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Verizon identity services gain Level 3 ICAM certification

Carrier claims its cloud-based services are the only one currently certified to meet Level 3 requirements established for federal agencies

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Verizon today announced that its universal identity services have earned Level 3 Identity Credential and Access Management (ICAM) certification– an accomplishment that should help differentiate the cloud-based offering, as the company claims to have the only services with that certification level.

“The fact that we have been independently validated allows us to make qualitative and quantitative statements,” said Tracy Hulver, chief identity strategist for Verizon, in an interview.

ICAM initiated by federal CIO
The ICAM program was initiated from the federal CIO’s office with the goal of creating a common standard for on-line authentication for government agencies, which currently use identity solutions that vary from one agency to another, explained Hulver. Another goal was to create a certification program so that third parties could be approved to provide authentication services. When an authorized user accesses a site operated by an agency that uses a certified ICAM service, the traffic will go first to the service provider’s cloud for verification.

ICAM credentials have four levels, with Level 4 being the highest. As Hulver explained, several companies, including Verizon, have Level 1 certification, which checks a user’s identity against stored records but does not include extensive up front screening. “If no one already took a name, you can get it,” said Hulver.

Level 2 credentials are issued only after applicants provide some proof that they are who they say they are, such as a credit card. Level 3 credentials are based on a more extensive screening process through which Verizon verifies personal data such as the user’s name, address, and the last four digits of the user’s social security number, Hulver said.

Level 4 credentials require an even higher level of screening, with users being required to present documents confirming their identity to a notary. Normally this type of credential is based on a smart card with some type of biometrics such as a fingerprint, said Hulver.

Verizon now has Level 1, 2 and 3 certification, and as a result, Hulver said the company should be able to address 90% of contracts requiring ICAM certification.

An impressive credential
Hulver said he is not currently aware of any government contracts requiring ICAM Level 3 certification, but he expects that to change now that at least one provider is able to meet Level 3 requirements. In addition, he believes enterprise customers will be impressed by the Level 3 certification and will be more likely to choose Verizon for identity services, even though they may not actually need to use a service that meets Level 3 requirements.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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