2021 is not a year many of us will forget in a hurry. Despite a year of many hurdles and setbacks globally, some silver linings and positive stories have emerged. At least, 2021 has been a year to celebrate many technologies – including the start of the Covid vaccination rollout, Francis Bourgeois’ viral train-based education via TikTok, the various enhancements in remote working setups, and of course the identity industry enabling location-independent trusted connections in this new digital-first world.
So as we approach the close of 2021, let’s look back at a few of the industry’s top trends and initiatives we’ve seen kicking off this year.
Booming identity industry – public and private sector
Digital identity has been a critical industry over the past couple of years. As digital-first interactions have taken centre stage, identity technologies have seen a huge growth in adoption to enable trusted online interactions in the face of the large increase in criminal cyber activity.
The growth has translated to both significant investment and consolidation in the identity industry. From a US perspective, Okta’s acquisition of Auth0 in March represents one of the largest cybersecurity acquisitions of all-time. In September, ForgeRock went public on the New York Stock Exchange. October saw One Identity acquire OneLogin, and most recently, Washington-based SSI software vendor Evernym has been acquired by Avast. Notable investment examples included Transmit Security and Stytch securing significant funding to build out their Passwordless authentication solutions.
From a European IAM vendor perspective, we’ve witnessed first-hand the growth and investment into identity solutions. In 2021, we have successfully expanded into new territories across Europe and developed our Identity Platform to meet the rise in demand for new identity use cases – such as launching a free trial of our IDaaS software and enabling further verified identity providers.
Further, governments and the public sector around the world are also investing in identity as they see it as a key enabler to economic growth. Since Ubisecure is Europe-based, we’ve been closely following the evolution of eIDAS since its inception. eIDAS laid the groundwork for the European Commission’s latest plans, laid out in 2021, to develop a pan-European digital identity. Read more about the plans in our blog: Could a pan-European digital identity be a reality by 2022?
Launching the Global Assured Identity Network (GAIN)
One identity development that caught attention from the identity industry worldwide was GAIN – launched in September at EIC. The initiative drew on expertise from over 150 individual digital identity and banking contributors, and aims to create a global network for leveraging KYC-vetted identity data. Listen to our podcast episode on GAIN with the project’s Editor, Elizabeth Garber.
The next few years will be key for the project, as we see how the legal and policy backing comes together with the project’s aims, how GAIN will be interoperable with other identity frameworks, and how the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) will be involved.
Ramping up with Zero Trust
While Zero Trust is not a new concept, with the dramatic increase in cyber crime since the pandemic hit its popularity has ramped up again in order to enhance secure remote access to services. Given that remote working has become part of the “new normal” for many organisations, Zero Trust enables secure access beyond the “walled garden” of the office environment.
See resources on Identity and Zero Trust:
- Blog – The answer to secure remote working: secure perimeter and VPN, or zero trust?
- Case study – DNA Telecom: Single Sign-On and Identity Relationship Management for seamless Zero Trust security
- Blog – Identity Relationship Management and the need for Zero Trust
Ever-greater focus on identity inclusion
One of the issues that’s come into sharp focus in the past couple of years is the issue of society’s digital divide. The pandemic brought more people into the digital realm, who may not have certain abilities or technical proficiency. Digital identity has the potential to either help solve, or exacerbate, this issue, depending on how solutions handle access for all – not just the most visible online users.
The identity industry is waking up to this reality. While there’s no overnight fix, it’s become a topic on the agenda at almost every industry event – a good sign that people are paying attention and want to discuss this crucial topic. For example, our VP Product recently took part in a wider “cyber” event around this very topic; read his roundup – Cyber for the vulnerable: Are we doing enough?
Ubisecure also sponsors Women in Identity – a not-for-profit organisation that has been instrumental in these conversations and is making practical steps towards an identity industry that is “built for all, by all”.
There is also growing awareness of how organisation identity – particularly the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) – can enable financial inclusion. Key resources on how include the GLEIF’s financial inclusion blog series, and this podcast episode with Amit Sharma of FinClusive.
“Legal entity digital identities are equally as important as the individual identities because they form the gateway to be able to access essential and critical financial services.” – Amit Sharma, FinClusive
Looking forward to 2022
While it’s not entirely clear what 2022 may hold, and we will avoid making you suffer through yet another ‘2022 cybersecurity predictions list’, one thing’s for certain – digital identity will remain hugely important as we navigate a digital-first world.