Technology is constantly introducing the business world to new tools, processes, and analytics that transform the way people conduct business. However, many European organizations are holding back from pursuing further innovation because they are concerned about security or regulatory repercussions, in particularly when moving business processes online that require electronic signing.
Can eIDAS bridge the gap and stimulate innovation by providing a predictable regulatory environment that enables secure and seamless electronic interactions between businesses, citizens and public authorities? Or will it rather be just another regulation that hinders innovation?
When talking about eIDAS, it would be short-sighted to reduce its innovation potential to electronic signatures as such. What eIDAS does is, it regulates an end-to-end process, including the signatures and unique identifiability of signatory, certificates, assessment bodies, trust service provision etc. It further regulates legal value and admissibility in court. In the following we reflect the innovation potential in the light of such a legally regulated end-to-end process.
Many innovative processes are enabled by electronic signing processes
It’s difficult for companies to keep up in today’s economy without adopting some of the latest technology innovations that leverage further business innovations, such as electronic signatures. Just consider the convenience of closing a mortgage loan, applying for life insurance or opening a new bank account from your couch. However, when converting or redesigning paper-based processes into electronic ones, companies have to turn their attention on protecting their legal rights and minimizing the legal risk that may compromise the company.
The eIDAS Regulation provides the legal certainty that electronic signatures have the same legal status as traditional paper-based processes, even across borders. Thus, eIDAS revolutionizes the way that EU companies and agencies (especially those in highly-regulated industries) can do business and lays the foundation for new innovative business opportunities.
eIDAS legitimizes electronic signing processes
Electronic signatures are legally binding in the EU - that means that they will quickly become the new legal precedent and the standard for secure electronic verification. Not only does eIDAS mean that electronic signatures are accepted for official government business, but it also symbolizes that electronic signatures are sanctioned for use by all sectors, both public and private. In fact, the regulation actually states that this is the case and urges that Member States “encourage the private sector to voluntarily use electronic identification means under a notified scheme for identification purposes…”
Electronic signature usage will only continue to grow under eIDAS (in both the public and private sector), and this growth will enable and encourage innovation across the spectrum. As a legal regulation, eIDAS has removed major risks from adopting electronic signatures.
eIDAS offers agencies and companies the opportunity to grow their business models
Electronic signing processes save time and resources by eliminating mounds of paperwork and the administrative overhead that accompanies that paperwork. As a result, companies such as financial institutions can more easily broaden their customer reach. The effective processes allow scaling up business rapidly. The high level of automation allows to keep the own workforce limited.
This opportunity has even bigger implications for companies doing business across multiple EU nations. Compliance with region-specific regulations costs time and effort, and eIDAS eliminates one more obstacle by setting broader standards across country borders.
As organizations grow increasingly comfortable with electronic signing processes, due in part to the eIDAS regulation, they can more easily expand their customer base, explore new ways in which to operate or provide services and increase their revenue streams.
eIDAS paves the way for innovation
Overall, eIDAS provides a predictable legal framework for people, companies and public administrations to safely provide and access services and transactions online in a few clicks. eIDAS paves the way for businesses and citizens to use digital interactions as their natural way of interaction. This way, eIDAS spurs innovation and facilitates digital transformation. Digital signing solutions that comply with eIDAS provide innovators with the necessary technological and legal environment to automate and reinvent business processes that move beyond those discussed here.
- Selected articles on Digital Signatures (2014-16), by Ashiq JA, Guillaume Forget, Peter Landrock, Torben Pedersen, Dawn M. Turner and Tricia Wittig
- REGULATION (EU) No 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93/EC(2014) by the European Parliament and the European Commission