1 Executive Summary
Decentralized identity is a sub-category of traditional Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions that has emerged in response to the development of blockchain technologies and to public demand for more control over personally identifiable information (PII) data.
Decentralized identity solutions relieve some specific pain points of traditional identity management systems. When customers make an account with an enterprise, that enterprise has the responsibility to store and manage those user accounts. This yields two difficulties: first, enterprises are saddled with a honeypot of data – a vulnerability that must be protected – and users seek out ways to simplify their many accounts by reusing passwords. Both outcomes create security weaknesses in managing digital identity. The increase of uniquely identified IoT devices exacerbates problems of siloed identity data. In addition to these security concerns, public opinion is shifting to support user-centric and self-sovereign identity concepts that return ownership of identity data to the individual.
Decentralized identity solutions, particularly those built on blockchain technology, are developing into a viable segment in IAM to address these concerns. Decentralized identity solutions serve to create a different infrastructure for managing digital identity that returns control of PII data to the individual owner, streamline the user experience, address questions of digital document integrity, and provide resiliency against malicious attacks. Early adopters consider decentralized identity solutions as a way to redesign organizational IAM to suit current data privacy expectations and support the influx of uniquely identified IoT devices.