Establishing User Identity for an Online Signature System
Ever since electronic signatures were legalized in all fifty states of the US, as per the integration of ESIGN Act of 2000 in the statutory framework, organizations have increasingly adopting the practice of signing documents online. These organizations are spread across different industrial sectors and have gradually started appreciating the benefits of deploying an online signature system for various reasons, including:
· It provides convenience to customers and clients to sign documents from a remote location.
· It makes the document flow efficient as organizations and businesses don’t have to delay the process, if the authority is not present on-site.
· It cuts business overhead cost by making the whole process paperless.
· It allows you to track the process of document flow. Employees no longer have to struggle with questions: “Have they received the document that I faxed them?” or “Which client is yet to sign the document that I emailed?”
However, erecting and implementing a reliable online signature system is only possible if a user identification protocol pre-exists.
What is User Identification Protocol?
User identification protocol is basically a process of curating information about the specifics of a client or a customer, which then helps an organization to establish and validate their identity. If an applicant successfully passes the identification protocol, further credentials can then be provided by the organization for future online processes (like signing documents online).
This specific user identification protocol emphasizes on the curation and validation of identity-based-information through remote means.
Why the emphasis on remote means?
This is to tie in with the whole concept of an online signature system. If you are providing the convenience of signing the documents from a remote location, then why call in your first time client or customer for a traditional on-site visit to help establish their identity? It is a subject that has been under intense consideration among organizations which are looking to deploy an online signature system.
The different options include:
This is the most basic way of establishing user identity for an online signature system. An organization can ask for uploads from the customer or client, like a picture or national ID documents. The uploaded documents can then be verified from an established database to ensure user identity.
An organization can ask a first time client or customer for their business or personal email address on which they can be easily accessed. This email address then serves as a basic identity claim of the customer and a validation link is then e-mailed to the provided address. Once the user clicks on the link, it helps validate their identity. Furthermore, an IP address could also be acquired once the person accesses the validation link from their email address, which may serve as additional information about the identity of the customer.
Dynamic KBA system basically uses information from credit reports and public records to validate the identity of the user. This is one of the most reliable methods of establishing user identity as the answers to the questions are almost impossible to access for an impostor. However, this method of establishing user identity is more often than not exercised in unison with a third party service provider. For example, an applicant may be asked to fill out a form online that requires information about previous loan details or current credit score. After the information has been entered by the user it can then be sent over to a credit reference agency for a review. This helps to validate whether the applicant is indeed the person that he or she is claiming to be.
Despite the plenty of benefits that an online signature system carries, it also offers an unaccounted veil of identity. Before issuing the credentials to a user for accessing organizations’ online signature system, it is important that an organization makes sure that the applicant is not an impostor. By erecting a user identification protocol, an organization can cover the loopholes in their online signature system.