Identity Proofing & Authentication - Best Practices for 2021 featured image

Identity Proofing & Authentication – Best Practices for 2021

2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic drove significant changes across industries. The global health crisis shifted practices among various enterprises, creating a lasting effect that will stay even after the pandemic ends. Many enterprises scrambled to meet work from home mandates as well as the increased demand for remote service offers. From mobile banking to eCommerce to remote healthcare, electronic services have increased multifold within the past year.

This unprecedented migration to the digital world has brought new challenges to various industries, and establishments must adapt quickly to meet them.


Recap of Persistent and New Industry Challenges

The boom of digital services is changing consumer preferences, raising the demand for greater convenience and better user experiences. With limited access to stores, bank branches, and medical offices, the retail, financial services, and healthcare industries are all challenged to manage the transformation from in-person services to meeting the demand for enhanced online fulfillment.

These industries are also faced with another proliferating challenge – improving their cybersecurity measures. Data breaches, fraud, account takeover, and many other crimes have spiked to overwhelming figures in the age of COVID-19.

In the first quarter of the year, scams grew by 400%, making the pandemic not only a health threat but also a significant security risk. Data breaches were among the most reported crimes in multiple sectors, with the highest cost coming from the healthcare industry at an average $7.13 million per breach event.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also fell victim to pandemic-related crimes, citing that inadequate identity proofing was the primary cause of their system breaches that resulted in the theft of COVID-19 stimulus checks.


Improve Security in the New Year with Better Identity Proofing and Strong Authentication Practices

This exponential increase in cybersecurity attacks makes identity verification and identity document authentication more imperative than ever. Enterprises digitizing their operations must review these cybersecurity trends and adapt accordingly by implementing the necessary practices to stop the use of fraudulent identities during new user onboarding and curtail malicious account takeover attempts of their valuable customer accounts.

There are many emerging trends in cybersecurity that can help strengthen digital barriers against fraudulent threats. Among the best practices to mitigate identity fraud are as follows:

  • Leverage Mobile Biometric Identity Verification Technology

With the broad adoption of mobile phones, enterprises can deploy identity verification technology that is easily managed using mobile devices. Modern identity proofing solutions easily support remote onboarding, do not need additional hardware to operate, and do not require complicated software installation.

Many Identity as a Service (IDaaS) providers offer online and mobile solutions that maximize mobile device features to perform the identity verification process.

For example, a user can easily take a selfie with their camera-enabled smartphone and undergo a liveness confirmation test to complete a facial recognition scan for biometric identity matching. Using the same device, they can quickly scan their government-issued credential and send it for verification.

Since the process is done digitally, consumers can perform the identification task in just a few moments, thereby making the procedure convenient and simple. Enterprises can receive the results electronically allowing for more secure customer conversion decisions that quickly eliminate bad guys and board good customers with ease.

  • Reduce Reliance on Manual Processes and Automate Identity Document Validation and

Artificial Intelligence (AI) topped the Security Industry Association’s (SIA) prediction for the 2021 Security Megatrends. SIA’s forecast highlights AI’s role in enhancing the efficacy and efficiency of automated security solutions while addressing users’ demands.

Most companies perform manual checks when validating identity documents. Nonetheless, these human-facilitated verification processes are tedious and prone to inaccuracies and errors. There is also the chance of theft, careless misplacement, or loss of paper documents during manual checking.

With electronic solutions that perform digital driver’s license authentication, the provided credential is matched by machine learning to known templates in trusted online data sources. By leveraging automated identity document authentication services, enterprises can increase the efficiency and accuracy of their identity verification processes.

  • Employ Passwordless Login

Many data breach cases have been attributed to compromised passwords. Users are often frustrated with managing multiple passwords and the specter of taking on knowledge-based-authentication to reset those passwords. Over the years, the call for password replacement has grown significantly, especially with the emergence of new authentication methods like multi-factor authentication (MFA) that have proven to be more effective than passwords.

Passwordless authentication relies on cryptographic keys stored on a user’s device during enrollment. The challenge, however, is in knowing whether a device belongs to the real account holder. It is therefore critical that Passwordless authentication solutions perform accurate identity proofing to establish a chain of trust between the account owners, their accounts, and their devices.

According to the World Economic Forum, most experts agree that going passwordless is the future of identity authentication. Apart from enhanced security, it also provides other benefits to enterprises, such as increased productivity in operations, reduced costs with fewer password resets, and better user experiences that drive higher loyalty and revenue.

  • Use Stronger Credentials for Multi-Factor Authentication

MFA provides a multi-layered barrier to deter criminal infiltration in online accounts. Agencies like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFEIC)  have endorsed the use of MFA as an ideal digital security measure. In recent studies, MFA was cited for having an almost perfect capacity of preventing unauthorized login.

Still, a robust combination of authentication factors must be used to leverage its protective capabilities. Inherence factors (facial biometrics) and possession factors (cryptographic keys, online security codes) are ideal credentials for MFA.

SMS-based authentication must be avoided as this method is susceptible to SIM swap scams. SMS authentication has also been downgraded by NIST as a weak and ineffective authentication protocol.



Practices and trends continuously shift across industries, and enterprises must respond quickly to address these challenges and gain a competitive advantage over other industry players. The COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted how organizations operate, and many of these changes are here to stay in the post-pandemic era.

Security and customer demand are among the top priorities of organizations, placing urgency on shoring up their identity verification and authentication practices to reduce security risks in their network.

Criminals are becoming more creative in devising tactics to circumvent vulnerabilities in a company’s cybersecurity. Even during a pandemic, they have continued to find ways to infiltrate systems and exploit services.

Enterprises must implement best practices for authenticating a user’s claimed identity and provided identity documents. They must maximize the potentials of digital technology for enhancing cybersecurity and replace outdated anti-fraud measures to protect their operations better while catering to customers’ needs.

Identity Verification™ by authID is an identity authentication solution that delivers trusted identity verification by harnessing mobile technology in facial recognition and automated identity document authentication. It offers robust credential validation of US driver’s licenses and more than 1500 government IDs with connections to reliable databases across regions. Verified™ by authID provides companies with a FIDO2 Strong authentication and Passwordless solution that helps firms increase identity assurance with quick, low-friction user experiences on trusted mobile devices.


Schedule a Demo with authID is a provider of an Identity Authentication platform that delivers a suite of secure, mobile, biometric identity solutions, available to any vertical, anywhere. Contact authID today at 1 (516) 778-5639 or click here to schedule a demo.