Our identities help us participate in modern society. Consider how often we use our identity numbers to access services and imagine how debilitating it is not to have an official ID number. That means no driver’s licence, bank account, phone contract, or even sim card.
The digital era has amplified identity. But it’s also become schizophrenic. Meaning that we don’t have one login; but we have many, and when businesses access our identities, they may get more information than needed. Fractured identities also create security, privacy, and compliance risks.
Questions such as ”Who are you?” “Can I trust you?” ”Do I want to do business with you?” highlight the importance of accurate identity verification in digital transactions. People are increasingly realising the significance of having control over their own identities.
However, inadequate identity verification processes create friction between customers and businesses, particularly in challenging economic conditions.
To attract prospective customers and facilitate smooth interactions, service providers must ensure quick eligibility checks without unnecessary steps or delays. Simultaneously, it is crucial to prioritise safe and secure business practices by swiftly identifying and deterring fraudulent actors while allowing legitimate clients to proceed.
Fracturing, friction, and Fight Club
The identity situation is similar to movies like Fight Club and Split, where the main characters’ psyches fracture into multiple personalities.
When we look at people today, there are numerous reports talking about how many online social media personalities we’re using. That’s not even taking into account online shopping, online banking, online investing, or corporate systems that you have to access. It’s like Fight Club, do we even know that we have these personalities and which of them represents us? And then we are left wondering why customers are frustrated.
Juggling identities creates unnecessary friction for customers and the organisations providing services. It also increases security and privacy concerns. There are emerging remedies, such as the adoption of passwordless logins. Yet these solutions only tackle a part of the problem. Ultimately, the best way is to create sovereign reusable identities that only provide specifically what a transaction requires.
Consider applying for a gym membership as an example. We need different information for that gym membership compared to when we buy a car. There are different things that you need to know, which means different levels of access. For example, at the gym they don’t need to know our birth records. But maybe they do need to know about pre-existing conditions so that they can tailor an exercise plan for you.
Managing these differences without fracturing identities, creating friction, or creating privacy risks—that’s what a modern reusable identity platform provides.
Robust yet secure reusable digital identities already exist. Recently, the Australian province of New South Wales launched a digital driver’s licence that people can use to verify themselves for other services. And Estonia, the globe’s most digitised nation, has a digital identity card that lets citizens access government services, open new businesses and even vote from anywhere in the world.
How can other countries and organisations take these steps forward? Identities fracture for a reason: managing identities is demanding and technical, and most organisations don’t have the resources to do so properly. Fortunately, they don’t have to: when they integrate identity platforms into their systems, they gain all the benefits of identity management as a service.
Integrated Identity platforms negotiate on behalf of organisations. It can start with KYC (Know Your Customer) but extend to all types of processes. Do you need biometric photo verification? Are you enrolling someone as an employee or into a secure system? Do you need address verification? Integrated Identity platforms provide a toolbox to enable the business analyst to give customers a reusable identity experience in one place, and the platform ensures that the process only accesses the information it requires while maintaining compliance and accuracy.
Platforms that protect and manage sovereign reusable identities are game changers. They facilitate or support KYC and single sign-on, passwordless access, privacy controls, and that holy grail of customer service, personalisation—without fracturing identities. And the platform approach centralises identity control as a service that can be aggregated securely across branches and third parties. They remove the friction from identity processes, enabling organisations to do the minimum and continue with business.
If you’re running a business, keep this in mind, whether you’re talking about security, KYC, or just making it easier to transact with your customers, reusable identity is going to become as important as data.