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Digital identities are the representations of a person online through their collected data and information. Although there are a wide range of types of digital identities, there is a push for creating legal digital identities, similar to a driver’s license. This is becoming the most common association with the term “digital identities,” and it connect a person’s digital identity to their offline self, typically through the use of personally identifiable information (PII) such as through linking their social security number, birthdate, and/or driver’s license number, as well as through their online activities and purchases.
There are a wide range of services that offer validated digital identities, typically through issuing digital certificates that often come with legal guarantees. Many people choose to utilize such services, as it helps them regain control of their digital identities. When browsing the web, most websites can gather large amounts of data, such as what products a user looked at, what their purchase history looks like, and even who their social media friends are. This allows businesses to target people with specialized marketing options. By utilizing digital identity solutions, individuals can help regulate who has access to this information and define in what ways they can use it.
Digital identity solutions aim not only to help individuals control their PII, but also to make sure that it is universally usable to all authorized third parties, typically by following Trust Frameworks guidelines that include conformance criteria, specifications, and principles. By following this framework, digital ID solutions can ensure that both the individuals and the authorized organization can put trust in the fact that the information being shared is both accurate and secure. This allows for organizations to trust in the authentication that has been provided.
Digital IDs are also used within an organization itself. Not only do they allow customers access to their services, but digital identification is used for employees and partners as well. Oftentimes, organizations will choose to utilize single sign on systems to allow employees access to multiple different software suites. The employee or partner will log in to the primary system, and then be granted access to authorized software without the need to sign in each time, such as with Microsoft Office 365. This saves the employees time and effort, and increases the company’s bottom line.
Digital identification systems and authentications are beneficial to organizations in a number of ways, including: