Each year, SecureKey is a proud sponsor of IdentityNORTH, a premiere digital identity and economy conference taking place June 15-16 in Toronto. The event gathers international leaders and technology executives to share the ideas and knowledge that will drive Canada’s digital future. IdentityNORTH always generates insightful discussions around digital identity, and we enjoy hearing about the techniques and technologies Canadian companies are promoting for secure online authentication.

As we prepare for the show next week, I had the pleasure of sharing my thoughts with IdentityNORTH on digital identity and authentication, and what the future entails. As Canadian citizens, businesses, and governments work together to ease authentication processes and eliminate the reliance on multiple credentials, it’s an exciting time for digital ID.

At this year’s conference, we’ll also be joining RBC and the Province of British Columbia on the panel session, “Thoughts on Applying Privacy by Design” where we’ll share best practices and experiences on privacy design in practice. We’ll examine how RBC and Province of British Columbia are using a federated identity model to simplify and secure access to online government services. The session takes place on Wednesday at 4:00pm, come check it out, and don’t worry there’s still time to purchase your ticket here!

Also please be sure to visit our blog afterwards, as we’ll post a recap highlighting trends and happenings from the show.

The Big Questions with Andre Boysen

1) Why are Digital ID and authentication important?

Digital identity and authentication are more important than ever as more services move online. The challenge for users is that managing their online identity has become untenable – too many passwords, to many questions, too many scary stories in the newspaper. Therefore, it’s paramount that user authentication is stringent to ensure the consumer’s information is protected. Equally important is a trust worthy way to user to prove identity online so they can register for new services and regain access if they lose their original device.

2) What are the biggest questions and opportunities in digital ID and authentication today? The biggest questions in digital ID and authentication is ensuring consumer information is secure and private. The threat landscape continues to grow more sophisticated every day, and passwords have emerged as a top attack vector.  However, these questions present exciting opportunities for digital ID and authentication where federated identity allows for convenient and secure online service access by eliminating the need for multiple usernames and passwords.>

3) What role will digital ID and authentication play in increasing Canadians’ ability to connect with businesses and governments? Digital identity and strong authentication will eliminate the need for consumers to manage dozens of user ids and passwords to access critical online business and government services. Digital identity enables Canadian government agencies to enhance their customer online experience by making it easier for consumers to access their services and by ensuring the protection of their private information.

4) How do we balance the needs of individual people and businesses and governments? We balance these needs first by listening to each. When it comes to digital ID and authentication, the needs of consumers, business and government are actually quite similar. Businesses and governments want to enable convenient, secure consumer access to their online services, while consumers want to eliminate reliance on multiple usernames and passwords, and trust their information is kept private, and it has to be easy to use. These needs go hand-in-hand, and to balance them, a federated digital identity model makes sense.

5) How can we ensure digital ID and authentication works for the aging demographics and considers accessibility? How can we ensure a smooth transition for technologically inexperienced Canadians? Simply by making it easy. The problems around authentication and digital ID have always centered around passwords, and the need to constantly remember forgotten passwords. All Canadians—regardless of age and experience level—no longer have to remember countless usernames and passwords because they can use the banking credentials they already have and trust to access online services. It is also important to recongize that for many seniors, their smartphone is their only internet device.

6) What should Canadians be most excited about? Canadians should be excited about being able to access the online services they need, when they need it. So long are the days of trying to remember passwords and creating yet another set of credentials. Canadian businesses and government have set the bar for secure digital identity, and other countries should take note. The average consumer has more than 130 user ids and passwords. This number is going to decreased significantly, and we can’t wait!

7) Can you describe what you see as the future of digital authentication? The world is evolving to a model where street ID and digital ID are the same thing – a world where your identity works at all the places you go for service whether in person, on the phone or online. Like the payments industry, identity and authenticating is splitting service delivery organizations in to two groups – those that issue strong ID and those that accept strong ID.  If businesses and governments anchor their credentials in ones that users already use and trust, then we can minimize the frustration for the consumer and the risk for the business; it’s a win for all.