Identity management in West Africa

June 2019 News, Access Control & Identity Management, Conferences & Events

Speaking after Securex West Africa 2019, Wisam Yaghmour, regional sales manager for Africa at HID Global, says HID has achieved a significant installed base across various verticals on the continent, such as the education, commercial, finance, mining and government verticals.

As to how biometric and mobile access is advancing, Yaghmour says that adoption is growing, “but they are not a replacement for the traditional card at the moment. They are rather a complementary technology when customers are looking for a secure technology that is mobile, free from any form factor and allows the application(s) to extend beyond physical access.”

As can be expected, he notes that on-premise access control is still the most widely used model. “We encourage customers to migrate to the cloud, however, every customer is unique and has different requirements and use cases.”

The credential question

The question of identity management in Africa is seen by many as one that is both far behind the times in certain places and on par with the latest developments in others. This is especially true when it comes to logical access.

Yaghmour says that traditional static passwords simply aren’t enough to protect against today’s dynamic threats. “Hackers continue to target the credentials of insiders because they give the attacker access to facilities and the network, enabling them to ‘look like they belong’, so they can move around the organisation undetected.”

“The issuance and management of user credentials, on all the various devices from smartcards to mobile phones, for all the applications and resources they want to access, can be a manual, time consuming process. What is needed is a single process with a consolidated user credential management system that can issue and manage security credentials for all users, granting them access to what is appropriate, from buildings to cloud-based applications, across various form factors.”

HID offers various identity management solutions, including:

• HID Global IAM products protect more than 85 million user identities worldwide.

• HID IdenTrust protects more than six billion payment transactions per year.

• HID Global Credential Management System has issued more than fifty million credentials to date.

And while many people are of the opinion that African businesses and governments are lacking in the cybersecurity field, Yaghmour says HID Global makes it possible to verify millions of identities every day. “When our customers implement the newest-generation technologies for trusted identities, the threat of cyber-attacks becomes less daunting, while greater peace of mind builds confidence for governments and organisations that put value on trust.”

With cyber threats coming in many different forms, HID approaches digital identity security in the following ways:

• Digital authentication: Securing digital identities with two-factor authentication and validating transactions via mobile authentication.

• Digital certificates: Securing the connections of things with a higher level of trust.

• Threat detection: Securing digital environments by automatically correlating complex threats across physical and cyber domains.

• E-government solutions: Securing electronic government-to-citizen IDs.

• ID issuance: Secure cloud-based services to issue people’s IDs.

• Mobile access: Securing the use of smartphones to open doors and access systems via cloud services.

• Cyber-physical: Securing access to facilities with protective mechanisms that satisfy stringent government requirements, protecting places from cyber breaches.

Naturally all these products were not on show at the event, but Yaghmour notes the following were among the various products highlighted to customers and potential customers in West Africa:

• Mobile access: Mobile access is the use of a mobile device (a smartphone, tablet or wearable) to gain access to secured doors, gates, networks, services and more. HID’s solutions allow organisations to meet the growing demands of a mobile-first world.

• HID biometric: The iCLASS SE RB25F fingerprint reader is part of HID Global’s line of biometric solutions for physical access control. Designed for two-factor authentication using fingerprint and/or high frequency credentials, the iCLASS SE RB25F offers performance and Seos support for securing high value doors.

• AC series: The ACW2-XN is designed to serve the needs of small facilities wanting to improve security and reduce business risk. Its ability to scale from one to 16 doors is ideal for offices, retail stores, small hotels and bed and breakfast establishments, factories, and more.

For more information contact HID Global, +27 60 988 2282,,

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