Technology is the future of identity management

October 2014 Access Control & Identity Management

Mature technologies can help companies and government agencies by simplifying the process of identity management – and making it more effective.

In today’s large and fluid societies, in which people move frequently and business relationships are increasingly difficult to manage, both private and public sector organisations need ways to identify customers or citizens effectively. This is particularly true as fraud and identity theft reach epidemic proportions, placing institutions at even greater risk.

Nick Perkins, divisional director, identity management solutions, Bytes Systems Integration.
Nick Perkins, divisional director, identity management solutions, Bytes Systems Integration.

Technology is now able to provide the answers to identity verification that is both simpler and more effective, says Nick Perkins, divisional director at Bytes Systems Integration’s identity management division. “Modern identity management technologies are not only more secure, they can be integrated into business processes more readily via automation, thus bringing simplicity and effectiveness together – a winning combination for any organisation,” he says. “Companies and government agencies need to be preparing themselves to take advantage of these technologies as they emerge.”

Perkins says that a significant advance that needs to be integrated into corporate identity management strategies is the projected rollout of the new South African National ID smartcard by the Department of Home Affairs. The department will no doubt be aiming to fast track this rollout, so that private and public sectors can start to leverage this. Not only is the card itself leveraging enhanced security features, the embedded chip also contains the information printed on the face of the card but also additional data such as fingerprints, face image and signatures. This information could be accessed by institutions to perform multi-factor verification by comparing the person present, the information on the card surface and the information on the chip.

“Financial institutions, government agencies and cellular providers are just some of the organisations that would benefit from this level of verification, and they need to start working out how to integrate the new card into their business processes now,” he says.

Getting FICA/RICA down pat

Financial institutions and cellular operators both face increasing pressure from regulators to know who their customers are. The motivation is dual: to protect the financial system from fraud and money laundering, and to help prevent unregistered SIM cards being used in the commission of crimes.

“However, administering FICA and RICA requirements requires certain steps to be followed. There are a number of documents to collect and store, usually paper-based – something that also makes the process vulnerable, especially if documents are scanned and then e-mailed,” Perkins explains. “By digitising the process, companies can not only make it stronger, thus reducing the risk of fraud, but also simpler to administer.”

Perkins says that by combining technology such as scanners, signature pads and card readers, documents can quickly be scanned into the system for easy storage in one place. The use of fingerprint scanners, which are now extremely robust, as our banks have shown, introduces biometrics into the process, making identity verification virtually certain – it’s also possible to link to the Home Affairs National Identification System to verify the fingerprints against those stored against the identity number, as some of the banks already do.

“All of this means that the FICA/RICA information can be easily obtained, and conveniently and cost effectively stored in one place, with much higher levels of certainty,” Perkins says. “Choosing the right technology set for your particular circumstances is obviously part of the solution, but what holds everything together is creating a practical, robust business process that ensures you get the best return on your technology investment.”

For more information contact Lise West, Bytes Systems Integration, +27 (0)11 205 7000,

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