Online identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) provider miiCard (My Internet Identity Card) wanted a secure platform to allow customers to prove their identity online in just a few minutes. It is using Windows Azure to power its service, increase competitiveness,
and offer a global service to an industry that demands resilience and scalability. Customers in nine countries already use miiCard, which can support 100,000, or 10 million users as required.
Founded in 2011 and based in Scotland, miiCard is the first global platform for real-time online identity verification to Level of Assurance 3 (LOA 3) that complies with anti-money laundering and “Know Your Customer” standards. It replaces the need for a
physical identity check and can validate against more than 340 million people today. miiCard is already operational in nine countries in Europe, North America, India, Australasia, and South Africa.
With both the risk and value of web transactions increasing, miiCard has developed a way to prove identity purely online. Owned and managed by the user, miiCard creates trust across a range of areas, including financial services, high-value e-commerce, gaming,
recruitment, and social and professional networks.
James Varga, Chief Executive Officer, miiCard, says: “miiCard brings trust to the Internet and control of our online identities. It is a revolutionary ‘digital passport’ service that ensures users can prove they are who they say they are, with no offline
processing such as providing a driving licence or passport.”
As a small team with a global proposition, miiCard knew it had to do something different to succeed in an industry traditionally dominated by large IT companies. Using a cloud-based platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model rapidly emerged as the best option. Varga
says: “We needed to take a fresh approach. It wasn’t enough to copy a relational database and port it over to the cloud—we had to design it for the cloud with a highly reliable, secure, and scalable solution.”
miiCard chose Windows Azure for the IDaaS offering because its developers could take a new approach to supporting the demands of the Internet. Initially, miiCard considered using Amazon Web Services, but decided that Microsoft offered the best value proposition
with high availability, security, and scalability.
Varga says: “It is the Microsoft approach to cloud computing that makes this possible and has changed the way we build software. Administrators no longer face the challenges of load balancing, failover, resource planning, and scaling. We just build it and
miiCard uses the features of Windows Azure to deliver the service with a focus on large-scale partitioned Tables rather than a relational database. Varga says: “Traditional complex application structures have now been broken down into discrete web and worker
roles—processing data and information requests from a range of internal and external service requests. All of this is connected through the Service Bus and distributed regionally when required via the content delivery network and cached as and when needed.”
As a startup, miiCard qualified for support through Microsoft BizSpark—a global programme that helps software startups succeed. It gives them access to Microsoft software development tools, connecting them with key industry players, including investors.
miiCard also has a Windows Azure Enterprise Agreement, which helps the company compete and scale globally without the need for expensive physical infrastructure.
Varga says: “We already have a fantastic level of coverage in an industry that struggles to support a single country. By using a range of external services and data sources, we gain wide geographical coverage, but, more critically, our Windows Azure infrastructure
provides miiCard with a unique set of core capabilities.”
Windows Azure gives miiCard a scalable, always-on identity service for both consumers and businesses. The IDaaS solution scales up and down in capacity and cost in direct relation to market demand, take up, and usage—avoiding the need for physical servers.
As a service, it is distributed when and where it is needed within minutes.
Windows Azure offers miiCard competitive advantage. Varga says: “Windows Azure offers us scalability, resilience, and flexibility. This means that as a startup we can compete in an environment dominated by large systems integrators and technology
miiCard revalidates identities every night, easing compliance.Varga says: “With the miiCard solution, we revalidate users’ identities every 24 hours, which is a major benefit. It eases any compliance issues
and is always ready for customers to use. Our users are not just concerned with proving identity in financial services, but in online auctions, employment applications, dating websites, and other services.”
Cloud-based IDaaS frees developers to create strong user experiences. Varga says: “With Windows Azure, we have no systems administrators, physical servers, maintenance, or capital expenditure on infrastructure. We’re free to do what we’re
good at—providing a great service.”
Windows Azure offers fast time to market. With miiCard keen to develop its global service further, Windows Azure is the ideal platform. Varga says: “miiCard is an example of a new breed of startup, solving one of the biggest challenges on
the Internet—how to create trust.”
Microsoft helps startup face future challenges. Varga says: “Windows Azure is not just a platform for infrastructure—it’s a platform for innovation. Removing the traditional barriers to software development allows us to focus on what counts—great
experiences, benefits, and business gains.”
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