The Online Digital Signature Way

A Digital Signature Blog


Month List

March 31, 2016

You may have seen the news item recently that nearly half of our current jobs will be replaced by technology. It’s been a recurring lament since the first labourer was replaced by a steam engine.  At a personal level, the rapid transformation of the economy and work is certainly challenging but, from enough distance, there are jobs that no one misses.I doubt anyone who used to collect night soil buckets regrets sewerage systems replacing outside toilets.

The word ‘computer’ used to be a job title, not a name for a device. Before electronic computers, there were people whose whole career was manually calculating tables that were used by other trades and professions. Ships were literally lost due to errors in the manually created log tables used by their navigators.

Considering this broader sweep of history, I don’t feel bad about my personal campaign to make data entry jobs redundant. When our only option was paper forms, someone manually entering data from those forms into software systems was a necessary evil. There are now better options.

Many organisations have made a sort of dead end progress with electronic forms that can be completed on screen but then have to be printed to be signed and sent back. Considering someone still needs to manually re-key what has already been typed into the electronic form, it’s not really much progress. What is needed is proper online forms, integrated to our software systems.

Form Direct solutions from Secured Signing can be filled in and signed on any device using a plain web browser. Mandatory fields are enforced and data is validated as it is entered, ensuring forms are complete and correct the first time. The completed and digitally signed PDF of the form sorts out your compliance and record keeping obligations. But the game changer is you also get the data that was entered into the form. This can be supplied as a file that is uploaded to your system or, better yet, we can call your software in real time and load the data directly.

Posting the data entered into your online forms directly into your core business systems not only saves duplication of effort, it improves the quality of your data.

Do your bit to get a data entry person a better job! Get rid of your paper forms and fillable PDFs.  Get some proper online forms that give you a digitally signed record and post data directly into your core business system.

Til next time!

Cheers

John


General

March 3, 2016

Each time I install some new software I am asked to sign to agree to the software licence for that product. To do this, I click on the box that says “I Agree”. If you have read that last sentence carefully you may be thinking that clicking a box is not ‘signing’ a document. Surely there needs to be some process that mimics a physical signature on a piece of paper?

Not at all! Most countries now have some sort of legislation that recognises business will be transacted electronically. In Australia and New Zealand this is the Electronic Transactions Act.  The legislation lays down the requirements for valid e-signatures. These include being able to demonstrate the identity of the signer and demonstrating their intent. The other test is that the method used to sign the document is “as reliable as appropriate for the purpose”.

There is no need for any process that looks like a traditional signature. So, a tick box is a legal signature. With your software licence there is no option to do anything but agree to the standard document. For this case, a tick box is likely to be as reliable as appropriate for the purpose.

Beyond these absolutely standardised documents, the trick is knowing what you are agreeing to.

The Western Australian courts recently found that a series of email messages constituted a legally binding contract. No tick box in sight, just the send button - repeatedly. Of course it took a court case or two, and who knows how much money to get an understanding that there was a contract and what was agreed.

To avoid this complication in your life there is a better alternative. Signing electronic documents online using a PKI based digital signature gives everybody a crystal clear understanding of who is agreeing to what.

A digitally signed electronic document is better than a tick box, or a simple electronic signature, in two important ways.

The first is that the signature is tied to the document content. If anything changes in the document, the signature is no longer valid. This is usually checked every time the document is opened. The second is that the digital signature creates an irrevocable link between the signer and the document. The signature cannot be forged nor copied to another document.

In these ways, the PKI based digital signature is as reliable as appropriate for any circumstance. If it’s important enough to sign, then anything other than a true digital signature isn’t good enough.

Secured Signing allows you to sign, or invite someone to sign, your document or form with a personal PKI digital signature for the price of a stamp. Register for a free account and securely sign your first electronic document now.

Till next time

Cheers

John


General