Choosing a Secure E-signature Service
Security is paramount for every organization. Organizations invest a large chunk of their budget in the latest technologies to ensure the safety of their products or information.
Information security is especially important, that’s why organizations require competent IT and Information security departments that can protect the organization's data from theft, malware, or viruses, among other security threats.
In a bid to go digital and improve customer experience, businesses have incorporated the use of electronic signatures.
And with the widespread adoption of e-signature services, it has become the priority and responsibility of these companies to scrutinize their e-signature solutions to prevent security issues.
To keep your organization safe, you have to find an e-signature solution that offers the best security, among other requirements.
A secure electronic signature should comply with national and international regulations.
· Use the same e-signature technology for all signatures on a document. In the case of multiple signatories, use the same signature technology. A standard signature maintains the integrity of the information and the name, keeping the intent of the message intact.
· The e-signature service should capture the intent to sign at each signature. Specifying the approval of the information in the document by the interested partyforms a piece of crucial evidence in the audit of an e-signature.
· Every e-signature should track and record all the steps in the signature process to ease tracking of the document. Users can then observe different states of a report in a transaction through the audit process.
· You should attach an electronic signature to the electronic record signed. Each name should comply with the laid out standards. The independent verification of the signature should not depend on the website or electronic signature service for validation.
· A safe e-signature service should prove the integrity of the e-signature while establishing the association of the document using a document.
· It should provide Multi-Factor authentication. These authentications would involve the use of an email password or a mobile device to access the password. Higher risk documents may require higher authentication levels.
Always insist on a signed record, which is a portable, tamper-evident, and independently verifiable, to preserve the integrity of the signed document.
Your 2020 Security Checklist
Here’s you 2020 checklist for a safe e-signing tool.
1. User Authentication.
Before e-signing, the user is required to verify who they are, to maintain authenticity. A sound e-signature system should, therefore, give the user a way to prove who they are, which works in different ways.
User verification happens via email verification, where the site sends a unique link to your email address that you use to verify access. They can also send a code to your email that you enter in the website for verification.
Verification codes can also enter via text message where you get a one-time password, OTP, but the system has to clarify whether the service is free or whether charges may apply.
The system should also have the capability to allow for the configuration of different authentication methods in a single transaction.
The solution should also provide flexibility for adapting authentication methods to the risk profile of an organization, with the automation of each process.
2. Audit Trail.
The audit trail enhances the security of the e-signature.
If an e-signature system supports the integration of the e-signature, audit trail, and timestamp directly onto the document that has been e-signed, then that document tends to have an added security advantage over those that do not offer these capabilities.
The e-signature service should offer protection for the document and the e-signature. The report should also have a comprehensive audit trail that shows the time and date of each signature.
For more security, the e-signature service should offer the possibility of a one-click verification for both the signature and the document.
The service should provide offline availability of the signed certificate and unrestricted access of the material to all the individuals that were involved in the transaction.
4. Audit trail of the signing process.
The e-signature service should offer the customer a means to verify the audit trail and also to check the security of the e-signatures. The audit trail contains the date, timestamp, and the IP addresses of all the transactions that take place.
The audit trail should also clearly show the intent to sign in addition to any other prompts that may take place during the transaction.
In case of a security breach, the service should have measures in place that can combat the threat and neutralize it.
E-signed documents can be made available online or offline. Those available online are vendor dependent, and they cannot open without an active internet connection.
Independent reports, on the other hand, are accessible offline, and these tend to be more secure than online documents.
Those e-signed documents that are available offline can be verified and even stored without the access of the e-signature vendor, and are thus, more secure.
Independent documents also support verification of the material and even carry the audit trails, which make them secure despite the means of storage.
6. E-Signature Protocols.
There are several frameworks in place to dictate the creation and implementation of e-signature security protocols.
For example, SSAE 16 or SOC 1 is best suited for financial processing systems since its main focus is in financial reporting.
ISO 27001 shows that an organization can maintain an active Information Security Management System.
SOC 2 focuses on the assessment of technology and the processes behind the security of the service. SOC2 also offer an independent assessment of a company's control environment in terms of system security.
7. Labelling against Phishing.
Phishing tricks users into clicking malicious links in emails and other messages to download malware and provide confidential data to criminals.
White labeling your e-signature workflow minimizes phishing and impersonation, by posting your brand, and the brand alone, across the transaction.
While e-signature increases the security of online documents, it is also essential to ensure that the e-signature, as well as the report, are safe. It is, therefore, vital to find the best e-signature solution based on the checklist discussed above.
In preparation for 2020, consider these requirements putting them side by side with your organizations needs to determine the best e-signature service for your growing business.
Understanding the e-signature rules and the security checklist ensures that you get a safe way to sign electronically.