by Paul Rudo on 27/06/12 at 4:25 pm
As cloud services enjoy greater adoption among both business and consumer users around the world, it has become increasingly necessary to focus on searing the data stored on remote servers in order to protect consumer information, business data, financial documents and records, and other valuable information. One of the leading ways that many people are seeking to do this is through the use of a cloud-based e-Signature solution.
Whether secured independently or offered by an existing cloud services provider, these secure signatures can help ensure the integrity of data every time it is accessed; they can also help to ensure that data is only accessed by those with explicit permission to do so.
The Four Components to Look for and Understand in a Safe Cloud e-Signature Service
Generally speaking, there are four major components to look for in an e-signature solution to boost security and data integrity. These four components, and a brief explanation of their utility, is as follows:
- User AuthenticationThe user authentication process involves the verifying of any user who accesses signed information. A good e-signature provider will double-check that the person has been granted access to a document or a series of files before even presenting them with the files they’re seeking. That’s the pinnacle of good security.
- Data AuthenticationThe integrity of the data contained in a signed document is just as important as verifying the user who claims to be the signatory. This is where data authentication comes in. A robust e-signature solution can verify the user accessing the data, and what data they are accessing, at the same time. This dual-source approach to validation ensures that no modification was made without the authorized user’s consent.
- Process ControlThe best way to ensure consistently secure access to any information is to control the process of verifying the user and the information they seek to protect. Process control refers to this behavior specifically, as it defines the act of actually creating an orderly verification process and conducting it the same way, every single time. The lack of variations during the identity and data verification process provides no room for errors or mishandled procedures.
- Process EvidenceThe e-signature cloud solution should present process evidence at the conclusion of the verification process. This simply serves to show what took place during the verification of the user, as well as the certificate signature process that identified them and granted them access. It should be the same every time, thanks to good process control, but it’s still worth reviewing.
No Federal Standard or Regulations for e-Signature Adoption
Though the United States government has passed a digitally-midned piece of security legislation known as ESIGN, the law is really vague when it describes the levels of security required for various applications. This is largely done on purpose, so that each industry can deploy the right kind of electronic signature for the job. For example, military-grade security is probably not the best idea for use when merely accessing personal files in a cloud-based storage solution, nor is a cloud-based certificate a good idea for deployment in financial environments online. The important part about federal legislation is that it does set some baseline requirements for online signatures and security verification.
The Best Way to Achieve Cloud-Based Peace of Mind
An electronic signature and the resulting certificates is the best way to ensure the long-term security of a website, process, or a selection of cloud-based files. These documents cannot be modified without some sort of visible error or notification and, once they’ve been modified, they immediately become invalid and access to all parties is revoked. That’s the best-case scenario for a cloud server under threat of hacking, and it’s why an absolutely airtight e-signature solution should be sought by both consumers and business users alike.