Identity Proofing Definition & Meaning

Identity proofing is a detailed authentication process that businesses use to ensure their clients are who they claim to be. To avoid data breaches and fraud, which can be costly, businesses can require multiple steps of identity verification, and identity proofing goes beyond basic authentication to add additional verification measures such as government documents, photo IDs, and personal questions.

Clients often undergo a stringent identity proofing process to access new accounts or join organizations, depending on how much security those businesses require. Identity proofing solutions can get this done in an automated manner to meet security needs without major disruptions to user experience.

When documentation (a picture of a government ID, for example) isn t enough, businesses may need more evidence. Remote identity proofing, which is often necessary when customers live elsewhere, offers the customer a more convenient experience but requires more care since it s become easier for fraudulent actors to gain access to others information online. Businesses, then, may ask for multiple steps in the identification process. Multi-factor authentication, which is becoming increasingly common, can include personal identification questions, touch ID, facial recognition, and sometimes other biometrics.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has a three-step identity proofing process:

  • Resolution: involves collecting evidence such as IDs
  • Validation: involves checking documents against existing records
  • Verification: ensures the photos and documents are all the same

Businesses can go about their identity proofing process in different ways, but the challenge is accurately identifying customers while also providing a relatively smooth authentication process. It s not realistic for businesses (large ones especially) to manually verify each person s identity, but sometimes automated processes can fail or give customers a sluggish, negative experience. Businesses must balance both strong security and quality customer service to meet the challenge.

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