The Case for Digital Identity

At some point in the past three to five years, the concept of digital identity in Australia moved from “future tech” to “already here”. As the public sector forges ahead with making its digital identity framework a reality, private companies quickly realise the need to act to improve customer and worker experiences while protecting the organisation.  

Business leaders don’t need to look far for signs that digital identity is gaining pace. In 2020, the federal government announced that digital identity was a major pillar of its $800 million technology budget package. The surging global digital identity market is expected to grow from US$24 billion in 2022 to nearly $57 billion by 2027. Overseas, early-movers, including Estonia and New Zealand, are already reaping the benefits of maturing government digital identity programs.  

Why Do Organisations Need Digital Identity in Workforce Compliance?

Digital identity is a win-win for organisations and their workers, with benefits ranging from better user experience to enhanced privacy, data security and operational efficiencies. Some of the key reasons for investing in digital identity include:  

Getting Ahead of Government Legislation

Although the federal government has indicated that digital identity will not be compulsory for Australian individuals, businesses that intend to provide digital identification services must comply with the Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF) accreditation. Applicants need to meet requirements around accessibility, usability, privacy protection, security and fraud control, risk management, technical integrity and more.  

Organisations with overseas operations will need to be aware of emerging digital trust frameworks around the world, such as eIDAS in the EU.  

Accelerate Digital Transformation Initiatives.

According to Deloitte, digital identity programs will help organisations accelerate and control digital transformation across the organisation as well as in any merger and acquisition activity.  

Improve User Experience

Advanced authentication means a faster, safer and more personalised user experience while the organisation benefits from a higher level of authentication assurance. This includes:  

  • Leveraging single sign-on: Digital identity eliminates the need for multiple logins across different platforms and companies, saving time and the frustration involved in remembering login details. Simplifying sign-in/sign-on will also cut costs by reducing the number of support calls during onboarding.  
  • We are providing individuals with a more efficient way of accessing digital services.  
  • Re-using identity credentials across different sites and organisations.  
  • Reducing the need for identity checks and rechecks for employees/contractors and reducing the time and friction involved in these interactions.  
  • Removing inefficient manual processes. As PwC points out, “…Proving staff and consumers are who they say they are is time-consuming and repetitive for business.”  

Increase Trust, Privacy and Security.

Privacy and trust must come first in the information age if organisations are to reap the benefits of digitisation. There are many aspects to increasing trust through digital identity:  

  • Trusting that employees and contractors are who they say they are.  
  • Providing role-based system access (e.g. for admins reviewing workforce compliance data).  
  • Giving control over personal information back to individuals, with users sharing only the minimum amount of information needed for a transaction, and having visibility when information is shared with third parties (for example, during a compliance verification).  
  • Improve remote data security as flexible working continues to grow, verifying the identity of remote workers before they gain system access.  
  • Creating business opportunities to work with third-party organisations such as banks that require a higher standard of identity credentials.  
  • Improving cybersecurity: As Huawei reports, “interactions between digital identities … go far beyond simple user authentication: they build the foundations for networks of trust, the management of risk, and for safeguarding privacy as well as directly enabling security policies and incident detection.”  

From Fire-Fighting to Proactive Digital Identity Management

Organisations can take a reactive or proactive approach to digital identity. Some will take the “fire-fighting” route to deal with mounting inefficiencies, poor user experience, and lack of control. Others will embrace the digital identity challenge to unlock benefits ranging from increased trust, better user experience, operational efficiencies and more.