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Citi Managed Identity Services Promotes Use of Digital Identities

Citi (New York) introduced a new service called Citi Managed Identity Services. According to the bank, the new offering, provided by Citi's Global Transaction Services business, enables clients to use digital identity and signature technologies to securely manage the exchange of electronic information in digital commerce and business-critical transactions.

Managed Identity Services was launched by Citi in an effort to respond to the changing demands of its global client base for more streamlined, secure transaction functionality, especially in the supply chain. According to Hilary Ward, director, Citi's global information products, "Clients want to leverage paperless workflows to reduce processing time, internal lag-time and the expense of manual paper-based processing without compromising visibility and governance," she explains. "Citi-issued, high-assurance digital credentials allow clients to verify 'who,' 'did what' and 'when' in online interactions. Citi's role is that of a trusted third party."

As a result of using Managed Identity Services, Ward claims clients will receive "bank-grade" process controls and know-your-customer rules applied in the credential issuance process as well as banking system acceptance, liability for misuse and legal compliance.

Citi Managed Identity Services is really a portfolio of services that include Issuance Services, Secure Authorization Services and, later this year, an Electronic Bank Account Management solution. Secure Authorization was developed to meet clients' needs for more transparency into risk and workflows. It provides controls and audit trails for an end-to-end payment system from the enterprise level to Citi's backend for payment processing. Electronic Bank Account Management will be designed to help businesses cut back further on the paper and the duplication associated with account activities, such as incremental account openings, signatory management, and account maintenance across multiple legal entities or accounts. Authorized personnel will be able to initiate such activities electronically.

According to Ward, Citi built the service suite with an eye on interoperability. "Interoperability is important, not only at the technical level, allowing technology platforms to integrate and communicate through secure protocols and interfaces, but also at the end-user level, allowing a Citi-issued credential to be leveraged in an application provided by another organization, and vice versa," she explains. "Interoperability, for us, is an important benefit of our offering if we are to truly deliver efficiencies in automating critical business processes that are done manually today."

Citi is working with several organizations to promote the adoption of such technologies, such as bank-sponsored digital identity organization IdenTrust. It also recently joined recently the Liberty Alliance, the global identity consortium that works to create Internet safety standards. Citi is also active with SAFE-BioPharma, which promotes identity management standards for the bio-pharmaceutical industry.

In fact, pharma clients are the first to make use of Citi's new offering around digital identity management. "Citi has fully rolled out our managed services to several global pharmaceutical companies to issue SAFE-compliant certificates for use in their clinical trial processes and are actively pursuing other pharmaceutical business," says Ward. "Citi's Secure Authorization Services went into production earlier this year and will be rolled out with a large pharmaceutical company, as well as a large consumer goods company."

So far, Ward says response from Citi's pharma clients has been favorable. "From our experience in the pharmaceutical sector, a large pharmaceutical company is able to eliminate the creation of 2.5 million printed documents a year and migrate approximately 14,000 signatures for various drug trials and research documents into an electronic workflow as a result of Citi's offering," she relates.

Furthermore, Ward says that in the financial services area, simplifying and automating processes such as the manual approval of fund transfers can represent savings upwards of $1.5 million annually for a typical organization. "All of these processes require high levels of identity assurance, including legal enforceability, in order to be implemented," she adds.

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