SAN FRANCISCO, /PRNewswire/ -- Verizon announced an enhanced set of Enterprise Identity Management offerings that dramatically improves the way companies authenticate the identities of employees, partners and customers. This can significantly increase an enterprise's ability to fend off data breaches caused by ID theft and fraud.

    The enhanced suite of services delivers advanced protection and increased ease of use for enterprises grappling with how to best manage identity authentication. Verizon's unique solutions set – which is delivered "as-a-service" via the cloud – can help enterprises control costs and significantly reduce the complexity and risk associated with identity management programs.

The financial costs of ID theft and fraud to businesses and government are staggering ? estimated at billions of dollars annually. According to the 2010 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, nearly 90 percent of all breaches involve stolen or exploited identity credentials such as user names and passwords.

"For the most part, we have found that authentication methods used by enterprises today are either inadequate or difficult and expensive," said Peter Tippett, Verizon vice president of security and industry solutions. "Until now, there's been no single service that delivers a total-solution offering that includes the critical features -- such as registering users, providing identity proofing and issuing identity credentials ? required to truly meet the needs of today's enterprise."

Verizon currently manages 25 identity programs for countries around the globe, and in November the company announced a massive program with the U.S. medical community to issue identity credentials to 2.3 million health care professionals to help physicians manage online access and the secure exchange of confidential patient information.

The new offerings build on the company's existing enterprise identity services and include:

* Identity Registration – Self-service portal to enable online identity proofing and support for automated online knowledge-based assessments.

* Credential Provisioning – Provides multiple assurance-level authentication to  support a dozen authentication approaches, including one-time passwords sent to a mobile device, public key infrastructure, interactive voice response, hardware and software tokens as well as IP and geo-location mapping.

* Authentication --Risk-based transactional authentication via managed gateway authentication and managed federation services.

  The company also announced the creation of an Identity Advisory Board, which will give Verizon's enterprise clients the opportunity to work collaboratively in addressing their needs to better manage the identities of workers, increase transparency for transactions and strengthen data protection.  The board plans to synthesize the input received to create new features and capabilities that meet the requirements of today's distributed enterprise.