Most probably those using e. signature in any form can agree that it’s a convenient and simple solution to confirm the identity and sign documents. However, they can also agree that there are times – inevitably – when e. signature may have some disruptions which means that in that moment e. signature can’t be used.
Depending on the TSP, the outage time may vary but in any case, if a consumer faces it, the situation deranges person’s activities. This is one of the reasons, looking from a consumer’s side, why it is important to have several e. signature solutions that can be used in case of any blackouts.
Estonia’s case: security issue of ID cards
In 2017, Estonian government has come to a decision to revoke the certificates of 760,000 ID cards resulting in an inability to use e. services. The reason for this was that Estonian ID cards, residence permits, digi-ID cards and e-Residency cards issued as of autumn 2014 were affected by a security vulnerability, therefore due to security reasons, the cards couldn’t be further used for digital authentication and signing. All ID cards continued to function as identification documents, however, those who wished to use their ID cards in digital services, had to renew the certificates.
How was it solved? Within two months Estonian state with its partners managed to work out a solution for remote application to update ID cards. They also recommended people to apply for alternative eID tokens. This resulted that in the period of 5 months, the number of Mobile-ID subscribers has grown ~20% and the number of Smart-ID users in Estonia has grown ~100%.
Although the process of renewing the certificates went smoothly, it still caused somewhat of inconvenience and challenges for the consumers. So the main lessons learned were that it’s good for the end users to own several active e. signature tokens at the same time, meanwhile, for e. service providers it’s good to support different type of authentication/signing tokens.
It’s a great example and proof that it’s always better to be prepared and have several alternatives. Smart-ID app is one of the best choices. It’s as simple as mobile signature and serves for all the same purposes – end users can authenticate themselves and sign documents as well. Thus, in case one token is not working, the other one just might (and usually does).