Innovation Leads to a New Frontier of Identity Management

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By Steve Platt

Our society has shifted to a predominately digitally driven lifestyle, where many of our everyday activities can be completed virtually. And the cornerstone of it all has been technology. It’s advanced in such a way that most, if not all, transactions can be facilitated through a mobile device. In a competitive market place where the consumer or user experience matters greatly, technology has made it possible for businesses to provide convenience to people without the sacrifice of quality service. But it’s also opened doors for criminals to cause significant harm to consumers, businesses and the economy.

Just as society has transitioned to a digital ecosystem, so too have individual and organized criminals. With an increasing rate and breadth of data breaches, criminals now have access to billions of stolen identity records, creating the opportunity to take over identities or create fictitious ones in order to commit high volumes of fraudulent transactions every day. It’s also led to more advanced forms of crime, such as synthetic identity fraud – “fake” identities built on blended components of a real person’s information and fabricated information.

As new technologies are introduced and our society becomes ever more expectant of and dependent on digital platforms, businesses across industries have a responsibility to undergo a digital transformation and evolve their safety and security practices, as well as maintain a positive experience for their customers. And it starts with a culture of innovation.

During a recent #ExperianLive broadcast, my colleagues and I discussed with leading digital analyst Brian Solis how successful innovation is a combination of smart IT infrastructure, transformative research and development, a shift in the organization’s culture, and a moral compass guiding the decisions for products and services:

The primary goal of all businesses should be to build solutions that meet the real-time demands of consumers and businesses, but also keep the end user safe.

It is also important to note that with the high volume of compromised identity records, the traditional foundation of an individual’s identity (name, address, date of birth, Social Security Number, etc.) is no longer a sufficient means for businesses to authenticate and protect consumers – particularly in an online or mobile environment. The concept of identity is fluid and contextual, and it cannot be set in stone – otherwise the criminals will exploit weaknesses and win. There needs to be a fundamental shift in mindset that explores the new possibilities of what should constitute an individual’s identity – one that is centered on intelligence, passive recognition and authentication, and therefore an improved consumer experience.

Just as criminals leverage innovation and technology to their advantage, so too can businesses. There are rapid advancements in identity management being made every day to help businesses stay ahead of fraudsters while accommodating a diverse consumer market.

Advanced analytics, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, combined with new technologies, like physical and behavioral biometrics, device intelligence, digital behaviors and online or mobile document verification, represent a new wave of authentication and identity management. It becomes easier to detect patterns and anomalies that may signal fraudulent behavior or add to the level of confidence established with a legitimate customer or potential customer.

Examples of the new technologies include:

  • Physical biometrics: Fingerprint, retinal scan, facial recognition

  • Behavioral biometrics: How an individual holds a phone, how fast a person types, how a person scrolls through web pages

  • Device intelligence: IP addresses, device characteristics

  • Digital behaviors: Transaction behavior, purchase anomalies, transaction velocity

  • Document verification: Liveliness detection, autofill, authentication of passports or driver’s licenses

But, just as every new technology needs to consider safety and security, the power of these advanced techniques rests in their ability to reduce fraud with limited engagement from the consumer.

People should no longer have to memorize dozens of usernames and passwords, nor should they have to remember their favorite movie as a five-year-old just to gain access to an online account.

For example, if an individual used their fingerprint to access a mobile banking account, there would also be additional verification checks in the background that currently require effort on behalf of the consumer. Is the individual holding their phone in a similar manner as they always do? Is there anything unusual about the withdrawal amount? Is the individual using the same device they usually access the account with?

While each of these advanced fraud prevention methods are built on intelligence, none of them should be used without additional checks in place. A silver bullet for fraud detection and prevention doesn’t exist. But together, the advanced data, analytics and technology that power these new techniques, leveraged in layered and contextual or risk-based approach, can help businesses make the right decisions and protect people.

Keep in mind that criminals will not stop and nor will evolving customer expectations. They will continue to evolve and adapt. We need to evolve and adapt with them. We need to continuously explore new capabilities and innovate new fraud prevention and customer recognition methods. We have a responsibility to society, and a commitment to innovation is how we’ll get there.



About Steve Platt

As Group President, Decision Analytics & Data Quality, Steve Platt leads a portfolio of businesses that enable clients to make the most insightful, confident and timely decisions for their customers. Data and analytics are at the cornerstone of those decisions, and Steve is committed to helping clients gain access to unique data assets, enhance them with powerful and predictive analytics, seamlessly integrate them into their operational processes and use them to make each and every customer interaction safe and valuable.

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