The trees never grow into heaven

This morning most of digital Denmark was closed. You couldn’t do anything at the online bank, you couldn’t do much at public sector websites and you couldn’t read electronic mail from your employer, pension institution and others.

It wasn’t because someone cut a big cable or a computer virus got a lucky strike. The problem was that the centralized internet login service had a three hour outage. It was a classic single point of failure incident.

In Denmark we have a single sign-on identity solution used by public sector, financial services and other organizations. The service is called NemID (Easy ID) and is based on an all-purpose unique national ID for every citizen.

As more and more interaction with public sector and financial services along with online shopping is taking place in the cloud, we are of course more and more vulnerable to these kind of problems.

The benefits of having a single source of truth about who you are became a single point of failure here.

Well, we have this local saying: “The trees never grow into heaven”. All good things have their limit. Even in instant Identity Resolution.

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