Amid mushrooming IoT device sales and attendant channel transaction growth, findings from a recent study raise serious concerns about just how effectively online businesses are able to safeguard their stakeholders’ digital identities.

A White Paper titled “The Economics of Digital Identity” was published by The Economist and authored by a team of experts at the Economist Intelligence Unit. In it, they reviewed findings of a 2015 study that surveyed 201 senior executives in North America. Industries represented in the study were manufacturing, finance, IT and technology. Executive-respondents came from sample split between companies with annual revenues under $1 billion, and those with $1 billion-plus. The report was sponsored by Oracle.

Report contributor James Ryan, managing partner and co-founder of Litmus Logic, is an expert in issues related to digital security. Mr. Ryan, who is Chief Strategy Officer for Cyber Security Summit, has directly contributed to formation of several industry technical standards.

Though online commerce channels are burgeoning as consumers adopt new devices, Mr. Ryan sees danger in outmoded thinking about how online identities are established and verified.  Regarding study results that asked executive-respondents how well their companies are positioned to manage digital identity security, Mr. Ryan cautioned about “optimism bias.”

While this growth represents opportunity for companies that get it right, risks are immense because, as the report points out, personal data are as valuable to cybercriminals as they are to business.

The report traces executive attitudes about current industry standards, and forward-looking data, as well. It covers digital identities used in both internal and external company environments, and use of third-party digital identity verification. The full report and appendix of survey results are available at The Economics of Digital Identity.