Authenticating the User Before E-Signing Ceremony
In one of our previous blogs (How to Establish User Identity for an Online Signature System), we looked at the subject of erecting a complimentary user identification protocol for organizations that want to implement an online signature system. This blog is an extension of it. Here, we will be discussing different authentication options that can be utilized to make sure that the person e-signing the documents is indeed the authority who was validated during the initial user identification step. So let’s get started.
Method #1: Login Credentials
Login credential is the most widely deployed authentication standard that is practiced across the world. In this method, the validated user is provided with a username and a password. These credentials help the user to login a portal, where the document is stored, and e-sign it from anywhere and through any platform. This is not an entirely secure process, especially if the portal account of the user is hacked or an individual is forced to compromise the credential details, sharing it with an impostor.
Method #2: Email Authentication
Just like an email address can be used for validating the identity of an applicant, it can also be used for authenticating the identity of a registered user logging in to e-sign the document. If you want a document to be signed online, you can send an embedded link to the email address of the signer. Whenever the link is clicked, a unique ID is generated, based on the email address and IP address of the individual accessing the link. The recorded data can then be compared with the curated information to authenticate that the person accessing the link is indeed the user for whom it was intended for.
Both method 1 and 2 are often used in conjunction to provide a reinforced layer of security to the esignature process. You can automate link generation once the login credentials have been successfully entered, which is then sent over to the provided email address. As you can see, this two-step authentication process comes with an added layer of security and hence makes forgery.
Method #3: Comparing the E-Signatures
This method is applicable in situations where you already have a captured image of the electronic hand scripted signature of the user. It is usually obtained during the initial user identification step. Every time the signer e-signs the document, you can compare the signature with the captured image and analyze the authority. If you want to implement this authentication method, you need to make sure that the signer has a handheld device to draw the signature.
Method #4: SMS Authentication Method
SMS authentication method is usually deployed in unison with email authentication method. When the user clicks on the embedded link that comes with an email, they are transported to a portal that requires a pass-code to access the document that needs to be signed online. This pass-code is sent to the mobile number of the user (provided at the time of registration) via a SMS. On successfully entering the pass-code, the user is granted access to the stored document.
The world of e-signatures has loopholes, which can be exploited by cyber criminals. As such, it is important that you have a multi-layered user authentication system for your online signature facility.