14 Nov 2023
by Lucie MacNeill

Digital Identity for Government: Defra Case Study

Guest blog from Lucie MacNeill, Product Marketing Lead at Condatis.

techUK eloquently notes the increasing need for robust digital identity solutions as transactions and services shift to online spaces and the economy continues to rapidly digitalise.

Condatis, a leading expert in Identity and Access Management (IAM), shares how their team helped the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) develop a common platform for customer identity that supports multiple Defra services whilst remaining compliant with Government standards.

The UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) has the responsibility of safeguarding the environment and fostering a sustainable and prosperous green economy in rural UK communities. Defra maintains extensive engagement with a diverse range of external users for its digital services, including European and international bodies, public and private sector organisations, academics and student researchers, voluntary and third-sector groups, as well as the public.

With such a vast interaction of stakeholders, Defra needed an identity solution that would reduce costs and repetition when authorising user access to multiple services with multiple accounts. Furthermore, the Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solution needed to seamlessly integrate with their sole identity provider, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Secure Credential Platform.

Working closely with the Defra team, Condatis developed a strategy to enable Defra to upgrade their current solution to support the migration of several new services into a Common Platform for Customer IAM, allowing them to provide a single touchpoint for all customers to manage their personal and organisational details and their service access rights. 

The strategy leveraged Microsoft Azure Active Directory B2C to provide a standards-compliant orchestration engine while retaining the existing Defra component responsible for applying complex business rules, protecting Defra’s past investment. This abstraction layer added identity providers and external data sources, extending the solution’s reach, and simplifying user relocation into a CRM. But the solution didn’t stop there. Condatis developed a component capable of receiving business-level events, equipping Defra with telemetry records, audit records and security events. The event tracking also enabled Single Sign on (SSO) across relying applications so users could sign into any available service with a single Defra credential and gain access to a different service without having to re-authenticate themselves.

Condatis applied this identical principle to aid Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) requirements, enabling a service to specify the necessary level of authentication assurance for individual user logins while also relying on the previously achieved assurance level within the ongoing session to ensure MFA security. 

By leveraging Microsoft’s robust digital identity solution, Defra was able to simplify its complicated ecosystem by consolidating user accounts to improve access experience, operational efficiency, and security. What’s more, adopting this cutting-edge solution ensures they have a system that is scalable, secure, and resilient as users and service numbers grow.

Microsoft Azure AD B2C was the right approach for Defra’s specific business problems during this time, but the need for digital identity is constantly evolving as new threats and user expectations emerge. Innovations such as passwordless technologies and verifiable credentials are the new wave of identity and access management solutions, all geared to support and protect organisations and economies.

Read the case study and benefits in full at: Defra Common Identity Platform | Condatis

Or watch Condatis CEO Chris Tate  and  Defra’s Enterprise Architect, Tim Skaptason discuss the digital transformation journey. For more information about Condatis, visit www.condatis.com or leave an enquiry at [email protected].

About Condatis   

Condatis deliver bespoke Identity and Access Management solutions leveraging Microsoft Entra. Our solutions are designed to simplify onboarding, enhance security, and boost business efficiency for clients globally, meeting business needs with precision and excellence.

We’re on a mission to empower organisations to accelerate growth in the digital economy using trusted digital identities. We believe that giving users control and transparency over how data is stored, shared, and managed can shape a world where trust between individuals and organisations is a reality.

As a Microsoft Solutions Partner, we enhance Microsoft Entra technology to offer practical solutions where IT infrastructure is complex. Our team of over 50 experts are skilled in streamlining systems to improve user experience and reduce overall friction, risks, and costs.


Lucie MacNeill

Lucie MacNeill

Product Marketing Lead, Condatis

Lucie MacNeill is Product Marketing Lead at Condatis, responsible for their decentralised identity service, Condatis Credential Gateway. With over 7 years’ experience developing brand and positioning strategies across companies such as Skyscanner and Flo Health, Lucie specialises in mission-driven marketing with her current focus; building trusted digital relationships.