Want to know where a great business opportunity lies? Just watch the existing technology companies that are suddenly all offering things in that space. Of course, those opportunities lie everywhere, but recently you may have noticed a spate of offerings from Microsoft and Check Point, with more coming from Symantec and McAffee.
Carrying names like "One Care" and "ID Lock" (ever notice how "security" product names always invoke either comfort or fear?), the products are aimed at helping consumers manage the ongoing problem of online identity theft and fraud. These products, while important, are still simply band aids on a wound the size of a chest cavity.
Identity Fraud, or more importantly, the loss of trust in online banking, bill paying and commerce, is not a problem easily solved. Its not easily solved because we're bolting on a solution to the lack of identity in the Net. While that may sound simple, a recent researcher at MIT suggested ripping the *entire* internet down and *starting over* as a solution.
In the meantime, we end up with band aids and grandmas in Nebraska that are scared to go on-line. And the business for applying band aid solutions to online identity fraud grows. It grows so much that the cynic might be prompted to ask if the large technology companies really *want* to solve the online identity fraud problem.
Will technologies like InfoCards begin to solve this problem? Ideally, yes. But we live in the age of the long-tail, and while the big sites might adopt some identity mechanisms quickly, it still feels like we're years away from Mom and Pop shops getting up to speed.
And the band aid business grows...