Digital Identity Network Effect #NextGenID - The Definitive Guide to Digital Identity

The Network Effect

Learning objectives
In this chapter, you will understand:


Digital identity drives more value when it's delivered via a network


Deep expertise is required to develop a digital identity network


A global network delivers shared intelligence and proven policy rules

What is a digital identity network, and why can’t businesses go it alone?

In the previous chapter, you learned that digital identities get smarter over time.

This happens by combining hundreds of offline and online entities for each and every transaction, and then mining that collection of information with machine learning to identify customer behaviors that fall within the norm as well as those that diverge from previous patterns.

The results are quite revealing and can be used to authenticate a user by their digital identity–the merging of the behavioral history for an individual and the relationship of that individual with their devices, locations and credentials. Over time, the intelligence on the individual is enriched with each new transaction.

Obviously, the power of inferences that can be drawn from any data set depends on the size and accuracy of that data set. By networking together data sets from multiple organizations, the intelligence becomes that much better.

The global Network that we tap into … gives us additional context about threats or high-risk events that we aren’t seeing in our own back yard.

—Online banking and IT security manager

This network effect is a well-known phenomenon. Quite simply, each new user of a particular product or service increases the value of that product or service for its other users.

The challenge then becomes how to accomplish this network effect for establishing and assessing digital identities. How could information from organizations around the world be combined to form a web of global shared intelligence for the purpose of identity and threat assessment?

Such an effort would need to include the latest threat information. And, as cybercriminals have become more sophisticated, quickly changing tactics and modifying their attacks, this threat information would need to be shared in real time.

To facilitate sharing among organizations around the globe, the data must be standardized and incorporated into an extensible model. It should be structured and organized so that businesses can quickly incorporate this new data into their existing data sets. And, it needs to come with open application program interfaces (APIs) to accommodate easy integration with truth data and third-party enrichment services.

This white paper gives digital businesses insight into the key elements that make up a digital identity

Of course, with rising concerns over data privacy and the need to stay compliant with legal requirements, companies must share this intelligence without exposing personally identifiable information.

This can be accomplished through hashing, which transforms personal information into a string of unique, yet otherwise meaningless characters. But, for the hashed information to be usable by others, it would need to be processed through a common hash algorithm used by all organizations.

To be usable for authentication, this shared intelligence needs to be available in real time at the point of new account origination, account login and payment. Since these are generally mission-critical processes, the authentication would need to happen very quickly and be unaffected by rapid spikes in demand.

And, since the digital identity is needed to help businesses make thousands of trust decisions in an instant, the system must also be fault tolerant. This requires a computer network that not only possesses massive computing power, but also is rapidly scalable.

Obviously, this would be very challenging for any organization, let alone multiple organizations or business divisions, to coordinate such an effort. Even then, the organizations would need exceptional machine learning expertise and proficiencies in data science.

The size and scale of (our) network provides our direct selling clients with digital intelligence solutions that address the unique challenges associated with accepting payments at hosted events and receiving commissions.

–Vice president of sales, payment services provider

A global digital identity network achieves this outcome.

With thousands of companies sharing data, the network collects and processes intelligence from millions of digital events daily. This accomplishes the goal of assembling a very large data set. But, it also delivers another advantage in universal policy rules.

These are tunable rules that have been developed and refined over time by organizations using the network. They are proven to work, and then made available to other organizations to use as-is or to modify for their unique requirements.

All of this empowers businesses to accept more transactions with greater confidence, reduce fraud and customer friction, and lower the operational costs associated with manual reviews.

With a global digital identity network, business get global shared intelligence and shared expertise in the form of universal policy rules. This clearly illustrates the power of the network effect.

Next up: Real-Time Threat Detection



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