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April 16, 2018

4 Ways to Make E-Signature Transactions Safer

By Special Guest
Bernadine Racoma, Day Translations, Inc

One of the main objections that companies have when switching from traditional paper contracts to digital e-signatures is security. Business owners want their information to stay safe and confidential, with only the appropriate clients seeing the contracts placed before them. Some managers worry that anyone could sign a contract with an e-signature, leading to company disputes and fraud. However, this is simply untrue. There are significant security features added to most digital signature software to protect all parties involved. Here are four ways your e-signature tools are actually safer than you think.

Signature Capture Validation

Signature validation is used across financial and legal industries throughout the world. From when you buy groceries with your credit card to when you sign your paycheck to deposit it at the bank, signature recognition ensures that you are the correct person to authorize the transaction or agreement.

Many e-signature companies provide the same service using the same technology.  Scanners will review the signatures of your clients to ensure the marks are those associated with those individuals or brands. If the signatures are mismatched or too different from what identity systems typically record, both parties will be notified of the problem. This is used to prevent fraud and confirm that the parties reading and approving contracts are fully aware of their actions.  

Knowledge-Based Authentication

Knowledge-based authentication is another security feature that most people are familiar with. In this case, the client will share information with the system that can be used to authenticate identity. Some electronic signature organizations know this trick as a "secret question challenge," or "shared secrets" to determine a customer's correct identity.

The secret questions might vary based on the level of sensitivity required for the information. Many government organizations require citizens to submit their social security numbers as proof of identity, while private companies might ask questions about a mother's maiden name or honeymoon location.

It's important to note that this information is never shared with the company or with the e-signature company, but rather is locked away and typically erased once the transaction is complete.    

One-Time Passwords and Two-Step Authentication

Many organizations create login credentials for the people who sign their contracts. These can range from a low-tech first name and last-name combination or email credentials to unique names and passwords that require authentications.

Increasingly, one-time passwords are becoming more popular. These codes are sent to specific email addresses or phone numbers and can only be used once to access the content. From there, the user can either change the password to something more permanent or request a new password every single time they log in. This prevents password hacks from people who successfully guess what the code is.

Additionally, one time passwords are particularly secure because of two-step authentication. By sending a text to your phone or email to a different address, you have to prove that you are the person trying to access the information. Even if your information is compromised and someone gets your password, the second step required to prove your identity will keep any unauthorized person locked out.

Recorded IP Addresses and Timestamps

When a contract is officially signed or even accessed by any party, the IP address and timestamp is recorded. Primarily, this helps track who is accessing the information and when, but it can also be a sign that the information has been compromised. If the IP address is unfamiliar or based in a country where the organization doesn't do business, it’s likely someone may have hacked into the document and accessed the content. This will send immediate red flags to the organization to secure the content or take necessary steps to protect the information.

While many people associate digital information with hacks and security breaches, these instances are actually pretty rare. The Internet has made business significantly more secure, which means people can reach agreements and share information with just a few clicks. By setting up these processes, you can ensure that your e-signatures are safe and your business is protected. 

About the Author: Bernadine Racoma is a senior content writer at Day Translations, a human translation services company. After her long stint as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her interest in writing and research. Like her poetry, she writes everything from the heart, and she treats each written piece a work of art. She loves dogs! You can find Bernadine Racoma at Google Plus, on Facebook and Twitter.

Edited by Erik Linask
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