These two questions underlie almost every online interaction. In an increasingly digital world, there are few things that are more important than your digital identity. It's central to our ability to secure, trust, interact and engage with one another.
This hasn't always been the case--and that's exactly why identity is so crucial now. Vint Cerf, one of the "fathers of the internet," has said that if he could go back and do anything differently, he would have tackled identity. While the Internet's founders knew it was potentially an issue, even for what was then a network based on trusted educational institutions, they never envisioned its importance would reach the point that it has today.
The good news is that identity and access management (IAM) has evolved to meet the challenges posed by the Internet's rapid evolution. And as digital identity management continues to grow and change, several key trends stand out that will change the landscape of both security and user convenience.
Trends in Identity
I recently traveled to Australia, where I spoke with iTWire about Ping's mission of making identity the center of security and some of the more interesting developments in the identity space. Here are two trends I believe are at the forefront today.
Mobile phones will become the ultimate identity authentication device. Mobile phones are the decisive identity token, and a growing number of capabilities in these devices can recognize and authenticate us, continuously and across multiple factors. These capabilities include familiar biometric factors such as a user's fingerprint or facial identification. But biometrics are going beyond that. The way you hold a phone or how you type a password are unique to you, and could also be used to verify your identity, among other techniques.
And, of course, user behavior on the phone can also be an authentication factor. The actions you take can be compared to known and recognized characteristics, such as usage history, where the phone is located, whether the device has already been trusted, or whether the device has been compromised. These considerations all go into assessing the risk associated with how sure we can be that you are really you, and how recently we have verified this.
Ping Identity and other companies in the industry are putting mobile phones to use as primary identity authentication devices today, and I expect to see this grow significantly. Read this blog for a deep dive into multi-factor authentication (MFA).
Identity management systems will become increasingly adaptive and intelligent to accommodate the fluidity of risk. Ultimately, we need to broaden the scope of risk assessments and in parallel make security related decisions more dynamic and intelligent. Risk is not static; enterprise environments, circumstances, and user behavior are constantly changing, which in turn changes the associated risk.
To accommodate this, enterprises need a more flexible and adaptive identity system that is not one-size-fits-all, but instead leverages policies and intelligence to minimize risk based on context. Our vision, and what we're working toward at Ping, is adopting "identity intelligence" into all of our products so that organizations can stay secure in a much more dynamic world, while also providing a great user experience at the same time.
Click below to view the full video.
Now's the Time to Act
Business leaders--if you haven't thought about digital identity in the context of your business, now is the time. You'll discover an element of identity within all of your online interactions, the experiences you deliver to customers and employees, and the ways in which you build trust in your market. This is especially true as the increasing use of mobile devices and business in the cloud extends the perimeter of your organization.
Your identity strategy must be a forethought, not an afterthought.
Identity is an enabler of everything we do, and is an embedded feature in revenue-generating services, business agility and security. While identity isn't a business model unto itself today, it is increasingly looking like a central theme in all of them. And that's because there's very little we can do on the Internet that doesn't start with: Who are you? And can you prove it?