Building sustainable framework in identity management solutions


By Travis Hensley, Global Sustainability Manager, HID

With the continued growth of digital technology, having secure identity management solutions is essential for businesses. By creating a secure system, organisations ensure that their data is protected and kept safe from malicious actors. Think of identity management solutions and the ubiquitous plastic card comes to mind. This identity card displayed by every employee at work is not necessarily a product of sustainable processes.


When people think of sustainability, they usually think of transportation, and energy, and not card readers, printers and security equipment. The reality, however, is that sustainability is not industry specific. There are many aspects to it – environmental, social, and economic. So, whether the industry exists in physical space or digital space, it still leaves a footprint.


For businesses in the digital space, there are data centres that consume a considerable amount of energy, In the digital space, such as cloud applications, web hosting services, and even social media platforms, businesses rely on data centres that consume a significant amount of energy. On the other hand, in the physical workspace of manufacturing, products such as card readers and printers also have an environmental impact from the energy and water used to manufacture and any associated wastes along with a myriad of other environmental aspects to consider.


In the past, security professionals tended to focus on risk mitigation: What can go wrong and what can we do about it? However, the game is changing, and security teams are now operating with additional considerations in mind. The growing consensus is that governments and organisations, not just individuals, must take immediate action to alter the course of climate change.


In fact, by 2026, 70% of technology sourcing, procurement and vendor management (SPVM) leaders will have environmental-sustainability-aligned performance objectives for their functions, according to Gartner, Inc. In alignment with market demands and values, technology providers are becoming competitively focused on sustainability.


Sustainability has taken centre stage in business decisions, including the security and identity industry. End users are increasingly demanding that suppliers provide footprint transparency in terms of their operations, product sourcing and research and development practices. Technology is no longer the limiting factor for organisations to become sustainable businesses, rather it can be the enabling agent in going green. And as companies worldwide look to don the green cape, behavioural change and transformation in business processes will be critical in making green technology mainstream.


Sustainability in identity management


Identity management (ID management) is the organisational process for ensuring individuals have the appropriate access to technology resources. This includes the identification, authentication and authorisation of a person, or persons, to have access to applications, systems or networks. This is done by associating user rights and restrictions with established identities.


Security threats are constantly evolving and changing. The last thing the industry wants is for the identity management solution to become obsolete due to outdated technology or inadequate protection against modern security threats.

Australian cities have evolved to leverage smart technologies across a variety of sectors from banking and finance, to construction and education. This has streamlined processes, improved efficiency but also increased the risk landscape. To help address this, Standards Australia has developed a series of standards and best practices to respond in smart and sustainable ways.


Having an identity management solution that is designed with sustainability in mind, businesses will be able to save resources while ensuring the highest level of security possible.

Sustainable products, manufacturing, and even social practices such as equality, inclusion, and community enablement is a growing expectation in today’s markets. It is sort of a core tenet of a lot of organisations and something that’s underpinning everything. In addition to creating secure ID solutions, sustainability should also be taken into consideration when implementing these systems.


Almost 90 per cent of respondents in the inaugural State of the Security Industry Report released by HID recently acknowledge sustainability as an important issue. Implementing a secure identity management solution is essential for any business today but it’s equally important that this solution is also sustainable.


Key drivers that can make an impact


The ubiquitous plastic identity card is not necessarily going away anytime soon. With sustainable business goals becoming imperative, people are thinking of the future and how this could be integrated into some form of a digital ID. And now a lot of times, they may not necessarily be thinking about the digital ID in the form of waste. It also involves building more circularity within plastics as well.


With sustainability at the core, many countries are also beginning to ‘leapfrog’ paper-based identity systems by implementing robust digital identities. The transformative potential of mobile technology has been identified as a key opportunity for accelerating the scale and reach of an inclusive digital identity that empowers citizens, protects privacy and stimulates economic and social development.


Agility in decision making

Building a sustainable foundation is at the heart of business resiliency. It all starts with organisational culture and is crucial for customer relevancy. Sometimes this requires a complete paradigm shift and needs to be implemented as a top-down approach.


What does this mean for the security and identity industry? Forward-thinking providers know that sustainability plays an important role in technology deployment decisions. Security teams are already leveraging the cloud and IoT to deliver seamless end user experiences using connected architecture, multi-applications and mobile devices for secure access that simplifies complexities, optimises processes and reduces resources.

Businesses are facing growing pressure from customers to disclose information on their environmental performance. Therefore, organizations should establish a well-defined sustainability strategy in order to proactively respond to such inquiries and address evolving regulatory changes in both the short and long term. Setting realistic goals and targets for organizational performance and allocating resources to ensure these are met are key to reducing your environmental footprint and joining a growing number of companies that are working to improve the impacts of climate change for a more resilient planet.