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Thursday, 18 February 2021 00:30

Six Predictions for Digital Identity 2021

Ashley Diffey, Country Manager – ANZ and Japan, Ping Identity Ashley Diffey, Country Manager – ANZ and Japan, Ping Identity

GUEST OPINION by Ashley Diffey, Country Manager – ANZ and Japan, Ping Identity: The societal changes that occurred during the past 12 months are undeniable, but what’s less talked about are the significant implications for data privacy. First, the massive shift to remote work changed the way data is accessed and secured. And a sharp rise in online transactions means more personal data is being exchanged, stored, and processed than ever before. Further, the amounts of personal data being collected by large technology companies continues to climb, shaking user trust.

The compilation of these events accelerated conversations around effective identity management. Organisations now feel the weight of customer demands to provide seamless and secure digital experiences. And prior to this year, business may have gotten away with addressing those demands as part of longer-term future-looking plan, but now there is no denying rapid need for prioritisation.

Accelerated digital transformation and identity management will continue to play out well into 2021, with inevitably more complexities thrown into the mix. And while we can’t predict the future, we can be better prepared. Here’s five digital identity predictions to help guide the year ahead: 

- 2021 will be the year of identity data stewardship:
Consumers will increasingly demand the organisations they deal with not only protect their data, but also tailor experiences and give them control over information sharing.

At the same time, many organisations will continue to realise the million-dollar savings that can be achieved through prevention of data breaches. Identity and access management will play a critical role in helping leaders drive a positive change in their accountability to protect and safely use their consumers’ data as they focus on becoming good data stewards. 

- Zero Trust adoption will grow:
Zero Trust shifted from a buzzword to a strategy in 2020. This trend will accelerate in 2021, with CISOs creating their own Zero Trust strategies instead of adopting them from vendors.

Such strategies will be the foundation of enterprise security, because building a security model that streamlines the workflow of users by implementing adaptive authentication, authorisation and identity verification services will let organisations achieve fundamental advancements in their security posture.

The security industry’s focus on Zero Trust will come in part because of a number of high-profile breaches due to unsecured integrations to business critical SaaS applications. As attackers are pushed to more sophisticated attacks to defeat MFA, enhanced authentication techniques will be critical against that threat.

- Efforts will continue to secure remote workers:
During the COVID-19 disruptions, many organisations reported major productivity issues when thousands of employees who normally came into the office to work all logged in remotely via corporate VPNs. In many cases, the infrastructure simply couldn’t cope.

In addition, fraudsters and cybercriminals used the pandemic as a trigger for new phishing and hacking attacks. The ability to react in days, not weeks or months, to fix these issues is something that will have to be used as a template for future emergency events.

To overcome these challenges, there will be more focus on identity management and Zero Trust. Reliance on VPNs to support remote working will be a thing of the past.

- The rise of the ‘frictionless digital customer experience’:
As well as working from home, large numbers of people are now shopping from there as well. For this reason, identity is going to be a big consumer focus in 2021.

The days of consumers being bombarded with username and password requests and identity challenges that result in high basket abandonment will end. These techniques will be replaced by a more frictionless experiences that will drive loyalty and a larger share of wallet.

To maximise security while minimising friction, password-less authentication will become the norm. Instead, users will rely on techniques such as push notifications, fingerprints, or hard tokens.

- AI and Machine Learning will become pervasive:
It is quite likely that AI could become the new attack mechanism for cybercrime this year. Targeted attacks could become more sophisticated and less obvious using AI, causing static defences like security gateways to be helpless.

It will be AI versus AI, as organisations turn to their own unsupervised, continually learning cyber defences to defend their systems and services.

While some of these predictions are positive, others show how much work remains to be done when it comes to effective identity management. Understanding customer challenges and adopting technologies that can deliver a convenient and secure experience should be a top priority for organisations throughout 2021.

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