Three Key Ingredients for Comprehensive Digital Identity
Every day, consumers perform tasks using digital devices. Scheduling dinner with friends. Ordering birthday gifts. Checking bank balances. And, for each activity, they must confirm their identity. Yet unlike pulling a driver’s license out of a wallet, today’s consumers have a digital identity – a compendium of user names and passwords or perhaps a fingerprint to validate that, yes, this person is authorized to perform this task on this device or website.
Because digital identity is now an integral part of daily life, it is no wonder that it brings with it a host of considerations regarding security and privacy. Last year, more than 2.9 billion records[i] were compromised, bringing the importance of establishing a safe digital identity to the forefront of concerns among businesses. On the other hand, while security is valued, convenience is also critical; consumers soon tire of juggling dozens of username/password combinations and the challenge of unique PIN recall.
The Remedy for Multiple Identities: Take a Comprehensive Approach
To address these concerns, organizations are pursuing digital identity capabilities that are not restricted to a certain device or channel. Instead, one solution can resolve an identity across myriad of digital touch points. This comprehensive digital identity approach can offer a seamless, worry-free consumer experience and leads to more loyal and satisfied customers.
A comprehensive digital identity includes a combination of characteristics that are unique to an individual. Alone, each characteristic may be vulnerable, but when used together to represent a single identity, they are difficult to replicate. This approach helps increase security while minimizing the likelihood of identity theft. Three key ingredients for a comprehensive digital identity may include:
- Physical attributes. Biometrics allows a person to be identified and verified based on a set of recognizable and verifiable data that’s completely unique to them. Biometric authentication compares data for a person’s characteristics to determine resemblance. For example, an individual may be asked to choose from multiple previous addresses or employers to confirm their identity; the wrong choice signifies an imposter. Biometric identification captures physical biometric data from the individual. Fingerprints, retina and iris, facial features, even voice recognition, are ways to confirm unique identity. Once only in the realm of high security facilities and spy thrillers, mobile devices have brought this technology into everyday use.
- Government documentation. Social security numbers, driver’s licenses, passports—these forms of identification demand strict verification upon origination and stay with an individual throughout their lifespan. They are often considered the foundation of digital identity. Unfortunately, this data is among the most likely to be compromised; multi-step identification helps provide protection while ensuring privacy and security of sensitive information.
- Behavioral. Humans are creatures of habit, and spending trends and travel behaviors tend to fall within normal patterns. Sophisticated algorithms, analytics, and geolocation help identify activity outside that norm provide a signal that identity security may be compromised. Many credit card companies have fraud alert systems in place that notify cardholders when unusual activity occurs, such as extraordinarily large purchases or cash withdrawals.
A comprehensive digital identity provides peace-of-mind to consumers by adding account protection beyond the typical login and password combination and can make the process of accessing personal accounts and performing transactions secure and simple.
For today’s financial services institutions, providing consumers with a comprehensive digital identity helps ensure security that’s also user friendly. Services such as the OnlyID solution use advanced analytics and real-time authentication to provide a secure method of sharing data among users, their digital devices, and businesses. Backed by Equifax and FIS, OnlyID offers a password-free digital identify system that allows consumers to access their accounts, conduct business, and make online payments with ease.
[i] Asha McLean, “IBM says breached records dropped by 25 percent to 2.9 billion last year.” ZDnet. April 5, 2018. https://www.zdnet.com/article/ibm-says-breached-records-dropped-by-nearly-25-percent-to-2-9-billion-last-year/