Remember the last time you had to create yet another online account, handing over your personal details just to access a service? The average person has 240 online accounts. But who has control over all that information, and where does it go?

The good news is that the way we manage our digital identities is undergoing a profound paradigm shift, driven by the concept of Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI). Forget the models dominated by centralized authorities, SSI empowers individuals with greater control over their personal information online. In 2024, you could be in charge of your own digital identity.

The new identity paradigm

Traditionally, IAM solutions have relied on centralized authorities, typically managed by organizations or service providers, to authenticate and authorize users. This raised concerns about data privacy, security, and who truly owns your data.

SSI addresses these challenges by putting individuals at the center of their identity, allowing them to manage and share their credentials directly without relying on intermediaries. You manage and share your verified credentials directly, like a secure digital wallet. You choose who sees what without handing over everything.

How does it work? SSI is built upon decentralized and distributed ledger technologies, such as blockchain, enabling the creation of verifiable, tamper-proof digital identities. In an SSI framework, individuals maintain ownership of their identity attributes, which are cryptographically secured and can be selectively shared with authorized entities. This paradigm shift not only enhances user privacy but also reduces the risk of large-scale data breaches, as there is no central repository vulnerable to cyber threats.

We have already explored the definition of this new concept for citizens in the digital space and the main cybersecurity challenges and motivations for SSI. Now, 2024 marks a turning point: SSI is moving beyond theory and into real-world applications across diverse industries. Curious to know how SSI can impact your business? Discover the most common use cases for SSI in 2024 that could reshape your activity for a more secure, user-centric digital future.

SSI as an enhancement of common business use cases

Contractual agreements and digital signatures

SSI can enhance the integrity of contractual agreements by incorporating verifiable credentials and digital signatures. Parties involved in a business transaction can use their digital wallets to sign and verify documents securely, ensuring the authenticity of agreements and reducing the risk of fraud or tampering.

Vendor and supplier onboarding

Verifiable credentials can be used to attest to a company’s legal status, certifications, and compliance with industry regulations, streamlining the onboarding process, reducing paperwork, and ensuring that businesses engage with trustworthy partners.

Supply chain management

SSI can be applied to secure and streamline supply chain processes. Businesses along the supply chain can utilize verifiable credentials to validate the identity and authenticity of each participant, ensuring trust and transparency. This can be especially useful in tracking and verifying the origin of products, ensuring compliance, and reducing the risk of counterfeit goods.

Compliance and auditing

Businesses can use SSI to enhance compliance management and auditing processes. Verifiable credentials can be employed to check compliance with industry standards, regulations, and certifications. This facilitates efficient and transparent auditing, allowing regulators or internal audit teams to verify compliance in a secure and verifiable manner.

Professional credential verification

In industries such as finance, law, or healthcare, SSI can streamline the verification of professional credentials, therefore reducing the time and effort required for background checks.

Cross-organizational collaboration

Businesses collaborating across organizational boundaries can benefit from SSI. Verifiable credentials can facilitate secure access to shared resources, systems, or data, eliminating the need for complex user account management. This fosters interoperability and seamless collaboration while maintaining a decentralized and secure identity management approach.

Employee onboarding and access management

SSI can enhance employee onboarding by providing a secure and streamlined process for verifying and managing employee credentials. Employees can store and share verifiable credentials related to their qualifications, certifications, and background checks. Employers can easily verify and grant access based on these credentials, improving overall access management.

Make 2024 the year to deploy SSI in your organization

Few technology trends have the potential to disrupt existing cybersecurity ecosystems and paradigms. SSI emerges as a game-changer in IAM. Beyond secure authentication, SSI will also impact identity governance meant to reduce identity silos and improve interoperability in cross-organizational identity management.

This shift towards user-centric, decentralized identity management carries huge potential, demanding a proactive approach from security professionals to adapt and ensure a smooth transition. So, are you ready to take up the challenge?