Data Governance

How identity technology is addressing the trust-security nexus for business

By Gus Tomlinson, General Manager, Identity Fraud Propositions, Europe at GBG

Over a billion people globally have no recognised form of identity. And as the world becomes increasingly interconnected, new technologies, complex political environments, and general uncertainty are creating new challenges for businesses across sectors.

Among these challenges is the chance – and responsibility – for businesses to set a new standard of trust and security with consumers.

As consumers, our identities are now recorded, stored, and checked through the increasingly international and disparate web of data. Our phone numbers and email addresses are just as much a part of who we are as faces and fingerprints, and as we move away from the old-world approach of centralised, paper-based documentation, our identities and the power they hold will evolve.

Technology has powered businesses across borders – but what we’re now seeing is a shift in application. Identity technology will not only empower individuals, but also enable businesses to reach customers in a safe and secure way, continuing to build trust and encourage what we call ‘the data value exchange’.

Leveraging biometrics for UX

As smartphones and wearables make technology more personal and omnipresent than ever, advances in biometrics move us closer to the ability to verify almost anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Businesses with an edge in the digital economy – whether for UX, trust, or overall operations – are those investing in new tools to power identity solutions: global datasets, APIs, machine learning, or smartphones equipped with microphones, cameras, and fingerprint scanners. In doing so, companies are reinventing the consumer journey.

Verifying purchases 

It’s clear that ‘digital transformation’ has revolutionised many parts of business, but with those successes has spread the threat of fraud, and businesses need to be on guard to protect themselves and their customers.

The holidays can be a particularly worrying time. For example, for each UK retailer hit by fraudsters during the last holiday season, an average of 1,278 customers were affected. Data orchestration is now for risk managers, strategists and technologists working with APIs, artificial intelligence (AI), and other technologies in order to unify consumer data into one place.

Ultimately what this means is that data teams are able to operate more consistently, minimising errors and delivering what consumers want – a good experience without hassle.Organising your data in a way that efficiently and effortlessly arranges information into a central location is key to preventing fraudulent activity. 

When siloed data is replaced by connected datasets, systems are pre-emptively verifying identity and cross-checking whether individuals or entities have committed fraud previously, givingfurther context to customers vs. fraudsters.

Improving the trust-security nexus 

Consumers have become overwhelmed by how digital identity is evolving, how they can navigate it while protecting their data, and what companies are doing with this information.

Navigating the value exchange that powers today’s industries will be critical for businesses looking to remain competitive.

Providing a ‘win-win’ situation ultimately comes down to the idea of frictionless trust: delivering a clean UX while protecting personal data privacy and businesses from fraud. The problem sits with the lag in understanding around the digital value exchange and how it impacts – and compounds – widespread trust issues among consumers and businesses. Organisations have to find the balance between delivering a secure and frictionless experience, but there’s hope.

Customers have always been clear about their expectations: make the experience as painless as possible without compromising security. The internet is raising new questions around safe and secure online business.

Twenty years ago, you wouldn’t buy from merchants you didn’t trust, the internet was built without identity in mind. Yet, as global business becomes increasingly borderless and mobile-first, being able to identify and reach every customer becomes critical to the global economy.

With new identity technologies and continued innovation in UX, we’re getting better and better at establishing ‘frictionless trust’ for both consumers and businesses, ultimately laying the groundwork for a strong digital value exchange. This trust is crucial as businesses look to open up access to services beyond borders.

About the author

Gus Tomlinson is an expert in identity technology with experience in global data, regulations and market trends, with a She has a deep understanding not only of GBG’s product portfolio, but also the global markets that its customers operate in across the globe.

GBG products use data to fuel safe and secure decisions for consumers online. She expects to see a shift in focus in the types of data and ways in which we consume it to change.

About GBG

GBG offers a series of solutions that help organisations quickly validate and verify the identity and location of their customers, and detect and prevent fraud. Through our fundamental belief that the digital economy relies on everyone having access to data they can trust, GBG enables companies and governments to fight fraud and cybercrime, to improve the customer experience and help to protect the more vulnerable people in our society.

We work with over 19,000 clients in 72 countries including some of the best-known businesses around the world, ranging from US e-commerce giants to Asia’s biggest banks and European household brands.

To find out more about how we help our clients establish trust with their customers, visit, or follow us on Twitter @gbgplc or LinkedIn.