Digital signatures must contain ID proofing and identity security

The extent to which digitisation can improve the quality of life for the business, its workforce and its customer experience is exponential, the writer says.
The extent to which digitisation can improve the quality of life for the business, its workforce and its customer experience is exponential, the writer says.
Image: 123RF/Weerapat Kiatdumrong

Digital signatures, in the wake of Covid-19, are a necessity for business, government and institutions.

Digital signatures are a fundamental tool for verifying the authenticity of documents, their signatories as well as enhancing the trust between parties. The extent to which digitisation can improve the quality of life for the business, its workforce and its customer experience is exponential.

Travelling is a big component for many top-level management, the ability to communicate and access documents, information and data across different mediums means your workforce is protected from the high risks associated with travelling these days. The push to utilise digital signatures is informed by a number of factors:

Accountability

It is essential to be able to trust all parties will keep to their commitments so business can proceed.

Firstly, any individual or entity that is anonymous cannot be held accountable, therefore it is a common business practice to conduct some level of identity proofing on customers, staff, suppliers and customers.

This step is a key element of reducing business risk. In most electronic signatures on the market today, there is no ID proofing step and this is something that has to be part of secure signature solutions.

The second element is to ensure that only the intended signatory can sign their name. Since passwords alone are weak security, it is important to add authentication to every signature, to protect against impersonation.

Electronic signatures that afford corporates high assurance and security offer ID proofing and various options of strong authentication. Finally, protecting the integrity of a company's data is one of the key benefits of secure digital signing. The protocols in secure or advanced digital signatures include trusted time stamps that seal the data and time of signature along with long-term validation of signatures, to meet corporate retention requirements.

The security of your data also reduces your chances of exposure to threat actors.

Through ID proofing and identity security, these high-assurance signatures are a way to make sure that the person in question is really who they say they are.

Environmental factors

With globalisation rapidly affecting global ecosystems, many have had concerns over increased consumption of products and what it means for the environment.

The evolution of technology has led to positive strides towards an environmentally conscious transition into efficient, digital resolutions as a counter to the wasteful practices that informed how we do business and how we live our lives. Developments in technology have made digitisation an unassuming ally in the fight against global warming.

Corporates are promoting virtual workspaces which means less resources being wasted. Digital signatures cut out the middle man, with documents being circulated in a secure, transparent network for signing, proofing, reviewing and editing.

The use of storage spaces for files, incorrect data capturing linked to human error and the costs, time and effects of transporting documents from one place to another are cut down. Ultimately, the environmental impact is reduced.

Customer experience

Customers want the option to interact remotely to minimise health risks through contact exposure, but also convenience by interacting when and where they feel like.

Digitisation has put the customers at the forefront of service by:

The convenience that comes with interacting digitally which leads to faster turnover in results; and

Removing administrative demands within a business. This gives more time to attend to the needs of consumers.

*Maherry is a chief solutions officer for LAWtrust, a leading cyber security company

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