Digital identity plays a crucial role in data privacy. Here's why it matters

Last updated: January 5, 2021
Digital Identity Plays A Crucial Role In Data Privacy. Here's Why It Matters

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The pace at which our lives are becoming digitized is hard to miss. There’s a lot more personal information online – think payment details, health records, and purchase data. This raises concerns about data security and privacy.

Online verification powers most of our everyday tasks today – be it through wearable gadgets, daily task reminders, apps or smart home devices. In an attempt to create a smarter world, technology has blurred the lines between the physical and virtual world. A large part of this is made possible by harnessing data.

A report published last year estimated that a small business is hacked every 19 seconds in the United Kingdom. This highlights the need for better data protection and cybersecurity.

In today’s digital space, one where banks, services, and other products interact using details about a customer, a robust and secure user authentication platform is required.


Source: IBM Security

An opportunity for more platforms

The need for enhanced user verification services has opened a large avenue for digital identity platforms, particularly ones that include biometrics like fingerprint, voice and facial recognition. The technology has eliminated some of the bigger pain points for customers, removing friction and creating a more secure system by authenticating the user.

Weak cybersecurity cannot be shrugged away

Organizations are exposed to several risks and will need to ensure the data is protected, secure and not mishandled. When companies have to respond to data losses or even cases of possible data losses, it can consume hours and is oftentimes an expensive affair – one that could result in significant fines and lawsuits.

When multiple accounts are interlinked within a system, a data breach can create significant losses, oftentimes compromising highly sensitive client data.

With data breaches on the rise and a growing number of fraudsters infiltrating user accounts and obtaining client data through mobile bots, brute-force or remote access attacks, businesses will need to realign their security objectives.

AI-based solutions?

Leveraging digital identity and access management solutions enables a secure user authentication platform with minimal room for friction. Better yet, by tapping into artificial intelligence and risk-based authentication, some digital identity solutions notify their users if their account sees any fraudulent activity.

This comes at a time when various industries, particularly the finance sector, fall prey to both automated and human-initiated attacks. A report by risk management and research firm LexisNexis showed that while cyber attacks declined globally by more than 50%, the banking and finance sector saw the numbers climb to 107%. The most common cyber issues were phishing emails, ransomware, and online impersonation.

The numbers nudge organizations to provide advanced security features, while still complying with data privacy requirements and providing an easy-to-use, seamless experience for the user. This highlights the need for organizations to rethink their user verification model, and adapt themselves to technologies that are constantly evolving away from traditional methods of user authentication.

The circumstances of stolen data

Although there’s rising concerns over account takeovers, what’s riskier is the mishandling of stolen data. The data theft could give way to fraudulent accounts, identity theft, opening credit card accounts or applying for loans and insurance, risking the organization’s business and reputation.

“We know that the number of cybercriminals prosecuted under the Computer Misuse Act is below 100 annually. When you compare that to the number of cyber crimes being reported across all industries, you can see that it’s a very lucrative criminal enterprise,” Richard Breavington, partner at RPC, told FT earlier this year.

Having control over your information

Using self-sovereign digital identity services will enable users to control access to their data – and determine who should obtain their data and what data can be accessed.

“Our physical environments are becoming more interconnected and intelligent. We are getting intelligent cars, homes and shopping experiences depending on the person accessing a service as part of the custom-made economy in which we will be interacting and authorizing actions with our Self Sovereign Identity,” wrote industry expert Alex Preukschat.

Digital identity platforms will play a crucial role in securing and verifying personal data, given that most organizations require users to verify their identity. We’re seeing more people interacting online, where users need to be able to trust the person they’re connecting with and know that they are indeed who they claim they are.

The connected world we are in today hinges a lot on trust. And that’s why digital identities matter.

Bottom line

By changing the traditional, single-source identity that carries some flaws, the increasing number of digital identity services that are coming up across the globe provides a significant advantage to its users.

At a time when personal data is touted to be a profitable market, it’s important that users have control over their information and avoid room for data manipulation. The solutions come packed with:

  • better control for users
  • higher transparency
  • ample security

More often than not, these are benefits that a large number of users and organizations may potentially adopt in the coming years.

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