Identity Management vs. Decentralized Identity

What exactly does identity management mean? Broadly, it is defined as tools that help companies manage the access rights of all of their employees. You’re probably familiar with the most common IAM solutions:

Single sign-on:

This is a very common form of IAM in which users use a single username and password for authentication. As we all know, these can be difficult to remember and incredibly easy for hackers to steal.

Two-Factor Authentication:

Because single sign-on solutions are insecure, many companies have implemented two-factor authentication, or 2FA. With a 2FA solution, passwords are the first level of authentication. The second level of authentication varies, but it is usually something like an SMS code, security key, or biometrics.

Multi-factor Authentication:

Multi-factor authentication attempts to offer another level of protection beyond passwords by utilizing additional authentication factors like one-time codes that are sent to an application on your mobile device or physical keys.

What’s the fundamental problem with all of these IAM solutions?

2FA and MFA solutions are simply bandaid solutions that are an attempt to make passwords more secure. They do not solve the fundamental issue of indisputable verification that allows users to own their own identities because they are not decentralized.

The truth is, both of these solutions add an undesirable level of friction to the user experience and every layer of “protection” is still vulnerable to hackers. For example, security keys can be lost or stolen, faces can be spoofed, and fingerprints can be copied.

In fact, in recent attacks such as the SolarWinds attack, hackers have found ways to avoid using MFA and 2FA, like stealing an akey on Duo, which is used to provide account authentication.

How Is Decentralized Identity Different?

By definition, decentralized identity replaces identifiers, like usernames, with IDs that are independent and self-owned. Decentralized data is stored using blockchain and distributed ledger technology to ensure that the person you are interacting with is authentically who they say they are. In this way, decentralized identities give each user ownership over their own data.

Decentralized Identity: The Future is Already Here

The concept of decentralized identities isn’t a futuristic concept, it already exists today. 1Kosmos BlockID has partnered with FocalPoint Data Risk to bring a complete solution to market for companies who would like to embrace the decentralized identity model, leveraging the power of a private, encrypted blockchain to enable digital identity proofing with advanced biometrics.

Focal Point’s strength in IAM modernization, CIAM, and IAM program design combined with 1Kosmos’ ability to quickly and securely verify decentralized identities, eliminate usernames and passwords, and grant secure and compliant access to users will allow the two companies to bring transformative solutions to market.

In the recent months, there has been a sharp rise in interest in decentralized identity among the financial services, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, higher education, and government sectors industries, the main sectors for which Focal Point is an IAM service provider. As decentralized identities play an increasingly important role in IAM systems in these industries and beyond, 1Kosmos is excited to help them move towards the identity of the future: decentralized identity.