How your organization combines Identity Management and digital trust

(and why it’s needed now more than ever)

Every minute of every day, our world is becoming more digitised. In many areas, we are virtually dependent on digital services because they determine and simplify our everyday lives… or make them otherwise more difficult.

This development should not be underestimated. We need digital services more and more, which at the same time means that we as consumers are sharing our personal data online more extensively. Whether we know it or not. And also, whether we want to or not. You can inform yourself and fight against it, of course – but at what price?

Given this trend, an important question naturally arises: what are the circumstances under which we are willing to divulge personal info, and what do we expect in return for our generosity?

If you’re like most people, you trust the conscientiousness of the service providers as much as possible and trust that your data will be kept safe and used wisely. But how is “digital” trust actually formed?

How is it that the world seems to trust Google and co.

As various studies have repeatedly shown (e.g., this one from Okta), positive online experiences and high security standards are of crucial importance for trust of digital services. Every user experience starts with the first interaction with the service, and that lets us decide significantly whether trust in a specific service is possible at all. And what is the first interaction from the user’s perspective? The sign-in, of course. Logging in is seeing if it’s safe to proceed.

Cloud computing and mobile working have meant that many of us have to log in dozens of times a day somewhere. That, in turn, results in a vast and extremely complex web of identity information, and with it, countless opportunities for mishaps and attacks.

In the analogue world, we have a few, official identity documents on a trusted issuing authority (passport, driver’s license, and the like) that all point to and prove the same – namely, our – identity. In the digital world, we either create our own identity validation for each service (usually something freely selectable like username and password) or we hand over this responsibility to private tech giants (called Federation) via “Sign in with Google” or “Sign in with Facebook”.

Against this background: Doesn’t the question of trust formally arise? How is it that we trust such a system to such an extent that we let it – some perhaps with concern, others even too carelessly – manage our everyday digital lives?

5 factors for digital trust

Well, one answer lies in the login and how it is secured or suggests security. But besides the secure login, what are other factors that make us choose one online service over another?

The following factors are responsible for digital trust in digital offerings:

  • Reliability
  • User-friendliness
  • High reputation
  • Minimal data entry
  • And: secure logins.

If these factors are given, everything is clear. But who actually takes responsibility?

Organizations must take responsibility

Across industries, users believe that companies and institutions are and must be responsible for protecting their digital identities and personal data. Users can only partially influence the security of their information online, while the organizations that provide online services have a big role to play in digital trust.

There are ways organizations can earn the trust of us – their customers – and ensure seamless digital experiences. Some of these include:

  • Offering user-friendly user interface (UI). Enabling quick, straightforward sign-in and minimal data entry is an important step in successfully building trust.
  • Keep security modern and “rock-solid.” Multi-factor authentication is a must.
  • Use of data for personalised experiences.
  • Ensure compliance. Trust can be established with the help of (automated) consent management.
  • Ensure consistency. A single source of truth is needed for all personal data.

Identity Management is exponentially becoming a must-have

Trust plays at least as important a role online as it does offline. After all, what is the Internet but interaction and the sharing of information between people and systems? A secure online experience is the foundation of trust, and this is where Digital Identity Management plays a prominent role. From this, reliable verification of identities is of great importance and makes Identity Management a must-have for any organization that cares about the security of its data and personal customer information.

Here, then, is a strong connection between Identity Management and digital trust – one is unimaginable without the other. Mastering Identity Management is no magic trick. Has your company not yet implemented Identity and Access Management? Then maybe it’s time to use a short assessment or a simple tool to make your company more secure and increase the digital trust of your (future) customers.