What Is the Difference Between Identity Proofing and Authentication?

What Is the Difference Between Identity Proofing and Authentication?

In the digital age, you may be increasingly asked to prove your identity online. Whether you are logging into your bank account or applying for a new job, you can do so with confidence by using security measures like Transmit Security identity proofing. As we’ll go on to explain, the two main ways to verify your identity online are identity proofing and authentication. Here’s a quick breakdown of each.

Identity Proofing

Identity proofing is the process of verifying that you are who you say you are. There are several different ways to identity-proof someone. The most common method is to use some form of government-issued identification, such as a passport or driver’s license.

However, such information is not always possible or practical; hence there are other information details that may be used instead. Such information can include utility bills, credit cards, date of birth, Social Security Number, or even social media profiles. Once your identity has been verified, you can create an account with a website or service.

Additionally, one can provide a digital certificate, a piece of code assigned to a user by an organization or website. The certificate contains information about the user. When the user tries to access a website or service, the site will check the digital certificate to verify the user’s identity. If the certificate is valid, the user will be granted access. However, if the certificate is invalid or has been tampered with, the user will be denied entry.

By ensuring that customers are who they say they are, businesses can help to protect themselves from fraud and identity theft. In addition, Identity proofing can also help to build trust with customers by providing them with peace of mind that their personal information is safe.


Authentication is proving that you have the right to access an account or service. The most common authentication method is to use a password. You can also use other methods like fingerprint scanners or iris scanners or provide some other form of verification, like a security code from a text message sent to the user’s phone number or an email. Once someone has been authenticated, they will usually be granted access to whatever they were trying to access.

For businesses, authentication can offer several benefits. First, it helps ensure that only authorized users can access company resources which helps to prevent data breaches and protect sensitive information. Additionally, authentication can help businesses track which employees access resources and when. This information can be valuable for compliance and allows companies to troubleshoot issues more efficiently.

Correlation Between Identity Proofing and Authentication

Both identity proofing and authentication are important for keeping your online accounts and services safe. By verifying your identity, websites and services can ensure that only authorized users can access sensitive information. And by authenticating users, they can make sure that only the rightful owner of an account can log in and make changes. Hence, there is a strong correlation between identity proofing and authentication because, to be authorized to access a resource, the individual must first prove their identity.

However, it is important to note that authentication can occur without identity proofing if the individual’s credentials are already stored in the database of authorized users. In such cases, identity proofing is unnecessary because the authentication process will confirm the individual’s identity without needing to compare it against a separate source.

Key Difference Between Identity Proofing and Authentication

The two concepts are often confused, but there is a key distinction between the two. Authentication relies on verifying something the user knows, like a password or a PIN. On the other hand, identity proofing relies on verifying something the user has, like a driver’s license or a passport. In many cases, authentication and identity proofing is necessary to verify someone’s identity.

For example, when logging into an online account, a user will typically need to enter their username and password (authentication) and answer a security question (identity proofing). By using both authentication and identity proofing, businesses can increase their security level while ensuring that only authorized users gain access to their systems.