products making their communications infrastructure and 600 assets spread across the world, their cost of manual compliance was excessive. Moreover, it took them a complete year for a team of people to collect evidence from these assets to prove compliance. But, once the team automated this using 300 controls, the time to scan the global network reduced to under a day.
“Now, automatically the system scans their global network daily and sends a notification email when violations are identified. The people do far more valuable jobs now than just repeated work of checking compliance,” he shared.
Their system is over 90 percent cheaper and 10 times faster than humans. With its adoption, there are no longer trust issues of having to share logins to critical assets with employees, hiring and training issues, errors (unintentional or intentional) of reporting, time to prepare reports and managing all those excel files in which they used to maintain daily reports.
The Artificial Intelligence Play
Narayanan shares that handwriting recognition is one area where they use AI. For instance, while doing compliance for banks, handling their account opening process and others, customers fill out forms, provide evidence of their address, identity, income and more. They use AI in understanding the content of these forms and handle the compliances accordingly.
Patterns and historical evidence provide interesting insight into compliance. Sharing a use case, he said, “assume there is a bank manager who is allowed to inspect the safe room and he has the requisite access. So, if he goes there, it is not a fault and security systems will allow that. But say in the last year he has entered the room at an average of once a day, but today he has entered five times. Our system will identify a change in pattern, even minor changes in the behaviour.” Technologies like AI plays a crucial role here.
As Vasudev explains, there are many stages in the automation of a regulation and they take extreme care in each step. “The first step is to author controls. It is a very critical step and is prone to interpretation errors, so, correctness and completeness is of paramount importance. We get the controls reviewed by experts, we cross-check with third-party sources, and sometimes even with the regulators,” he said.
He further shares that all the controls and reports on the system are verified multiple times, then digitally signed, encrypted and loaded. The databases are tamper proof, so once a system is in production use, even if someone has the administrator access, they cannot tamper with the evidence reports.
He added that security, data correctness and completeness is more important for them than speed, cost or performance.
With lots of clients under their belt, Assertion is self-sufficient as of now. However, they are looking forward to raising the next round of capital in the future to expand globally. That’s not all, they are also looking to expand their team size, especially with people who can bring AI into the system.
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