The Online Digital Signature Way

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10 June, 2015

It is hard to imagine that just a few generations ago, all our news and mail arrived in Australia or New Zealand by sail or steam. Finding out what happened in the world a few weeks ago was considered timely! Our world is now one where we expect to be able to communicate with people anywhere in the world instantly. We truly live in the digital age.

In the digital age we are all looking for alternatives to physically posting documents around the world to get them signed. It can take weeks to turn around and is quite costly. Emailing an electronic copy of the document costs almost nothing and will arrive instantaneously. Sending documents by email is quicker and easier but is it good enough?

Sending a document by email is really outsourcing the inconvenience of managing the paper to your customer. It becomes their cost to print it to sign. The customer then needs to pay the postage to return the hard copy. Alternatively they have to find a scanner to create a new electronic document they can return by email.

The bigger problem is that having a picture of somebodys signature decorating the document provides no meaningful authenticity or reliability.

The electronic document containing a picture of your customer's signature may have been scanned from a paper copy they physically signed. It could just as easily be an image someone pasted into the document. It may have been the customer who added the image to the document but there is no guarantee. Electronic signatures provide no authenticity.

The other problem is that the electronic document may have been modified after the signature was applied. A word or a whole page could have been added or removed from the document and the picture of the signature will still be there. Electronic signatures provide no reliability.

Fortunately, there is a very simple and inexpensive way to have the speed and convenience of email that also provides very strong confidence in the reliability and authenticity of the signed document. PKI based digital signatures can only be applied by the person invited to sign. They cannot be copied to another document. Any change to the document will invalidate the signature and it will fail the verification when the document is opened.

Secured Signing is a local digital signing platform that allows you to add your document and invite your customer to sign online. They receive an email invitation that includes a link, which they can use to review the document and sign with a personal X509 PKI digital signature. Two factors authentication is also available to provide stronger identity verification. Both you and your customer receive the digitally signed document by email, once the signing process is complete.

The signed document is completely self-contained and can be verified off line as well.  When the document is opened, the signature is verified automatically guaranteeing the document is unchanged since it was signed.

The great thing about Secured Signing there is there is no software to buy or download.  Everything happens in a standard web browser on a PC, Mac, iPad or tablet. You simply create an account and pay for what you use each month. You can even sign up for a free evaluation of the service so you can try before you buy.

Why use a decorative signature when the security of a personal PKI digital signature is just a click away?

Till next time,

Cheers, John


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