The Online Digital Signature Way

A Digital Signature Blog

Month List

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


13 May 2015

Now you look back, the effort you invested in adding fillable fields to your PDF forms might seem like a waste of time. The hope was that it would be a step towards making it easier for your customers to complete the form. In reality, fillable PDF forms are a bit of a dead end. Even though you can fill them on screen, they still need to be printed to be signed and returned.

In this last post in our series introducing the new capabilities of Secured Signing, well show you a way to turn your PDF forms into proper online forms by adding them to Form Filler.

For those of you just joining us, a massive refresh of Secured Signing was launched earlier this year.  As well as a complete update of the look and feel, we introduced a range of new features including:

     Improved support for mobile devices

     Rerouting of invitations

     Ability for an invitee to decline an invitation

     Options for stronger identity verification

Check out the earlier blog posts to learn more about these great new features.  The last of the big updates we want to make sure you know about is the ability to directly import your fillable PDF forms into Form Filler.

Secured Signing has always had great forms capabilities.  For simple forms, Form Filler allows you to convert your existing printable forms to forms than can be filled and signed online.  For more complex forms with internal rules and data validation, Form Direct allows us to build dynamic HTML forms your customers can complete and sign online.

With the new improvements to Form Filler, you can finally get a return on your investment in creating fillable PDF forms.  When you add your PDF form to Form Filler, it will recognise the existing fields and convert them automatically for you.  All you need to do is save your new form as a template and invite people to complete it and sign it.  No need to print!

Even better, the people you invite to fill and sign your form can do so on any browser on any device. This is really convenient for people using mobile devices that typically cant deal with PDF forms at all.

Give it a try yourself!  Click the Form Filler button, upload your existing PDF form and check out the results.  Dont yet have a Secured Signing account?  No Problem!  Register for a free trial account.

Til next time,

Cheers, John



15 April, 2015

This post continues our series on the all new Secured Signing with a look at the options available for stronger verification of identity. Secured Signing now gives you the option to use text messages as a second form of identity confirmation. Inviting people to sign documents online is much more secure and reliable, not to mention quicker and easier, than sending them by post. With two factor authentication, your confidence in who is signing your document is even higher!

When we send documents by post, we take it on faith that the person who signs is actually the person intended.  In reality, a physical address is usually shared by a number of people including all the members of a family or all the employees in a business. Sending an invitation by email, to sign a document online, significantly increases the confidence your document is being signed by the right person. For most people, an email address is personal, so only your invitee will have access to sign the document.

As part of our project to deliver an online tax file number (TFN) declaration for the Australian Tax Office (ATO) a second form of identity verification was required. To meet this requirement a text message (SMS) was included in the signing process to provide even stronger confidence in the identity of the person signing the declaration. Secured Signing is pleased to now offer two factor authentication as a standard part of We Sign to give you even greater confidence you have the right people signing your documents.

You have the option of enabling SMS in the My Account area when you log in to Secured Signing.  If you do so, the next time you invite someone to sign a document, each invitee will have a checkbox to enable the use of SMS for that invitation. For each invitee that has the checkbox ticked, you are prompted to supply the mobile phone number for that person. When the invitee starts the signing process they will be sent a code by SMS to the number provided. The code needs to be entered before the document can be signed.

Using SMS as a second form of identity confirmation greatly increases your confidence the person you invited to sign your document is in fact the person who signs it. This approach is a simple and common way to have people verify who they are. A number of Internet banking systems combine a traditional password with a code sent by SMS.

Next time you invite someone to sign your document online with Secured Signing, consider taking advantage of the extra peace of mind by using SMS to be doubly sure the right person is signing your document.  As always, if you need a hand be sure to check out the demonstration videos and the step by step instructions on the website. Of course you can always get in touch with our friendly support team for help too!

Till next time

Cheers, John


17 March, 2015

In this second blog post on the all new Secured Signing we will be covering some great improvements to inviting people to sign your documents online. Its a process we call We Sign.  Specifically, well be stepping through rerouting or declining an invitation to sign.

The person who will digitally sign your document is not always the person youve been talking to during the process of reaching the agreement. In the case of a significant purchase, the selection process and product investigation will have been with the sales team, while the final contract document may need to be signed by a more senior executive. In this case, We Sign now provides you with the option of allowing your invitees to reroute the invitation to sign.

You choose whether your invitees are able to reroute or decline their invitation. Clicking the reroute button in the invitation email will prompt the invitee to provide the name and email address of the person who should sign the document. That person will then be issued with a new invitation to sign. Of course the rerouting is recorded in the document log for complete transparency of process.

If your invitee clicks the decline button in the email, they will be asked for the reason they are declining to sign.  This will be recorded in the document log.

Anytime an invitation to sign is rerouted or declined, the document owner will be notified of the changes by email.

One of the great benefits of working locally with our customers is hearing firsthand how we can improve Secured Signing to make their work life easier. The people we work with in procurement and contracts in particular, will welcome these enhancements to We Sign to make it even simpler to get their documents signed online.

The options to enable rerouting or declining are managed under My Settings in the My Account page once you are logged in to Secured Signing.

Next time well continue our tour of the new capabilities of Secured Signing with a look at using SMS as a second form of identity verification.

Til next time,

Cheer, John


26 Feb, 2015

Last month we launched a major update to Secured Signing with both a dynamic new look and feel and a bunch of new features.  Everything weve done with this upgrade is informed by talking to people across Australia and New Zealand to understand how we can make their work life simpler.

This is the first in a series of blog posts that will step through everything that is new and shiny with Secured Signing, the PKI Digital Signature platform. Were really happy with how its turned out and we dont want you to miss anything!

This post highlights the contemporary, flat design that youll notice as soon as you hit the front page. The new design reflects the current move to simpler, cleaner presentation that emphasises clarity over ornamentation. But the beauty here is more than skin deep.

Secured Signing now uses a dynamic layout or responsive design. With a responsive design, things dont fall off the right edge of the screen, or end up so tiny as to be unreadable on smaller screens. Instead, the layout changes dynamically keeping everything between the edges of the screen and easy to read.

The value of the responsive design is most noticeable on mobile devices avoiding the need to pinch to zoom. Secured Signings standards based approach means that the service has always worked well on mobile devices. The responsive design of the new site makes it even easier.

We know support for mobile devices is important to our customers. For example the feedback we received from H&R Blocks District Managers was that being able to sign documents immediately, wherever they were when the invitation arrived, avoided massive backlogs of documents that ate into their weekends. So improving the Secured Signing experience on mobile devices was a key priority for the redesign.

Next time well look at the Reroute and Decline options weve added to the We Sign process. If you cant wait, you can always check out the How It Works pages and get a sneak peek!

Till next time,

Cheers, John.