Digital Identity – just the phrase leaves you thinking this must be important; after all, our identity is about who we are and what we do. Digital identity is a big technology space too. It encompasses a variety of sectors including verification-as-a-service, consumer identity and access management (CIAM), cloud (SaaS) identity, transaction authentication, and the newest entrant – self-sovereign identity. The financial value of the identity space is massive. Identity verification-as-a-service alone has been predicted by McKinsey to be worth $20 billion by 2022.
It is often said that if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. Good health helps to keep us happy and productive, but a healthy lot we are not. The World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted that by 2020, three-quarters of global deaths will be due to chronic illnesses.
Back in the day, a new idea was floated called “layered security.” It was a model that helped an organization plan out how to secure across all the touchpoints of the business; each layer protecting against a threat. Layered security evolved into the more holistic “Defense in Depth.” This new model was based on the philosophy of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. It is a good model to follow and one that I believe the digital identity space can replicate. Here's how.
In the identity and access management (IAM) space, we talk a lot about identity. There is an historic reason for this as well as a psychological one. After all, when we do something online, we are doing it as a digital version of ourselves, aren’t we?
It feels like a natural fit when you think of digital identity and relationships. We use our identity to form relationships that are then used to perform tasks and carry out roles in society. Human beings are creatures that strongly identify as one thing or another. It is the basis of both good and bad things in our world. But, whether good or bad, identity is a strong driver and a deep-seated trait that our society is built upon.
Relationships, by definition, are dovetailed by identity. We use identifying measures like family ties or shared values, to build relationships in the real world. One engaging story about identity and relationships is that involving Irish pubs of the late 60s and 70s who ended up acting as a bank. Ireland in those times was going through a lot of industrial disputes which involved bank closures, often for months at a time. The Irish kept money moving by ‘cashing in’ on relationships. Pub landlords, often the center of a community in Ireland, acted as a kind of notary - customers would create ad hoc checks which the landlord would cash because they identified the person, had a relationship with them, and knew they would honor the check. The relationship was the pivot of the transaction; people acknowledged each other, money was exchanged, the task was performed. The intricate pieces of the exchange, like money, people, recognition of another, are all the same parts that are needed in the digital equivalent of a transaction.