Application Platform Infrastructure is Critical to Digital Identity Success


Siled legacy infrastructure cannot support digital identity

Fortunately, modern digital IDs can include information about a person’s name, date and place of birth, criminal record, credit rating, social media posts, and more. Digital IDs create a complete picture of an individual and give agencies the information they need to answer the critical question: is this person who they say they are?

But another question also needs to be answered: do agencies have the infrastructure to support the collection, analysis and sharing of this information?

In many cases, the answer is unfortunately no.

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Indeed, many IT systems of national and local organizations were never designed to process or share digital IDs. These systems tend to be siled, comprising legacy technologies that don’t integrate or work well with each other. As such, information shared through a state’s revenue department is only seen by members of that department, and not by, for example, representatives of the Board of Elections or the Department of Health.

If states and local municipalities want to come together and protect themselves against fraud, malicious insiders or other threats, they must be able to do more than just collect the wealth of information stored in a digital ID – they must be able to analyze, record and share this information with each other across agency boundaries.

Of course, extending legacy systems to support real-time information sharing is a big modernization effort that most agencies probably don’t have the time, resources, or budgets to tackle head-on. one shot. But there is a smarter, more efficient and more cost-effective way to do it.

An incremental approach can benefit IT modernization

Instead of trying to modernize their systems all at once, agencies should consider taking a phased approach that starts with using the right underlying application platform infrastructure. This infrastructure should be cloud-based and open so that all siled systems can easily connect to each other. Using an open source abstraction layer can effectively connect old hardware with modern software, regardless of system, allowing agencies to access and exchange information.

Next, agencies should use open application programming interfaces to share information easily and securely. Open APIs work with the infrastructure and allow agency systems to communicate and share data with each other. They eliminate the need for developers to continually create new ways to connect disparate systems every time a bit of information is shared.

These are simple, basic solutions that can yield great results. By taking this approach, agencies can easily get started with a common fabric that connects organizations and portals and enables easy access and sharing of digital credentials. They can immediately benefit from their use of digital IDs by sharing and gaining better knowledge of their candidates.

Once this basic yet powerful framework is established, agencies can continue to grow and modernize as needed. But they will already have a solid platform to maximize the potential of digital IDs.

Shared Identity Scores Can Determine High Risks

This potential is considerable and can be a game-changer.

For example, modern digital IDs can enhance IAM tools through the development of custom applications based on the platform incorporating risk scoring similar to that found in national security background checks. By integrating information and allowing software algorithms to sort through massive amounts of data, states can get a much more reliable picture of a person.

This enhanced unique digital ID can be used to create identity scores for potential employees or people seeking social services. Identity scores are used to determine if a person is who they say they are. When designed and implemented well, they are dynamic and similar to credit scores, with lower numbers indicating higher risk factors.

For example, if a person applying for child protection or Medicaid benefits has a very low Identity Confidence Score, this may indicate a greater potential for the applicant to use a false identity. With this information in hand, automation may be able to make a decision with confidence, saving human intervention time. However, if the identity confidence score is too low, then a caseworker can step in to investigate further to make a more informed decision on whether or not to provide benefits to the applicant.

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If the agency has the appropriate infrastructure in place, that person’s identity score can be shared with other agencies. This knowledge can come in handy, especially if the person in question is trying to access other benefits. Not only does this save other agencies considerable time that would otherwise be spent vetting the candidate, but it also effectively extends protection across the entire agency network, promoting cross-agency collaboration.

Digital IDs are very powerful tools for improving security and fraud prevention, but their positive impact is blunted without the proper infrastructure and connections to support them. Without connectivity, digital IDs themselves become siloed. This will not work in an environment where single sign-on has become a default option.

Instead, agencies must build shared and open frameworks that allow information collected and analyzed in one place to flow in another. This is the way to protect all agencies and keep bad actors out of every state and local organization.


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