Identity Management for A Secure State

Identity management has for long been an important work area for governments and state-run enterprises; it has implications on their security and controls. But it is only now, when issues like security threats, enabling governance, policy implementation, and information sharing are gaining currency have governments the world over started focussing on this subject. Identity management encompasses many aspects of high level security and authentication: identity and document validation, biometrics, credential clearance, provisioning, physical access, logical access, and national ID/border entries.

01 January, 2010 Opinion, eGovernance
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Most government agencies, particularly in India, have legacy systems and lack universal standards making widespread information-sharing difficult. This makes it difficult for agencies to interact seamlessly in order to access relevant information and file across jurisdictions. Similar problems exist within individual agencies, where accessing information sitting in different applications is often equally challenging.  In the past, rights, accounts and access to applications have been individually assigned without clear co-relation between user requirements, and the organisation’s resources.

But, all that is changing. The interaction between a government and citizens using electronic means has already reached some level of sophistication, unimaginable even only a decade ago. In some countries, citizens file their taxes with just one mouse-click.  Some e-governance services have enabled passport and birth certificate applications to be accessed from the comfort of one’s home but yet are not inclusive enough to reach the common man.

It is here that identity management can emerge as key service, enabling governments to:

  • Uniquely identify the recipient of the product /service;
  •  Tailor the interaction to the unique needs of the individual/business based on prior interactions;
  •  Capture information only once but enable its sharing across multiple agencies;
  •  Ensure eligibility of services;
  •  Bring multiple services together at the point of consumption; and
  •  Enhance security by securing authentication and quicker decision-making.

And it is in this area that HP Enterprise Services has carved out a niche for itself. Identity management is an area where clients–both governments and corporates–cannot afford disruption or uncertainty. Our business-driven, service-oriented identity management approach enables an adaptive enterprise with the agility needed to meet changing organisational and regulatory requirements. In fact, its solutions ensure that a person working at the edge of an enterprise, administration, or agency is known to each respective domain and is authorised to take part in an action.

Today, as India is embarking on a universal identification (UID) project, having in place a suitable, feasible and sustainable identity management system still remains a key issue. It is here that HP Enterprise Services’ successful interventions in implementing and operating identity management and credentialing programmes with several government agencies can show the way. It is an initiative that the Indian government is embarking on that aims to transform the way citizen in the remotest corners of the country, in the last mile, are served.

HP’s national identification systems, which have been implemented in several countries, solve the basic problems in building an electronic identity system, ensuring risk assessment of applicants through checks in police, immigration and other biometric databases.

Already, we have provided IT solutions and systems integration services in the identity management domain to governments the world over, including the United States, Poland, Italy, Bulgaria, Israel, and Hong Kong. (See Boxes)

Apart from dealing with generic concerns, our solutions also tackle issues related to software architecture-they are identity, not resource-centric; they are service-oriented and controlled through business-meaningful policies. They enable authorities to implement programmes, formulate strategies and access cross-jurisdictional knowledge about consolidating, connecting and managing multiple agency databases into a functioning, single, nationwide system.

HP’s identity management software can bring in dramatic cost savings even though organisations may be relying on multiple operating systems. Additionally, HP’s tools simplify the job of security management, enabling access when required, providing facilities as demanded, and delivering services when they are sought.

HP’s solutions, apart from dealing with generic concerns, also tackle issues related to software architecture-they are identity, not resource-centric; they are service-oriented and controlled through business-meaningful policies. 

The UID process involves three key steps: identity establishment on the basis of which the identification card or document is issued to an applicant; personalisation of the identity device issued, which involves photographs, biometrics, UID reference, device and card content; and lastly, services which the card-holder can access, but only after due verification. And the defining characteristics of HP’s national identification systems, which have been implemented in several countries, are that it solves the basic problems in building an electronic identity system, like person registration and biometric capture. It also ensures risk assessment of the applicants through checks in police, immigration and other biometric database. The system enables deep data analytics and allows enterprises to transform interactions with stakeholders; extraction of data from disparate and multiple sources of information, ensuring timely delivery of information to every decision-maker. More importantly, it enables scalability and portability of data.

HP’s solutions consist of multiple software products that are integrated with the following objectives: 

  • Leveraging a standard-based open architecture for delivering flexibility and integration
  • Capabilities, promoting reuse during future enhancements;
  • Reducing administrative burden, time and costs incurred by governments in servicing
  • Stakeholders;
  • Improving citizen satisfaction by reducing the number of visits to government offices;
  • Improving manageability of the electronic forms submission process and other presentation layer resources;
  • Enhancing end-user experiences for citizens and government employees;
  • Improving automation by way of business rules and workflows for government;
  • Processes;
  • Focusing on security by validation of users and allowing them to only access content matching their profile; and,
  • Providing personalised experience to a user, based on the user profile and past site usage.

The management solutions, such as HP OpenView Select Identity, streamline the management of users and their secure access to network and enterprise resources, helping customers reduce overall IT costs and improve compliance. Process automation, ease of use and fast deployment also help users and clients manage change effectively. Integration across the suite now includes common user interfaces (UIs), installations, terminology and integration of common audit and reporting infrastructure. HP’s business-driven, service-oriented identity management approach enables an adaptive government enterprise with the agility needed to meet changing organisational and regulatory requirements. 

In today’s flat world, as governments seek new ways in which they can drive innovation, serve citizens better and reduce overall costs, identity management can play a key role in shaping this. 

Suparno Banerjee, is VP and Leader, Global Government Industry Group, HP Enterprise Services

The MAGDA Story

MAGDA stands for Maximum Data Sharing Between Administrations. It is a story of the Belgian government, where citizens were constantly seeking information-most of it the same-from different state departments.  Approximately 55 per cent of Belgium’s 10 million citizens are Flemish and reside in Flanders, the nation’s northern Dutch-speaking region. Yet, regardless of where one lives, Belgium affords every child the birthright of government subsidisation to support and strengthen the family unit. Whether they are infants or young adults bound for college, children are entitled to benefits as long as the correct paperwork is filed on their behalf.

However, with 75 disparate agencies and departments in the Flemish administration, purchasing a bus pass or applying for child benefits often required submitting the same information to multiple agencies at multiple times. These manual paper-based processes created costly backlogs for the government and delayed distribution of benefits to Flemish citizens. So, with help of HP, the Flemish Government has revolutionised the way it gathered and exchanged citizen data

HP Enterprise Services Supports DMDC’s Mission for the Future

The US Defence Manpower Data Centre (DMDC), the Defence Department’s primary source of identity management and personnel benefits data, maintains the largest and most comprehensive central archive of personnel, manpower, casualty, pay, entitlements, procurement, survey, testing, training, and financial data in the US Department of Defence (DoD).  DMDC is leveraging technology from HP Enterprise Services to ensure the security and integrity of DMDC systems.  

DMDC is a world leader in identity management and the authoritative source within the DoD for personnel identity protection services, including identity authentication and authorization for more than 35 million DoD personnel and their families who receive benefits and entitlements. With support from HP Enterprise Services, DMDC validates and authenticates the identities of DoD affiliated personnel to authorise physical access to military sites worldwide and entry into defence networks and computer systems.

One of DMDC’s most notable programmes includes the successful issuance of more than 15 million Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12) compliant, java-based common access cards (CAC). The CAC programme is the department’s key tool to authenticate the identities of active duty, reserve, National Guard and DoD civilian and contractor personnel. 

The Unique Identity (UID) project aims to provide every resident an identity based on their furnished credentials such as their personal, demographic and biometric information. In a nation of over a billion people spread across a multitude of culture, geography and economic strata this is a challenging if not an impossible one. 

HP Enterprise Services (erstwhile EDS) has the experience of nearly 3 decades in executing similar projects in different countries. Our credentials and capabilities along with our portfolio of technology products and partnership with industry leaders are unmatched.

While the experience, methodology and best practices are global the talent and resources required for the execution and governance of the project would be from the local HP India team which understands the ground realities better than any one else. 

Robin Bhowmik, Sales Director HP Enterprise Services India

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