Digital Authentication: Understand The Concept & The Legislation

Digital Authentication – In organizations, document authentication configures an essential process in favor of the veracity, integrity, legality and privacy of information. 

Closing a business with a supplier or with a client can become a tremendous headache when we do not have supporting documents that confirm the business relationship. Mainly, if the other party is a complete stranger.

Undoubtedly, in business, you should not trust anything or anyone without having evidence that certifies the relationship and the closing of an agreement, among other transactions. And it is that, with technological advances and wide access to information, frauds are increasingly sophisticated and difficult to identify before they occur.

In these cases, authentication is the ideal resource to verify the integrity and security of the. When authenticated, the pieces can be presented before litigation facing the affirmation of a possible signature forgery. 

But this is just the tip of the iceberg !

Using the authenticity of documents as a probative mechanism is essential to bring more seriousness to negotiations and commercial practices.

Continue reading to find out about the process!

What is authentication?

Digital Authentication

Authentication is the practice of certifying something. The verb refers to the process of corroborating the legality or authenticity of a certain document, qualifying it as authentic.

But what is being authentic?

In general terms, we say that something is authentic when its veracity and security are confirmed. The procedure that qualifies something as authentic, we call it ” authentication”.

To guarantee that the user is indeed who they say they are, the system requires authentication through different security measures, such as the introduction of private credentials or biometric recognition.

In the event that the system or equipment confirms the identity of the person trying to gain access, the user obtains a positive response and can execute the actions that have been proposed. 

In the computer environment, authentication is closely linked to the verification of the digital identity of a user who tries to connect to a computer, a database or a specific system. In the legal sphere, the concept of authentication is quite similar: the action of verifying the identity and veracity of a signature or a document. 

And if we join the two approaches, what happens? Keep reading!

What is digital authentication?

When we send contracts and digital files with sensitive data, it is essential to guarantee the integrity of the information, mainly to protect the company and its customers. 

Authentication tools have promoted the detection of the veracity of documents in a simple, practical and highly efficient way.

Taking into account the definition, as well as the computer and legal approach to authentication, we can say that it consists of a valuable resource whose main objective is to ensure the identification of the authors of a specific record made online. 

This is important, as files sent over the Internet are susceptible to fraud or misidentification.

Thus, the authentication process carried out in the online environment makes it possible to identify the author and certify that the treaty has been generated by a duly authorized person. At the same time, it prevents fraudulent alterations and preserves the integrity of the organization.

Another very important aspect is that authentication delimits access to the pieces, thus encouraging only authorized users to enter the data, a fact that leads to a significant increase in information security.

Types of digital authentication

As we are used to most of the authentication procedures being carried out with the support of a notary, understanding the digital process can be a bit complicated.

It is a fact that disruptive technologies have given a 180° turn to corporate activities, and this includes the dynamics of contract authentication. But, in essence, how can we authenticate the identity and reliability of a document?

In practical terms, there are several ways to authenticate a digital document. Despite the specific differences, they all share the consideration of one or more factors with the intention of guaranteeing identity and secure access, as well as the integrity of the file. 

For the process to be sufficiently safe, 3 factors must be taken into account:

1. Authentication by knowledge

This factor implies the request, by the system, of some information that only the user knows, such as a password, questionnaires, ID number or PIN code.

In this way, the individual who wants to access a certain document or file must show that he knows and masters the predetermined information.

Due to its efficiency and level of data protection, it is the most popular and relevant method for digital authentication processes.

2. Authentication by membership

When using membership authentication, the reader needs to have an authorized device to access the information, such as a mobile phone, card, or token—a device that generates random passwords for a predetermined period.

3. Authentication by characteristics

Feature-based authentication is becoming more and more popular.

Known as biometrics, this method is extremely reliable and secure, since it uses the physical characteristics and particularities of an individual to access a certain document. 

As a result of the democratization of access to state-of-the-art tools, the different biometric mechanisms have become increasingly accessible and affordable. Among the main authentication resources by characteristics we highlight digital printing, voice recognition and iris identification.

Beyond the autonomy and individual efficiency of each method, the truth is that this process increases its credibility when used in conjunction with another type of authentication. This is even the reason behind 2-step or factor authentication

It is essential to point out that digital authentication can be carried out through 4 varieties of systems:

local authentication

Gives the application the ability to store user credentials. 

Despite the efficiency of this system, it is possible that the information is shared with other applications, thus impairing the security of password storage. 

This situation makes local authentication somewhat dangerous.

Centralized authentication

With it, the user can use the same credential to access various services. This is possible because, if the applications are different from each other, there is an interface projection capable of supporting the interaction with a central environment responsible for providing authentication for the user.

Centralized authentication allows the user to access private keys and, consequently, can sign documents in the electronic environment .

global authentication

The global authentication system is considered the most secure, since it allows the use of a set of security and digital identification solutions and services.

With the global dynamic, it is necessary to use 2 factors to access the functions of the application, as well as to sign the documents.

Centralized global authentication

This authentication infrastructure enables the unification of the available information, so that the user can quickly access the specific services they need.

Most common forms of authentication

After knowing the generalities of authentication and key aspects of its digital version, let’s continue to deepen the subject now by addressing the most common ways to authenticate documents in the online environment.

1. Access code

It consists of one of the most common forms of access. To succeed in the attempt, the user must have a preferably strong login and password that includes numbers, letters, and special characters. Likewise, it is important that the key has at least one capital letter, as this enhances its security.

2. SMS authentication

By applying this authentication format, the system requires the user to enter the code sent by SMS to the phone that he added to his record.

It works as follows: the user receives a code via cell phone and then points it on the platform or on the website they are trying to access. The reliability of the procedure derives from the fact that this code can be used only once.

3. Phone authentication

Authentication via telephone is extremely secure and practical. In this format, the system dictates the password to the user through a phone call. 

In the same way as the previous mechanism, the system code can only be used once and is not accessible to unauthorized persons.

4. Biometric data

As we pointed out in the previous section, biometrics, also known as biometric data, consists of the recognition of physiological characteristics. 

Each human being has unique characteristics and this is the essence of the biometric format: ensuring the inviolability of systems, equipment and files through unique features that cannot be falsified.

Among the main authentication mechanisms, we find:

  • facial, eye and digital identification;
  • hand geometry;
  • voice print.  

5. Identity verification

Digital identity authentication encompasses the combined use of device data, location, behavior, email account and other information that can corroborate the identity of the user.

Often this format is used to authenticate users who are logged in to an application or platform in real time.

It is important to emphasize that this type of authentication is very secure.

6. Digital certificates

The digital certificate allows a certain electronic process to follow all the security protocols, since it has a combo of relevant information, such as name, number and expiration period.

Under this format, the user accesses a private key that can be used both on the smartphone and on the computer to sign documents.

7. Email

During their subscription, the person must enter their email address in order to access the document they want to sign.

Then, he receives a message as a mechanism to confirm his identity.

8. Keys 

These are used to confirm the identity of an individual in the virtual environment. They consist of a key that must be registered at the time of entering a system or site. There are 3 types:

  • Public: It is created by a certificate authority and is available to any user. Provides an intermediate level in terms of security.
  • Private: Only a certain person has access to the key.
  • Symmetric: It is a key that is shared exclusively and only the authentication server and the individual can access it. To obtain it, the user must send a message randomly. You will then receive a cryptography of the secret key and be directed to an authentication server.

9. Token

The token consists of a device that generates random codes and keys that can be replaced in a short space of time.

Thus, it is positioned as a process that makes it more difficult for criminals to act, mainly because it can only be used once and its expiration ends in just a few seconds.

10. Services from other providers

Electronic signature platforms can be integrated with other systems. This makes it possible to use data from a certain access to ensure the authentication of the identity of the user or of a document.

11. Key question

Digital authentication with key question uses information from users to allow their access. In general, the questions are presented at the moment when the person is registering their access credentials on a site or platform. 

These questions, which serve to confirm the identity of the user, must be personal. Even the more personal they are, the greater the degree of protection of your account and your data.

Some sample questions are:

  • What is your favorite color?
  • What is the model of your car?
  • What is the name of your pet?  

12. Geolocation

Today, the location of users is also used to authenticate a document digitally.

In this way, in addition to helping to define where the file has been generated and if it has been modified elsewhere, the user’s location also makes it possible to confirm their identity, which leads to a much more secure authentication process.

Benefits of digital authentication

Digital authentication can completely change the routine of organizations, speeding up the approval of deals and the closing of deals, among other commercial and internal procedures.

But, ultimately, what are the benefits it brings to organizations?

Get to know them now by reading our list!

Security in negotiations

First of all, it is essential to emphasize the security of procedures, processes and operations. 

When we digitally authenticate a document through different dynamics, such as biometrics, tokens or electronic certificates, we reduce the probability that a malicious third party will access account, system or equipment information. 

Regarding the environment of an electronic store, authentications prevent fraud, minimizing the occurrence of purchases with other people’s cards and documents.

Another very good example of promoting security is the encryption of data from electronic signature platforms. Thanks to this protection mechanism, companies can send, receive and sign documents in a highly secure environment, thus suppressing access by malicious agents.

Costs reduction

By doing without a notary, since the process can be carried out 100% online, capital savings are a direct advantage.

Even through digital authenticationit is possible to considerably reduce expenses without affecting the quality of the process. This is because you no longer need to print documents or spend a lot of money with office supplies such as paper and ink, in addition to avoiding the costs of logistics services that deliver the documents that must be authenticated.

As you can see, authenticating the files in the virtual environment sets up a powerful benefit against the competition.

Increases the agility of processes

If we do without digital authentication, the process can become endless. It’s like going back to the time when computers were very limited and all paperwork had to be done in writing.

Thus, without this resource, the organization must prepare the document, print it and send it to the addressee so that they analyze and verify the veracity and integrity of the data.

In the event that there are inconsistencies or discrepancies, this document must be returned to the place of origin so that the necessary changes can be made.

Depending on the parties involved in the business, this process can take a long time, a very different situation from what we see when we use digital authentication.

This makes it possible to speed up the procedures in a surprising way, both by guaranteeing the speed in the exchange, adjustment and signing of the file, as well as by reducing the occurrence of easily avoidable human errors that can lead to the repetition of tasks and, therefore, the use excessive resources and corporate money.

Digital authentication in electronic signature

As you have seen previously, electronic signature platforms have digital authentication mechanisms, which allow the identity of the signatories to be ratified to validate the operation. To achieve this, they use various authentication alternatives such as:

  • email;
  • SMS;
  • key question;
  • biometrics;
  • digital certificates.

Regarding this last point, we must emphasize that the digital certificate grants complete legal validity to the electronic signature. This is because they provide the maximum recognition for their origin, since they are issued through a Certification Authority.

Thus, through the signature with a digital certificate, it is possible to confirm that the individual is who he claims to be and, consequently, the legitimacy and legality of a document.

But this is not all!

Authenticating the identity of signers in the electronic signature process encourages the mobility of people, so they can close deals and maximize the leverage of good deals wherever the parties are.

For example, if you are traveling with the intention of visiting a client and, suddenly, a lead (potential client) appears, an electronic signature software that has authentication mechanisms allows you to take advantage of the moment of genuine interest to close a very good sale. 

And so, instead of getting only one positive result (with the client you visit), you secure 2 new contracts for your business.

If we told you that the electronic signature also promotes sustainability, would you believe us?

Well, it’s true, this is the reality of those who adopt this tool!

By reducing the consumption of paper, the company begins its process of introducing the paperless culture into the organizational routine. Consequently, it buys less input, thus collaborating with the reduction of the emission of toxic gases.

Concern for the environment is reflected in its market positioning, as people are increasingly aware of the need to prioritize sustainable development and demand a collaborative stance from brands.

The legal validity of the electronic signature in relation to authentication

One of the main positive points of electronic signatures is that they have legal validity. This means that the signature and verification of the identity of a document in the digital medium make it possible to present a document in litigation.

Regarding legality in Mexico, the electronic signature, making use of identity authentication, is a process enabled by the Advanced Electronic Signature Law, published in January 2012.

The essence of the law consists in allowing any electronic document or data message to resort to authentication through the electronic mechanism.

The Federal Consumer Protection Law also recognizes the efficiency of electronic systems for consumers to electronically approve different types of transactions.

In addition to federal laws, several Mexican states have published internal guidelines that define and organize some points about this technology, such as Chiapas, Baja California and Mexico City. 

This panorama in favor of the tool reinforces the idea that it has become an extremely useful resource for the continuity and growth of the company.

Has it become clear to you that digital authentication is a valuable alternative that you cannot ignore?

The authentication of documents and files is a common procedure in companies, since it corroborates the identity of individuals and the identity of transactions.

In addition, using authentication to guarantee the reliability of the identity of the signatories and the electronic signature, more than a differential, is a powerful commercial, legal and financial advantage, since in addition to promoting credibility by virtue of legal validity, it promotes business and completely changes the corporate scenario.

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