Is your Digital Identity safe and secure?

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We live in a world where our identity is required everywhere like currency and it will only get worse. Every app we use, every website we join, every organization we partner with, all require us to create a login id and password. The result is endless userids and passwords which are a nightmare to maintain. Not only that but most of us are highly predictable in our naming conventions and frequently use the same passwords and the more passwords we have the more predictable (and hackable) we get.

Blockchain for digital identity

This video talks about common Digital Identity challenges and explores how Blockchain can help get your digital identity under control and keep it secure. The very features that make Blockchain of value are the ones that we need for more secure identity management. Provenance, immutability and finality are key to maintaining effective identity control.

It can affect us all

To give a personal example, about a year ago I changed jobs. This involved relinquishing my work cell phone and getting a new personal one. I could have kept my old number but decided to make a clean break and get a new number. This seemed a good idea at the time but little did I know the number of problems this would create with my digital identity. The number of websites with my old number on was frightening and most people will be aware that if you encounter an issue with your id or password for a site they send a code to your email or cell phone to unlock it. But what if that cell phone number no longer exists and you no longer have your old work email account. There goes your verification and so begins an endless loop to recover your identity and access to websites, systems and applications. It took a long time to change my cellphone number on all the places I needed to and I am still, a year later, coming across sites which have my old cellphone number in their account records.

A single source of the truth.

But what if I could change my cellphone number (or email address) just once in a central location and that was then relayed to or accessed by all the apps, accounts and websites who need it. And if I needed to change it I go into that one central location, make the update which is then automatically copied and updated everywhere else that information is stored. Wouldn’t that be a game changer. How much time and effort would that save us all.

One of the guiding principles of Blockchain is that it can provide that one single source of the truth by design.

Digital Identity Blockchain

This is just one small example of where Blockchain has the capability and could be employed to enable and simplify the maintenance and security of our Digital identity. As the video explains there are many facets to our identity and we need to make sure they are all secure, current and accessible.

Corporate identity challenges

So far we have focused on Digital identity from an individual perspective but the same issues can be applied to any business whose staff have to access multiple systems and which relies on internal or external firewalls. Having a secure Blockchain environment to help companies maintain employee identities centrally is a key enabler to ensuring that the right people can access the right information at the right time.

Most companies have employee ids and email accounts and to a degree use this to set up their employee network and system access, but this only solves part of the problem especially if their employees also use external systems and need to have additional userids and passwords to do their jobs.

As the link below shows Digital Identity is not going away, in fact it is expanding into more and more facets of daily life and business.

Top 5 Digital ID trends in 2020

Owning your data

A lot of the challenges in this digital age center around who owns and controls data and that is where Blockchain can provide clarity by putting ownership in the right hands. Not only can you have one single point of access, but that point of access is related to the entitled owner of the data. In addition, Blockchain provides additional security through ensuring that the only one who can change that data is the true data owner.

Also Read: Blockchain for Digital Identity, here.

From an individual perspective wouldn’t it be great to feel in control of your personal key data, whether it be medical records, personal communications channels and media or financial details. And from a company perspective wouldn’t clear roles and responsibilities including defined and secure ownership and data access improve operational effectiveness and help reduce data breaches and hacking.

This is a solvable problem

The bottom line is that the more times any Digital Identity is requested and the more places it is stored in the greater the risk of it being compromised or accessed by others. This could lead to misinformation or data duplication at best, but in the worst cases can ultimately lead to identity theft or criminal misuse.

We all have a Digital Identity now, it is up to us to accept that this comes with a responsibility to own and manage it individually and collectively. You may have yours under complete control but if so you are likely in a minority and that situation could change at any minute. Regardless, we recommend you watch this video and think about what you and/or your company could be doing to protect and maintain your identity now and in the future!


About Author

Owner of Thoughtsand Executive IT Consultancy - enabling your data to work for you, not against you. Previously Global Digital Technology Lead for Next Generation Clinical Trials within Pfizer Inc.

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