Verification and authentication in the age of uncertainty

We are now firmly in the era of continuous technological development, with applications, machines and devices disrupting working practices on a regular basis

Whilst the fourth industrial revolution has produced much which can be valued and its benefits made tangible, the impact it is having across multiple industries is also bringing with it new and emerging challenges which threaten previously commonly agreed approaches to security and risk management. Nowhere is this impact felt more keenly than the public sector with its 5.4 million workers and 65 million population.

As more and more interactions between the citizen and the state are managed in a digital setting, the need to verify and authenticate the digital identities of service users, as well as secure the operational integrity of public services, is vital for both providers and end users’ confidence in digital representation security and risk capabilities.

Being able to proof your identity is of paramount importance. Without being able to do so you cannot access a plethora of services which are designed with you, the citizen, in mind. From booking an appointment with your GP, being in receipt of benefits, to your child’s right to an education, proofing our identity is what drives our lives.

In order to conduct identity proofing exercises, today’s devices and applications often require granular access to highly sensitive information about you. This accessibility extends to other devices and machines which are involved in the process of verifying and authenticating not only the user access request but the devices and machines with which it is interacting. This process leads to the security features of the individual devices being lessened as the open IoT environment leads to reduced security.

Given that identity is the cornerstone upon which services are designed, so too must digital identity be regarded as fundamental to the functioning of a modern society. It is only when we treat it as such that we will fully appreciate the need to treat our online identity as important as our physical.

The infrastructure and architecture of digital identity authentication and verification exists in order to facilitate the efficient transaction of information which is critical for person-to-person connection. Through that connection, trust is built, security maintained, and model means of communication promoted. The unhindered flow of data provides for the smooth production of people, services, goods, and other primary forms of action.

In order to realise the ambitious target, set forth by the digital revolution, we must harmonise the machines and devices which reside in the IoT ecosystem by allowing for the reliable transmission of information between them as well as the owners, suppliers, and designers of such assets.

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