Digital Identity and the Enabling of Access Control

There is no escaping the fact that we are all living in an increasingly digitally connected world. With many of us now working, studying, socializing and shopping in the digital space, we are also finding that concerns are growing about the security of the personal data we share in order to verify our identity. After all, with so many different organisations asking for our details in order to authenticate our digital identity, we are now in a situation where this information could be at risk from cyber criminals looking to profit from it.

The Challenge For Businesses

Our digital identities are effectively stored in many fragmented pieces in diverse locations, as the organizations that ask for our personal details manage them through the cloud. Whilst this can, of course, help businesses to develop superior, personalized online experiences for their customers, it also opens the consumer up to the growing threat of cyber criminals. Stealing this sensitive personal data is highly profitable for today’s hackers, and last year saw more than 293 million victims of data breaches in the USA alone.[1] For consumers, there is no control over who could have access to their data once it is surrendered, leaving them concerned about potential misuse and identity fraud, and losing trust in organizations as a result.

New legislation in the EU [2] has recently come into force, called SCA (Strong Customer Authentication), designed to make it harder for digital identities to be forged, with a multi-factor authentication approach being designated as the best way to make our online transactions (and other interactions) more secure. This means that, in practice, consumers are now being faced with a less convenient online experience, as they are asked to spend more of their valuable time entering details in order to confirm that they are who they claim to be. The result can be frustration amongst consumers and loss of revenue to businesses.

Why Choose An Access Control Biometric?

An access control biometric is a solution to this challenge, fulfilling the requirements of SCA whilst still delivering a convenient, swift customer experience. By integrating fingerprint sensor technology into payment or identity cards, users can reliably prove their digital identity, without the need for additional steps such as passwords or a PIN. Furthermore, this technology is already familiar to consumers, who are used to trusting it on their smartphone and tablets. Since the personal information remains stored on the chip, rather than being kept in the cloud, it remains entirely in the customer’s control. This creates a scenario where the customer can be their own authentication, building trust in their online interactions and ensuring that forgery or digital identity theft is impossible.

Countries such as Singapore, Canada and Estonia are taking an innovative approach to online ID [3]. They have established a collaborative approach across government, banking and mobile networks to create portable digital identity solutions. Whilst each solution is operated in a different fashion, they provide digital access to government services including social welfare and healthcare. Estonia, for example, added biometrics to identity cards in August 2021. [4]These solutions demonstrate that a digitized approach is ideal for our increasingly globalized way of life. Ensuring that online security and digital identity protection may be upheld across borders is certainly an imperative as we look to the future. Safe, convenient, and cost effective, this technology is the smartest choice for protecting our digital identities from increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals.