“Why should I get certified?” is a question that some professionals ask themselves and others raising doubts about the benefits of professional certification in their career field as it requires time and financial commitment. They doubt that certification offers any benefits specially if they are highly confident about their skills and abilities. While certification is mandatory in some industries, it is not required in others, yet certification can be an extremely valuable tool to excel in a chosen career field for many reasons.

Why should I get certified? Benefits of professional certification.

Let’s go over some of the benefits of professional certification and why you should get certified:

Gain Credibility

If you are a recent graduate or early in your career, certification offers a stamp of approval from a recognized organization which adds external validation to your credibility and offers proof that you have the necessary knowledge in a given field. And if you are a consultant, certification helps you gain the trust of your customers and attract new business opportunities.

Career Change

Certification helps with career change and transition when you don’t have a degree or sufficient experience in the new career field. If you decide at some point in your career that you need a change because you are bored or need more money, professional certification is a quick way to learn something new and make a career change as it supplements your education and prior work experience.

Competitive Edge

According to Henry Bagdasarian, Founder and President of Identity Management Institute, certification offers a competitive edge when multiple candidates with equal levels of education, experience, and soft skills compete for the same job as it improves marketability. According to a survey, most HR professionals prefer hiring candidates who are certified because it helps with quick screening based on independent validation of the candidate’s skills and knowledge.

New Specialized Skills

Certification is a way to specialize in a sub domain of your main career field in which you have gained your education and professional experience. Let’s say an area within your profession is growing faster than the rest of the profession and you want to take advantage of the rising opportunity, certification can quickly make you an expert in the specialized field while you increase your knowledge about evolving trends in the niche area.

Promotion and Transfer

When employees desire promotion or internal transfer to another department within their companies, the new role may be somewhat different and require special skills. A professional certification can help an employee’s dreams come true by demonstrating commitment and knowledge.

More Money

According to market research studies, certified professionals earn as much as 18% more money than their counterparts. While earning and maintaining certification requires time and financial commitment, the return on investment may justify the expense.

Personal satisfaction and sense of community – Finally, when you get certified, you can be proud and confident that you are a subject matter expert in your field of work with an industry recognized certification to back you up while you belong to a community and interact with likeminded professionals.

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Identity and access management certifications

Identity and access management benefits are many and include but are not limited to the verification of user and device identities and management of their access to enterprise resources. Typically, best practices in identity and access management streamline operations for quick onboarding and access, timely offboarding, and providing the necessary access to applications and online services with as much automation as possible.

Other identity and access management benefits also include identity tracking for gathering business intelligence, auditing, and improving information security by leveraging tools and processes such as an identity data repository system with a central identity database or distributed identity management with blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Identity and Access Management Benefits

Identity and Access Management Benefits

As companies become more aware of the identity and access management benefits to meet various business objectives such as compliance, or cybercrime and threat management, they implement an effective IAM program and technology, and employ skilled certified identity management experts from Identity Management Institute to bring IAM to the forefront of their business for managing a variety of risks. If implemented correctly, an identity and access management program will provide the following benefits:

Increased Productivity

Organization and automation of shared identity and access management processes across the enterprise will improve identity and access lifecycle management. Automated provisioning of user access upon hiring during the on-boarding process or internal transfer and role changes will improve processing time and reduce errors which will improve productivity.  Overall, effective IAM services will improve user experience, access management to enterprise resources, and security of systems with little to no intervention by the IT staff.

User Satisfaction

IAM processes will eliminate confusion over the steps needed to request, grant and manage system access which will increase user satisfaction. Concerted efforts to increase awareness of IAM services and best practices will result in a more knowledgeable user base and more realistic expectations of IAM systems.

An effective identity and access management program should reduce complexity of the processes for end users, application owners, and system administrators. The IAM program should eliminate paper-based and manual processes as much as possible. Automation will allow end users to review their accounts and control basic requests through self-service such as password resets. IAM services will allow users to select a unique pass code of their choice and will reduce the burden of remembering credentials that can be used across the enterprise through single sign-on which synchronizes pass code across multiple systems.  If implemented correctly, identity and access management should be simple and intuitive to an end user.

Reduced Costs

IAM services can also reduce operating costs.  Federated identity services eliminate the need for local identities for external users, thus simplifying application administration. An improved IAM program which leverages a cloud-based service, automation, and organized database can reduce the cost of the IAM related services.

Improved security

Identity and access management is a critical part of an organization’s information security. It helps protect sensitive data and information from the ever-evolving security threats. IAM solutions help enable proactive security risk identification and mitigation, allowing the organization to identify policy violations or remove inappropriate access privileges without having to waste time and effort searching across multiple distributed systems. IAM will allow the organization to confirm that proper security measures are in place to meet audit and regulatory requirements.

The ability to quickly provision and de-provision access to resources, in addition to enhanced identity assurance through features such as multifactor authentication, will improve security posture. Additionally, the organization’s ability to use IAM business intelligence and identity analytics will allow for improved risk management and strategic decision making.

Information Sharing

An identity and access management program can facilitate collaboration and information sharing among business units and applications. Information sharing may enable additional functionality with shared calendars, common data usage, and integrated contact lists.

An IAM program will enhance user access management and enable federated access to external systems. Through the use of authentication standards set forth by the organization, the IAM program will allow information sharing about user identity to grant access to resources. Finally, IAM can provide the organization with a competitive advantage over competitors that cannot offer the same level of ease and expediency, enticing customers, employees and related parties to collaborate with the organization.

Technology Improvement

Identity and access management benefits also include an increase in system integration and efficiency of application development, deployment, and management by eliminating the need for duplication and exposure of vulnerable systems and data.

Identity and access management certifications

SIM card swapping and cell phone hijacking is on the rise to steal authentication codes and access digital wallets or other accounts. While criminals often take advantage of advancements in technology, SIM card fraud is not a hi-tech crime committed by rogue players who manipulate existing holes in how SIM cards are managed.

SIM card swapping and cell phone hijacking - device identity theft

Cases of SIM card theft are at an all-time high, especially with the abundance of personal messages sent to smartphones such as authentication codes sent via SMS texts. Regardless of how much effort is made to curb smartphone identity theft, this type of crime continues to rise as it provides opportunities to access accounts.

What Is SIM Card Swapping?

SIM card swapping and cell phone hijacking goes by many names and has been around for quite a while, wreaking havoc on people’s lives all over the world.

Port-out scamming, SIM splitting, SIM hijacking or SIM-card swapping is a form of fraud focused on replacing someone’s SIM card with one that’s owned and controlled by the fraudster to take over the smartphone messaging system. This change-over tactic is made possible because there are existing loopholes in how telecom companies manage the identities of their customers.

The scale with which most telecom companies operate is probably one of the contributing factors to SIM splitting. Most telecoms are just too big and serve millions of customers which may be the reason for the lack of sufficient controls and resources to prevent SIM card fraud.

However, mobile phone and telecom technology companies have developed technical solutions to curb cell phone related fraud. One of the common solutions developed over the years is allowing mobile phone users to flag suspected scams and spam phone numbers. These numbers are then added to an ever-growing list which is used to alert future phone users.

This type of fraud is yet another indication that smartphone users need additional awareness to protect themselves from SIM card fraud.

How Does SIM Swapping Fraud Work?

Like every other form of identity theft, cell phone hijacking made possible by SIM swapping requires the criminal to have access to important bits of key information about the potential victim. Getting access to this information can be done in two ways, searching the web for publicly available information about the potential victim or subtly social engineering the victim into unknowingly giving away the information. The social engineering route is one commonly taken by most SIM card scammers, who usually pose as representatives from the victim’s telecom company.

The scammers aim to obtain from the potential victim their SIM PIN, their social security number, numbers they last contacted, their last recharge amount, and their account security question.

Once this information is obtained, the scammer contacts the victim’s service provider, impersonating the victim and requesting them to reassign the subscription to another SIM card. Telecom companies make the swapping mechanisms this easy since they want to provide convenient service to their legitimate customers.

The telecom representative will question the victim impersonator regarding information that the real SIM card owner would only know. Once the information is confirmed, the SIM will be reassigned to another card just as the scammer had intended. This leaves the victim’s card disconnected from the network, and with it goes all the access the victim had to other resources through the SIM card.

What’s So Dangerous about SIM Swapping?

Receiving the victim’s calls and text messages is one of the basic benefits that the scammer will get with the SIM card hijacking; through SIM swapping, the scammer can gain access to most if not all the victim’s online accounts that are linked to the SIM card.

To gain access to a victim’s online accounts, the scammer works on the assumption that the victim has subscribed to two-factor authentication on their online accounts. If this is the case, as is most of the time, the scammer gains full access to victim’s accounts.

In extreme instances of identity theft through SIM swapping, an attacker can gain access to the victim’s online financial resources linked to the SIM card through two-factor authentication. With this access, the attacker is also able to take over digital wallets.

Some Incidents of People Getting SIM Card Swapped

One of the most high-profile incidents of SIM-card swapping is that of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The endgame in the SIM swap of the Twitter CEO was to gain access to his Twitter account. Access to this high-profile Twitter account gave the scammers access to a broader audience on the social media platform. For about half an hour, Twitter experienced a barrage of tweets and retweets from its CEO’s account, a series of racial profanities.

Another recent SIM swapping case includes a couple that lost $75000 of their cryptocurrency deposits. This digital wallet theft was the intended purpose of what started as a SIM swap performed on the couple. The couple narrated to investigators how they helplessly watched the cryptocurrency deposit of their two sons’ college fund savings being emptied. Upon contacting their mobile service provider, they were notified that indeed a SIM swap was conducted on the SIM registered with two-factor authentication to the digital wallet.

Unfortunately, sometimes unsecured SIM cards are used by cell phone owners which places them at risk. For example, after the 3G communication tower in Ukraine was destroyed by the Russian soldiers, they switched off their encrypted phone system and started using normal phones with local SIM cards which led to the interception of conversations revealing the death of Major General Vitaly Gerasimov by Ukrainian intelligence.

What You Can Do If You Have Been SIM Swapped?

Once you realize that you’ve been a victim of SIM swapping, it’s paramount that you move quickly and swiftly to contain the situation.

When you’ve been SIM swapped, the first thing you should do is to contact your phone service provider from a secondary valid phone, and notify them of what has happened. This will enable the service provider to lock down any activity on the SIM, which may help in preventing further damage to your now stolen digital identity.

Secondly, and equally important as the first step, you should immediately change the password and phone number used for dual-factor authentication on your accounts. While the importance of different accounts varies from one person to another, you should list all accounts and only start with the most critical ones. Also consider contacting the financial institution to inform them and take any additional steps as they recommend.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself Against SIM Card Swapping and Cell Phone Hijacking

When high profile individuals are victims of SIM swapping and families lose their savings through the scam, this goes a long way to show that no one is beyond reach and nothing is sacred to SIM fraudsters. While the Telecom service providers do all that they can to prevent SIM fraud, it is upon you and those around you to stay safe from SIM-card swapping scammers. Here are some tips on how to stay a step ahead of scammers:

  1. Minimize the amount of personal information that you make publicly available or post online.
  2. Where possible, use stronger authentication procedures on your accounts such as using a Google or Microsoft authenticator app instead of SMS two-factor authentication.
  3. Ignore and report any suspected numbers or emails that you receive requesting personal information.
  4. Secure your cellular accounts with a PIN or password.

Things That Can Happen When a Phone Is Accessed by Unauthorized People

When unauthorized people access a phone or its resources, this can lead to several consequences for the phone’s owner. Here are some of the common things that can happen with unauthorized phone access.

  1. The scammer can perform unintended financial transactions through the phone’s accounts.
  2. Damaging communications can be made through the phone, which can at times have irreversible consequences.
  3. Implanting of malware or harmful software on the phone.
Identity and access management certifications

Understanding smart contract access controls is important to ensure the security and integrity of automated contracts. When Bitcoin emerged as the first cryptocurrency in 2009, very few people recognized the potential of blockchain technology. As more decentralized currencies have come online and the NFT market has grown, the world has come to realize that blockchain will shape the online world for years to come. Each day, new companies introduce blockchain-based applications in the financial, medical, and supply chain management industries.

Understanding smart contract access controls is important to ensure the security and integrity of automated contracts.

What is a smart contract?

In 1996, computer scientist Nick Szabo coined the term “smart contract.” He did not base his definition on the contract being artificially intelligent. Instead, he imagined how parties could execute a digital contract more safely and intelligently than a written one. He likened smart contracts to vending machines. Only after the purchaser makes a selection and pays a fee will the vending machine make the product available. A smart contract would be a program that could only execute after certain conditions were met.

Incorporating smart contracts into a blockchain architecture would change the culture of the internet. Subscriptions, in-app purchases and many other transactions could happen in a decentralized manner that would increase security and decrease the influence of large technology companies.

How Smart Contract Access Controls Increase Security

As with any online platform or software product, security concerns are paramount. Most transactions on blockchain involve finances, and many include private data. Although the nature of blockchain technology makes attacks more difficult, it is not invulnerable. For example, a hacker stole more than $600 million from Poly Network, a cryptocurrency platform, in August of 2021. The hacker has since returned the funds explaining that he wanted to demonstrate the security flaw.

Access controls are a primary means of improving security for smart contracts. Properly executed controls determine who can manipulate the data within the contract and handle other administrative functions. Access controls may even limit who can interact with the contract at all. A company that uses smart contracts for shareholder votes will only grant access to an approved list of members.

Two Types of Smart Contract Access Controls

The extent of access controls needed for a smart contract depends on its complexity and purpose. There are two main models of access control: ownership and role-based access.


Small organizations or contracts with a small scope may only need management by a single account. This manager has ownership of the contract and administrative access by default. Typically, the account with ownership is the same one that put the contract online. However, there are some practical considerations in accounts with a single administrator.

  • Transferring ownership: A replacement protocol must be in place if the current administrator steps down to avoid getting locked out of the smart contract.
  • Removal: If the person who set up the contract is not going to be the administrator, a removal option is necessary to prevent a backdoor vulnerability.
  • Increasing complexity: An automated smart contract can serve as the owner of another contract. This nested approach can serve to protect sensitive data.

Role-Based Access

A smart contract launched by a larger organization will often have broader access requirements. However, the sponsoring group will not want every member to have full administrative access. Role-based access involves giving layers of permission to different members of the organization. At the top level, one or two accounts will have full administrative roles. Other members may be able to interact with individual parts of the contract.

In the shareholder voting model, administrators could launch the voting app in a smart contract and grant voting privileges. Those users with mid-level access might have the authority to input names on the ballot. At the lowest level are the shareholders who can only access the contract to register a vote.

A role-based approach adds an extra level of data security. The sponsoring organization still must have other safety protocols to prevent illicit access.

  • Clear role assignment: Assigning or revoking roles should belong only to those with high-level administrative access.
  • Protective time delays: An unfaithful administrator is a security nightmare with limited solutions. One preventive step is to build the contract with alerts and time delays for unexpected actions. For a financial contract, the program could notify the organization and delay the authorization of a transaction above a certain size.

Other Preventative Steps for Access-Based Security

In addition to access controls, other security steps can prevent unauthorized activity around smart contracts.

Modular Smart Contract Design

Using a modular contract architecture is a protective model for sensitive data or transactions. Dividing data among several contracts limits the amount that an unauthorized user can access.

Regular Smart Contract Monitoring

As an organization goes live with its contracts, it should have some sense of expected behavior. Developers can build failsafe protections into the program to shut things down if conditions vary too far from the norm. For example, unexpectedly high access may point to a security vulnerability.

Smart contracts will continue to grow as a popular way to automate secure transactions. Sensible access controls and other security measures will protect organizations as they embrace blockchain technology.

Identity and access management certifications

Reusable identity is an innovative approach in digital identity management that helps streamline the user onboarding process. Reusable identity can replace the existing complicated identity management process to grant users access without the need to manage and secure identity components while eliminating repetitive processes in identity and access management.  

In the existing setup, online users complete a unique personal profile every time they register themselves on a new website that system owners must manage. While the signup process may be short, it can become extremely frustrating to verify identity, create new credentials, and fill countless individual profiles on multiple online platforms.

Portable and reusable identity helps streamline the user onboarding process.

Considering that an average business user uses almost 200 different online accounts, verifying identity and sharing personal data can take its toll. Sharing personal information has additional caveats, which are often manifested in the form of data leakage and identity theft. Every time someone shares information, the data is prone to hacking attempts. The use of many systems, complicated and repetitive onboarding process, and security concerns are making reusable identity the foundation of our new digital economy.

To safeguard customer loyalty and trust, businesses are turning to privacy-protecting reusable digital identities that can give people more control, security, and shorter signup time. A reusable identity gives people access to online services from a single unified platform. As a result, there is no need to collect and maintain identity information.

This digital identification technology is already helping consumers sign up for multiple platforms without the need to verify their credentials more than once. Using a single identity management platform, anyone can easily verify and share personal information on government websites, register with doctors, take out insurance, collect prescriptions, open a bank account, get a mobile phone, buy travel tickets, and use almost any type of online platform that requires personal identification. The scalability, security, improved customer experience, and ease of identity management offered by portable identity offer an opportunity to benefit from this new approach in digital identity management.

A reusable ID app can securely store personal information, which is easily federated when transacting with a new entity enabling many-to-many relationships between consumers and businesses. The research also predicts that the market for reusable ID apps will grow from $32.8 billion in 2022 to $266.5 billion by 2027.

Why We Need Reusable Identity

The concept of reusable identity has emerged from the need to provide a solution that brings the digital world something, which is comparable to an identity card in the physical world. For instance, in the physical world, the ID card, Driving License, and Passport are the three main types of IDs that are used to prove identity. A typical user can use these IDs almost anywhere because they’re universally accepted forms of verification.

Unlike the physical world, the digital sphere operates on different principles. In it, the user has unique credentials for almost every online platform. Besides usernames and passwords, different types of websites require different information. This is precisely where a reusable ID makes sense because it allows online users to use a single credential to prove that they are who they say they are.

Digital Identity Management: The Customer Journey

As we inch towards Web 3.0, almost 88% of consumers acknowledge that the security of their data is the most important factor during the onboarding process. However, the existing multi-step onboarding flows don’t address the issue because personal data is vulnerable every time a user creates a new account. After the registration, insecure password-based authentication continues to hamper the boarding process by creating additional security loopholes.

To deal with the issue, governments, personal data stores, big tech, consumer digital identity companies have already started offering solutions to businesses. These solutions streamline the customer journey by providing a unified digital identity management platform. Here are just a few examples of such initiatives:

Government: There are more than 40 eID schemes introduced by the governments of various countries. After creating and verifying the identity, users can access public services without creating additional profiles. E-estonia and singpass are just two of the popular examples.

Personal Data Stores: Online platforms such as Digi.me and Dataswift allow individuals to share their data with multiple organizations around the world.

Big Tech: Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung are companies that are actively collaborating to create a unified consumer-facing identity solution. Today, users can use a single online social profile to access online solutions from these vendors and their partners.

Consumer Digital ID: 1Password and LastPass are examples of popular digital identity wallets that let users store their IDs, passwords, and documents in the cloud.

Backend Identity Solutions: Jumio and ID.me offer retail-centric solutions to customers so they don’t have to input credit card and ID details every time they shop on a particular website.

How Businesses Can Benefit From Customer Identity Management

A robust customer identity management portal allow businesses to streamline the onboarding process and provide better customer services. It helps by:

  • Improving login process using pre-verified credentials.
  • Enhancing customer privacy by limiting the amount of data transfer containing personal information.
  • Ensuring compliance with the latest local and international laws.
  • Allowing the customer additional freedom to share only the information required to verify the identity.
  • Consolidating identity management across different devices and platforms.
  • Restricting access to unwanted third-party marketing channels.

Of course, these are not the only benefits. Depending on the needs of customers, businesses can develop unique interoperable networks, public-private partnerships, and digital ID ecosystems. Perhaps, it is one of the best ways to prevent fraud, improve loyalty, and ensure access to correct data for every customer.

Identity and access management certifications