A simple dictionary authenticate definition or authenticate meaning is to prove something to be true, genuine, or valid. When it comes to computing in particular, it means to have a user’s identity verified. The verification process works differently in different countries and with different software packages, but authentication ensures that data and documents are sent and received by genuine means. When something or someone is authenticated and verified, it means that fraud should not be an issue.
Perhaps even more importantly than grasping the idea of an authenticate definition is to understand how it can work in practice. Without knowing how it works, it can be difficult to choose a comprehensive and competent authentication method for any software packages you are considering.
The authentication process will mostly start when an application begins. Often that will begin with a password and username, so that it should be the case that only the person logging on can log in with those credentials. Sometimes that will mean Single Sign-On, while at other times, that can mean multi-factor authentication instead.
To then authenticate their identity, verification needs to take place. When it comes to electronic signatures, verification needs to prove that that signature was made by the actual signatory by checking the date, location and time all marry up correctly with the signatory. Verification processes in e signature software should also ensure that the signed document was in no way tampered with.
More robust verification and authentication processes of e signatures do exist, though. Often, software providers will create certificates, provide many levels of encryption once the document has a signature on it, and also run security checks. An audit trail of where the document has been and who it has been signed by also helps in the verification process so that signatures can be authenticated.
The concept of authentication has clear advantages. Without trusting e signatures or knowing that a software package user is who they say they are, any work that stems from contracts or those users cannot be trusted. If work cannot be trusted, it cannot be relied on to be correct, free from fraud, or really be usable in any way.
Authentication is crucial for our software to be usable. If we could not authenticate our customers in a robust and legally sound way, our software would not abide by the current European regulations in place that make e signatures trustworthy. If our signatures are not trustworthy, the contracts that they sign are not always enforceable. As a result, they cannot become the assets that we believe contracts can become. Contracts can help build respect for both parties on either side of it, which can strengthen relationships. Without a verified signature that has been authenticated, that becomes nigh on impossible.
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