There has been a lot of attention paid to identity authentication in the payments world over the last several years. Five years ago, systematizing the use and sharing of identity beyond the proprietary structures of vendor products was a new idea and there was great energy in the marketplace. The Liberty Alliance attracted large financial associations as well as movers and shakers in the financial world. Inevitably, open source and open standards groups weighed in with innovative approaches.
Two factors have affected this space over the last couple of years. The FFIEC guidance for strong authentication in online banking spurred thought about structured approaches to security, including authentication. While most institutions took the road of layered security in lieu of external authentication tokens, most also engaged in serious and structured thinking about their identity strategies. Meanwhile, identity systems providers developed their products, merged and were acquired, and began to meld into the infrastructure.
With the year’s DIDW conference on the horizon, the question is whether this topic still holds any excitement for the financial market, or has it moved into the realm of incrementally maturing infrastructure. The case can be made that last year’s FFIEC implementations were ‘pushed’ due to regulatory deadlines, and there may be a second phase of development and implementation that will be more strategic. There is also the constant question of whether any external, 3rd party identification provider will find a business model that works.
I’ll be attending this year’s DIDW in September, and reporting on these and other questions which are sure to be discussed there.