Identity Assurance

The process of Identity management is to standardise communication between organisations, so they can identify the company and member of staff who is attempting to contact them.

Identity Management is a matter of establishing the policies and procedures around the attributes of identity to ensure the integrity of the end-to-end process. It is the process surrounding the application and enrolment into any Identity Management system or database that is pivotal. The integrity of the staff and process around this are crucial. Weaken or compromise any part and the outcome or product is undermined and flawed.

This is NOT a matter of technology; technology can be used to bind an assured or established identity to make it transportable, predictable and more secure. Technology itself is no panacea in identity management.

What is identity management, why does it matter?

In simple terms Identity Management is the identification and management of those attributes that are used to assert that you are who you claim to be.

The process of Identity management is to standardise communication between organisations, so they can identify the company and member of staff who is attempting to contact them.

Identity management is key to operating in business today and in the future. The United States have already set various standards that organisations wanting to work with government must meet (HSPD12/FIPS 201). ECA has been helping various companies around the world meet these stringent policies so they may continue their work within the US. (

Can I show that I am who I claim to be in a simple manner, beyond reasonable doubt?

Identity is based on an established biographical record that can be linked to an individual.

The credential then links that established identity to the person. The best credentials are an ID Card and linked Biometric attributes.

These attributes (they may not be fact in the legal sense) are what "identifies" you as an individual and enables you to be differentiated from others in an acceptable, manageable manner. These attributes are broadly those we take for granted:

Biographical details, increasingly taken from a "Biographical Database" sometimes called a "footprint check" assembled from openly available public records, commercial or government sources of varying accuracy.

Increasingly these simple attributes are insufficient for some travel, commercial identification purposes, or where strong levels of government authentication are required. In these cases additional attributes are gathered and associated with your identity records (informal or formal) to form a stronger or more "assured" claim of associations that together can be used to demonstrate that you are you. These are:

How do I prove my identity?

First with documentation or evidence - beyond reasonable doubt?

An ID card can be a credential that can be used in low risk situations via visual verification. It can be an index to a record on a database and work with other credentials, some of which may be biometric, to link a person to that record. It can also contain information and be used for offline identity checks.

Why does being able to prove your Identity matter?

In an increasingly electronic age we no longer sign or authorise a commercial transaction by pen but instead use electronic tokens, the most important of which are the credit cards and the electronic office pass.

Last year in the UK and in many other places in the developed world more financial transactions were authorised using the internet electronically than on the traditional "High Street". In direct proportion is the rising level of credit card and other types of electronic fraud. All of these frauds and thefts are possible because the attributes of identity are weak and can be borrowed or stolen by others to assume unauthorised attributes of electronic identity ........YOURS - This is "Identity Theft".

Identity Theft

Unless these electronic tokens require another physical or biometric attributes, they can be stolen or misused by others for fraudulent financial gain.

In most instances of so called "Identity theft" your identity is not stolen as such but your electronic identity attributes are hijacked for another person’s use and gain. Recovering the situation where your credit card has been used, bank account rifled or transactions undertaken in your name can be distressing and take hundreds of hours of effort to put right.

Your electronic identity attributes and personal information are valuable and so ought to be protected appropriately. Criminals can discover your personal details and use them to open bank accounts and get credit cards, loans, state benefits and documents such as passports and driving licenses in your name. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people are affected by identity theft in the UK each year and this costs the UK economy an estimated £1.7 billion annually .

Integrity in awarding an "Assured Identity"

In certain other circumstances, but increasingly in commercial or government transactions your ability, or the ability of your employer to prove your identity, is of crucial importance in international and global access to electronic information. Some commercial or government organisations require other assurances that work from the basic building blocks of an "assured identity". You have an identity as a citizen of a country with the associated levels of entitlement that citizenship bestows. Within a corporation you are a citizen but also an employee with access to valuable corporate information and perhaps transacting with another government or corporate entity, globally.

In all of these circumstances the Integrity and assurance of the process surrounding Identity Management is absolutely vital.

ECA has extensive experience Identity Management at National and International level:


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