Digital identity management - In a nutshell

Digitalization has given the opportunity to traditional or offline organization to make their businesses online. In a way, it has brought the efficiency and convenience for the end users to utilize the services from these organizations which used to be time consuming activity earlier because of manual identity verification and access control system. But, now all we users just need to do is to have our identity i.e. Digital identity available with them which will be authenticated later point in time by their online access management system to ascertain us. With every single service e.g. Email, banking, e-commerce, retail or social media etc. the users need to register their credentials first and acquire the digital profile for themselves.

It’s true that the selection and use of identities vary depending upon the sectors that one uses. There may be private sectors e.g. Financial and Banking, Healthcare, and E-commerce or there may be public sectors e.g. any social networking site (Face book, Twitter). But, it’s not religiously followed by everyone except quite a few which are more attuned towards the use of digital identity. These digital identities may be completely fabricated and fanciful, to function as a mask to hide the actual identity of an Internet user from the rest of the world. However, data security is equally important for users in any transaction, and therefore any company should consider implementing digital identity verification systems.

The users might choose separate accounts with a growing number of services. The question arises about how these distributed accounts should be managed which is meant for a single user?  Managing the digital identities is becoming a tougher job especially when we maintain a myriad of identities which is going wild in the form of sending videos, endless comments/likes, status updates and the list goes on. Every minute a new digital identity is getting created and posting the media content on the web.

In such scenarios, planning a robust digital identity management system is needful thing and should be focused on maintaining the trusted credentials of individual in an identity system, which are created, used, and eventually deleted. In other words, it should enable the trusted remote interactions between an organization and an individual.  The development of effective DIM depends on following points-

  • Offering of higher assurance from the interacting identities by means of strong ID check online i.e. employing a strong Identity provider
  • Offering the authorized services to the trusted identities
  • Offering a Federated identity management to limit the distributed Ids
  • Adopting a common and interoperable identity management infrastructure to create a shared identity ecosystem
  • Offering a reconciliation process to flush the stale identities when they are obsolete

Digital Identity Management encompasses all the processes of identity lifecycle i.e. from provisioning till de-provisioning. It is fact that digital identity establishment is a perennial process. It sets significant demands to system quality. The tendency of users to use mobile devices to interact in the social and corporate level is projecting to a further rise of digital identity. Governments as “identity providers” can help offering high-value trust-based economic and social interactions online for enabling high level identity assurance. It can also act as a driving force to help market players adopt consistent identity management practices.

Authored by Neetu Agrawal

TCS Enterprise Security & Risk Management

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