What do you think determines that someone is who they claim to be? Definitely the concept of identity has been mystifying the philosophers for centuries now.
However in physical world, it is quite easy to answer this question as there people have various forms that prove their identity like their government issued photo id, birth certificates and other utility bills. But online world doesn’t rely on these certificates. Here identity is best proven, when a user present various factors that authenticate himself. In digital sphere, the methods of proving one’s identity needs to be more secure and therefore we need more evidence.
State of Digital identity before cloud!
Let’s go dates back, at least to MIT’s compatible time sharing systems (a project from mid 1960’s) where the system had multiple terminals for multiple end users. Each terminal needed a secure access to their own set of private files. At that time administrators were responsible of locking each individual account with a password which seems to be the most straightforward solution of the time. This method of single factor authentication has been with us for a quite long time.
Okay, let’s consider the state of internet in mid 1990’s. Even after the vulnerability of single factor authentication to cyber attacks, there was no other way to secure a digital identity which is more convenient. It was may be because of the slow processing power of motherboards and slow connection speeds. Although, it was pretty obvious that additional factors must be included for better security but technology was not there then.
The Era of cloud computing!
From the beginning of year 2000, the concept of cloud computing was becoming increasingly popular since computer were getting faster. And these growing advancements in technology were hugely impacting digital identity. It has become possible for a single person to log into 10 different internet channels with multiple usernames while simultaneously logged in at work under his/her real name and it is all from the same device. This was a drastic change as opposed to the previous era where a machine could handle only a single digital identity at a time.
As a result digital identities had started to proliferate. For an employer, it was even more challenging to control what employees were doing with all these identities. There were always a fear that someone might be leaking trade secrets or may be someone is using company equipments to do it. Precisely, having various identities was vulnerable for cyber attacks at that time.
Digital identity in the cloud!
In today’s environment of cloud computing, smartphones dominate everyone. People are having number of accounts that they need to access on a daily basis, hence requirement of securing their digital identities has become even more obvious.
There are chances that an employee might get hacked while browsing his/her Twitter account via a company phone. This may lead a hack of his/her company as well and the whole business might collapse because of single identity leak.
So what’s the way of securing these multiple digital identities in the cloud?
Despite of having a single factor of authentication i.e. password, having multiple factors can pretty much solve the problem.
Ultimately, Identity is the ability to verify that someone is who they say they are. And this verification can involve checking of multiple factors such as which device the user is using, where the user is or what password he knows.
With current high processing power and a cloud based environment this can be easily done.
Moreover, there are various cloud based identity provisioning systems like LoginRadius that are able to link user profiles across various apps to prevent data silos. WIth these cloud based solutions the digital identity remains consistent but flexible to meet the mobile changing needs of today. And to secure digital identity of individuals there are methods like two factor authentication, fingerprint scanner, Biometric authentication and several other forms of multi factor authentication.