Understanding Identity In This Digital Age
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Understanding Identity In This Digital Age

by Seamfix

By Ivharue Ofe.

 

First the big question – What is Identity?

In simple terms, identity is ‘being who or what a person or thing is’ — an attribute or sets of attributes a person ascribes to themselves or a thing. Global trend will permit me to say, identity can also be seen as the fact of being who or what a person wants to be seen as.

For example, any device with a bitten apple logo can be identified as a product of Apple inc. A man is identified as a man until he puts on a marine corps uniform and he is identified as a male marine officer, the logo on his uniform further identifies his country, the shoulder ranks goes even further to identify his rank in office. A Flag serves as an identity for a country … and so on.

In this digital age, the idea of identity has vastly transitioned into Digital Identity — an equivalent of the real identity designed for the modern web, to gain access or authorization into systems. From signing up to Gmail to setting up a social media account, to making payments on your Netflix account, your digital identity can vouch for your claim to access into any digital space. Just like real identity, digital identity proves an entity’s history, possession, and authority.

It is one thing to have an identity in all its forms, and it is another for the entity to prove ownership of that identity. And that is why ….

We can’t talk identity without talking Proof of Identity.

Proof of identity as the clause goes is any document that can prove a person’s identity. It is important that as individuals/entities, wherever and whenever, we have on us proof of identification — either a photo ID, birth certificate, or our digital identity in our subconscious digital wallet.

The general rule of thumb here, however, is that government-approved proofs of identity carry more weight than their counterparts. Although, in a lot of developing countries, a large number of her citizens do not have a single government-approved proof of identity for all the wrong reasons, which limits or even completely blocks them from receiving certain basic services, such as health care, and also struggle with gaining economic opportunities and financial inclusion.

This brings us to another big question….

silhouette of people

Why do we need our identity?

It should be noted that our identity is way more important to other entities than it is to us (the owners) as we already know who and what we are. The identity construct is necessary for other entities to see and place us accordingly.

So why do we need our identity, digital or otherwise?

One reason, the most obvious of all, is for Identification. Identifying a person by their name, country, state, and so on. Identifying a product by its logo. Basically, recognizing a person or thing as who and what they present as.

Another reason is for Authentication. This is to prove that the identity attributed to the entity or thing is owned by them. This usually would need a physical presence like matching a photo ID with the face of the person presenting it, or, best practice, authenticating a digital ID against an existing database.

And finally Authorization. This is to gain access to any service, be it a location, health services, travel services, web, systems, and also to determine the level of access we get. Like gaining access into a building using an RFID code tied to our digital identity, viewing our result after an exam using a unique number tied to our identity, or Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) for enterprise systems.

Moreover, with the emergence of digital identity came several identity issues. The need to solve these rampant but uniquely emerging identity-related issues birthed the concept of identity security only achieved through Identity Management.

So let’s talk Identity Management …

Basically, this is the authentication and authorization of an entity to gain access to certain services and systems (digital id) using an established identity.

Identity management in ancient times was as easy as someone having to vouch for another with word of mouth. This method served as the approved means of identification and authentication, while authorization was just based on status. Now with the rise in the use of digital technologies and the interconnectivity that the Internet of Things promises, the identity environment is constantly becoming complex, which means identity management will have to keep up with the changes.

Some of such changes include Blockchain Technology, Digital Wallets, a shift towards Decentralised Identities, Self-Sovereign Identities and Distributed Identity -  all aimed at strengthening identity management and mitigating against the increasing issues with identity and access control. Now, identification requires proof, authorization requires passwords and other predefined Access Control List (ACL), and authentication requires verifying against a stored database.

Since Identity in all its forms is a key, identity management is necessary not just to protect the key but also where the key can be used and how. Issues of privacy and identity theft have driven companies all over the world to consider the use of identity management solutions to address these concerns.

Identity management as a whole sits well on a foundation of Data Management. This is the process of creating and managing a database for identities. Digital identity management, especially, will not be possible without first a capture process that collects and collates these identities in a database to be queried for authorization and to be matched side by side for authentication. So, it is safe to say that data capture is the chief cornerstone of identity management.

On the other hand, is Identity Validation. Normally, except a company is directly connected with Identity and Access Management (IAM), identity validation should not come up. However, with the increasing risk of identity fraud and data breaches, identity validation has become a general topic and should never stop being one. In this world where digital identities serve as access to almost everything - a fraud with few pieces of critical information can wreak devastating havoc. Hence validation as a necessary factor in identity management.

Seamfix as a holistic identity management company…

Identity management, data management, and validation are trends that are sure to stay as long as people still care about security - either in terms of identity or data - and that is why as a forward-thinking technology company, we chose holistic identity management as our core focus.

Seamfix takes identity management to the max by building platforms that enable businesses in every industry to capture digital identities of their customers, and validate these identities against all national databases (we are connected to) all in one-suite.

Right now, Seamfix enables the verification of unique identifiers such as Bank Verification Numbers and National Identity Numbers (for Nigerians only) to ensure that organizations collect only clean data to be gleaned for insights.

Read more about Seamfix identity management solutions HERE

 

Are you, or your organization passionate about data? collecting it? collating it? analyzing it? then you are the kind of people we write for. Follow our publication, and you would gain knowledge on everything data, from the process of easy capture to the end goal of making data-driven decisions. Find out about our company SEAMFIX and how we solve big organizational issues with third-generation solutions HERE.

How Pension Fund Administrators Can Use BioRegistra for KYC Biometric Capture

by Seamfix

There’s been a buzz around the Transfer Window policy by the National Pension Commission for pension fund administrators. Although there’s been a delay in the arrival of the transfer window, where pension contributors can transfer ownership of their pension funds from one pension administrator to the other, there’s a serious need for the PFAs to be prepared for when the time finally comes.

As part of the requirements, PFAs are required to carry out biometric capture of customer information. This means that every PFA needs a solution that can help facilitate this KYC operation.

Enter BioRegistra.

Digitizing The Client Familiarity Index

BioRegistra eases the process of Client Familiarity Index registration and better customer experience by allowing your customers update their details online.

See a sample Client Familiarity Index created using a BioRegistra form below.

 

Fields that can be created are similar to the ones that exist on the physical paper forms provided PenCom, including important client information like RSA PINs, the name of the PFA managing the client’s fund, the employee name, as well as designated individual employee codes.

 

Capture Contributor Details From Anywhere

There would be certainly no issues when it comes to capturing the information of your customers from anywhere in the country, whether as retired individuals or people still in service. Agents can be deployed to certain locations where the capture will be done.

 

 

What’s more? The platform lets you know the exact source of your data via a geolocation service embedded within. This means that from the head office of a Pension Fund Administrator, Admins/stakeholders can be in the full know of what’s going on in the capture field.

 

Instant CRM Synchronization

The details of the pension contributor captured synchronize immediately to the CRM that shows a view of what have been captured. Except in cases of internet malfunctions, this synchronization is always instant and allows agents to quickly attend to contributors during the capture process.

 

 

And Many More…

BioRegistra is robust and flexible, allowing PFAs to add as many fields and requirements to their KYC forms as much as possible. Additional details include evidence of the contributor’s legal existence, address of trustees, next of kin information, and so on.

So, you see, we’ve got you covered in preparation for when the Transfer Window arrives.

Did we strike a chord on something your organization needs regarding KYC biometric capture? Visit bioregistra.com for more information.

Evolving an Efficient Data Capture System in Government Organizations

by Seamfix

One of the things usually unaccounted for in government, and often the source of outrage by the masses, is a number of resources spent (wasted) in public administration. Sometimes it appears there is a certain pleasure derivable from duplicating offices and processes to the detriment of the masses. The line between the portfolio of one government officer/office and another is sometimes not clearly defined in Nigeria, which results in repetition of processes and activities.

Take for instance the idea of processing through immigration and customs and other government offices before traveling outside the country or entering it. The documentation usually required by each of these organizations is the same and as such, there can be a central database that is accessible to such concerned organizations. Such database would also be accessible in the long-term so that a person does not have to start processing or showing all the documentation over and over again each time he or she wants to travel.

Maintaining a database like this makes it easier for government organizations to store and access information in a central location, accessible to all concerned, and this saves time that can be used more productively. It also saves up a cost for the government and citizens.

In Nigeria, for example, some things are done so repeatedly they begin to wear people down. One is forced to ask if there is some sort of pleasure we derive from stress? Go to schools and see how repetitive the registration process can be. Go to government offices and see how records are filed and lost. But we cannot remain like this, not in our world where automation has made life much easier.

Some of these problems can easily be solved by BioRegistra which has features that enable easy and flexible data capture anytime and anywhere for the convenience of both the government agencies and the people. Data captured on BioRegistra is stored in the cloud and can be accessed anytime and from anywhere, making it a viable data capture solution to harmonize the repetitive activities of some agencies of the government. Once information about a particular individual is stored and shared with relevant organizations, it can be easily accessed by any of them from anywhere.

 

Life is that easy. There is no need to make it more complicated and more stressful than it should be.

On Digitization and the World of Endless Possibilities

by Seamfix

Life experiences prove time and again that it’s really not about what we do but how we do what we do. How do you go about capturing students’ information? How do you collate information about your staff and clients? How do you process academic results and deliver them promptly to students? How do you recharge airtime on your phone?

In the end, the how is what separates the boys from the men. You can only do things how best you know to do them, and if you do not closely follow advances in technology, you will not know how best to innovate around your business processes. You will be stuck doing things the hard way. Again, the how is the key!

When we first started thinking around BioRegistra at Seamfix, we were concerned about the fact that organizations spend a lot of time, energy and resources trying to capture different kinds of information. Data capture was slowing organizations down.

But these things can be done in the blink of an eye. In fact, it is easier and faster to preserve, access and share data anytime and anywhere once we digitize the process.

Why will a student who wants to obtain his transcript travel all the way to his university to get it? Why can’t he stay wherever he is and just click some commands and enter some information and have his transcript delivered to him straight away?

Why do organizations still use paper files or feed into systems manually when they can digitize the entire process?

Why do estate surveyors and valuers still use paper to capture the details of their clients when all they need is a mobile application that enables them to capture such information with ease and access the data whenever and wherever they need it?

This is the thinking behind Seamfix’s move to digitize business processes. We want to make life easy for people. We want to make processes faster. Above all, we want to evolve the most efficient way of preserving and accessing information.

With BioRegistra, all kinds of data (biometric, security, accounting, etc.) can be captured and accessed from anywhere.

With iTranscript, alumni members of universities can request for their transcripts and have it delivered to them anywhere in the world.

In UNN, for instance, we have been able to technically unlock the value of data hidden in their over 40 years academic record that we have digitized, and we are now able to track a lot of information; courses students pass the most, courses they fail the most, success trends for various courses especially difficult ones, which lecturer is supposedly more productive based on success trends, etc and all these are simply because the transcript data has been digitized.

 

When Nicholas Evans, author of Mastering Digital Business, said that “by digitizing a traditionally analog business model or process, we’re effectively turning it into bits and atoms and enabling an infinite variety of possibilities,” he was right. It is really about possibilities.

What possibilities can we see?

What more can we do?

How can we improve our business processes?

Where can we save more and more time and resources?

These are burning questions that every entrepreneur and business executive have to carefully think about and answer before any meaningful progress can occur in their organizations.

 

Prevention is always better than cure

by Seamfix

Have you ever walked into a tailor’s shop and you were confronted with the sorry sight of the tailor turning the shop upside down in search of measurements for making a client’s outfit? It can be a pitiable sight, ehn? You would see the frustration on his face, the worry, and stress of trying to find that small piece of paper on which he jotted down the measurements, the sweat. It can be really agonizing searching for information you need very badly, even worse when that information can make you lose a client.

But that is only one out of so many cases. What about schools that misplace students’ information? I remember a story once told of a certain university in Southeastern Nigeria where students were made to re-register during their third year because the school could not find the students’ records anymore. It was unbelievable, totally unbelievable in this day and age.

By now, it must be clear that the challenge of efficient data management is not just peculiar to large organizations. Small organizations and individuals often spend a lot of time and resources trying to capture and manage data of people they work with. What is worse is that some people do not even realize they need a robust identity management system until something terrible happens.

But we do not have to wait for bad things to happen before we swing into action. We can plan for them and even mitigate them before they occur. After all, prevention, they say, is better than cure.

From the tailor who misplaces measurements to school management authorities that lose students’ information, to even parents who do not take due diligence to keep appropriate files for their nannies, house-helps, drivers and next-of-kins, everyone essentially, there is need to efficiently manage all kinds of data.

That is why Seamfix has been working very hard to give everyone a breath of fresh air. With a product such as BioRegistra, organizations can capture and access data whenever and however they want. One striking thing about this platform is that it is flexible and customizable such that organizations can adapt the platform to suit their peculiar needs.

In our world of information overload and population explosion, there has never been more need for an efficient identity management system such as BioRegistra. There should be no more excuses for data loss or misplacement. No more excuses of missing files. No more excuses of errors and loopholes caused by negligence on the part of data handlers. We can do something before the situation becomes malignant. We do not have to wait for a disaster to happen before taking safety measures because prevention will always be better than cure.

 

By Chimezie Emewulu

(MD, Seamfix)