The Online Digital Signature Way

A Digital Signature Blog


Month List

August 31st, 2016

Secured Signing customers across a range of industries have been able to wipe out the costs and time lost to manually recording compliance with their consumer protection obligations.  Implementing a tailored signing workflow allows them to demonstrate process based compliance.

Consumer protection is a good thing. When we are buying something it is great to know that there are rules to make sure we get a fair deal. One form of consumer protection is making sure the purchaser is aware of their rights. Someone buying something or signing up to an agreement may also have a cooling off period in which they can cancel the transaction without penalty.

For businesses, complying with these consumer protections can be costly and time consuming.  They key thing is being able to demonstrate that the customer was made aware of their rights, or provided the required documentation or that the transaction was not processed until after the cooling off period. The traditional approach has been to have checklists or acknowledgements that the customer needed to sign. For cooling off periods, a manual process to log dates and times and set reminders to proceed to the next step are required. All of these manual, often paper based processes waste staff time and create risk if they are not diligently followed.

Moving to what I call process based compliance can remove this costly overhead from your business. Some examples will help explain.

For customers in the financial services industry, Secured Signing have delivered tailored signing workflows that display all declarations required by their legislation. Before the customer can sign the document, they must first acknowledge these notifications. Having this process based compliance makes it easy for these companies to demonstrate that the customer simply cannot have signed the agreement without being advised of their rights.

Automated cooling off periods have been included in the online enrolment solutions Secured Signing has delivered for the education industry. On completing the application form, a letter of offer is automatically generated, immediately signed by the applicant and their details written directly to the student management system. The workflow then waits the mandated 48 hours before inviting the student to complete the loan application. The time stamp of the digital signature in the letter of offer will always be at least 48 hours earlier than the time stamp of the digital signature in the loan application form.

Both these examples demonstrate how having compliance requirements built into your signing workflow and enforced by Secured Signing, delivers a process based compliance that is automated, highly reliable and avoids wasting staff and customer time. With the increasing regulation applicable to all industries, the wasted effort and cost in traditional approaches to demonstrating compliance will continue to rise. Now is the time to make the change to online signing with compliance baked into the process.

Contact us to find out more about a process compliance solution specific to your needs.

Till next time

Cheers, John


General

August 1st, 2016

Giving your people a simple way to securely sign documents online is a key capability in equipping them to be mobile and agile. Online signing that delivers a personal, PKI based digital signature is the only way to ensure authenticity and reliability for your signed documents.

In the post industrial world we have the freedom to work wherever we want. At least this is the promise of mobile computing. It is a stark difference to the industrial world where steam engines gave rise to mechanisation. The power of steam reduced the physical load on workers, but the trade-off was you had to go to the machine to be able to work. And thus the factory was born along with the time suck that is commuting. For office workers, paper files, face to face meetings and expensive office equipment were the equivalent of the steam engine forcing people to go to work to be able to work.

Portable computers, the digitisation of our everyday work tasks and the ability to remotely access corporate information systems mean that many people can now do their work wherever they happen to be. Mobility promises flexibility and less time wasted commuting. Yet the vast majority of people are still travelling to increasingly crowded cities, to an office, to work from 9 to 5. There are still a number of reality checks when it comes to realising the promise of mobility.

For some people, the camaraderie and social interaction in their workplace are important. It is also fair to say that management approaches are often still rooted in the industrial context in which they were first devised. Many organisations still have procedures and tools that have not been revised to take full advantage of the computing tools available, mobility in particular.  

Executives may be able to check their email while off site at a meeting or conference, but they need to return to the office to sign any documents that require their approval. Field staff may be able to access corporate data remotely and record inspection details on screen, but they need to return to the office to print and sign an inspection report. Participants in a procurement evaluation may be able to instantaneously collaborate on a selection report, but the final copy will take days to work its way through the internal mail for each of their signatures.

Online signing allows your team to be truly mobile and agile. Personal assistants can invite executive staff to sign documents, wherever they are, to create a true electronic original. Field staff can finalise their work without the overhead of trips back to the office. Teams can finalise reports, bids and other documents without the delays inherent with paper.

Your choice of online signature provider determines the reliability and authenticity of your signed documents.  Secured Signing gives every signer a personal, PKI based digital signature. Their signatures cannot be forged or copied to another document.  Any change to the signed document will invalidate the signature. Online digital signing is as easy as physical signing but gives you the immediacy of an electronic original and the confidence of a signature that can be independently verified offline.

To see how simple it is to sign a document online with the security of a digital signature, try a Secured Signing freeway account. 

Til next time

Cheers, John


General

June 23, 2016,

There are many, many people who love the simplicity and speed of Secured Signing just as it is.  For quite a few of our business customers though, they are seeing even greater time saving and convenience by integrating Secured Signing to their core software system. This post explores the myriad of ways you can integrate Secured Signing to the software you use all day, every day.

The first and simplest option is using Smart Tags. If the documents you sign with Secured Signing are generated from your core system, why not take a few minutes and modify the template so those documents become Secured Signing ready. The Smart Tag documents your system generates can be added to Secured Signing in batches without any need to position signatures.  It’s a great time saver!

A Smart Tag is simply some text within the document that Secured Signing recognises as a marker for where a signature should appear and who needs to sign. Check out the Smart Tag demonstration videos in the How It works part of the website - http://www.securedsigning.com.au/support/demo-videos.

Another popular integration is completely avoiding the time suck and boredom of data entry by plugging Secured Signing’s Form Direct into your core business software. This also means your data is free of keying errors and updates are processed without delay.

If you’ve used Secured Signing Forms, you know they are great for enforcing mandatory items and making sure you have a complete form filled and signed the first time - all with no paper!  Form Direct provides additional capabilities like dynamic form elements that hide questions most people don’t need to answer, as well as data validation and lookup.

Did you know, that as well as a signed form, Secured Signing Form Direct can also return the data entered into the form. For some customers we supply the form data as a file they can use with an existing upload process in their software. For other customers, we write the data directly into their system to create and update records automatically - no data entry!

And finally, the pièce de résistance - the Secured Signing application programming interface or API!  Closely integrating your core software system with Secured Signing gives you access to the full range of online signing capabilities without leaving the system you use day in, day out for maximum convenience.

Check out the Connectors page to see if an existing integration is available for the software you use. If not, get in touch and we can start the conversation about your needs and the integration capabilities of your system.  If you are a developer looking to extend your system with secure PKI digital signatures, check out the resources on our Developer page - https://www.securedsigning.com/developer/api-documentation

Till next time,

Cheers

John



General

June 7, 2016

Reading that heading, you may be confused that there is even a difference between digital signatures and electronic signatures. That is hardly surprising given how often the terms are used interchangeably. In truth, there are significant differences between the two.

To look at these differences, it is useful to be clear about what we want from signing a document.  When something is so commonly used for so long, it’s likely you’ve never really stopped to think about what a signature should do.

When a paper document is signed with a traditional wet ink signature, there are two things happening. The first is we are demonstrating proof of our identity. The size, shape and style of my hand written signature was evidence that the only person who could have signed the document was me. It made the document authentic.


The second thing was making the document reliable. Once my signature was applied to a document, the contents of the paper couldn’t be easily altered. If a new, slightly different document was created, my signature could not be copied to it. I would need to sign the new document to give it authenticity and reliability.


Electronic signing is a very broad term that covers any electronic method to indicate agreement.  Clicking a check box to agree with the software licence terms when you install software is a form of electronic signing. For most people though, electronic signing is about adding a representation of their hand written signature to an electronic document. This could be achieved by signing on a touch sensitive screen, sometimes referred to as signature on glass. The image of the signature may be placed in the document by using an online signing service. Or it could be as simple as copying a picture of your signature into the electronic document.


How well do electronic signatures pass our tests for authenticity and reliability? In the digital world, anyone with access to a scanner, which is pretty much everybody, can create a copy of your signature and place it in a document. If I receive a document that contains an image of a signature I can easily create a new document and transfer your signature to it. There is nothing about the signature image which prevents me from modifying the document with your signature remaining.  For these reasons, electronic signing provides limited authenticity and reliability.


For a signing process to be properly called digital signing, it must use the PKI standard. Each digital signature is unique to both the document and the person signing. It cannot be forged or copied to another document.  Any changes to the document will invalidate the signature. Think of a digital signature as an electronic signature that also seals the document’s content to provide the highest authenticity and reliability available.


Online digital signing is as easy as electronic signing but gives you a document that can be independently verified offline. You don’t need to rely on the signing service to validate the document and they don’t need to keep a copy of your document.

To see how simple it is to sign a document online with the security of a digital signature, try Secured Signing freeway account.  For the curious or technically minded we also have a lot more detail about how digital signing works at http://www.securedsigning.com/resources/intro-to-digital-signatures.

 

Til next time!

Cheers

John


General

May 3, 2016

In my opinion, eSignatures are easily the most innovative, efficient and cost-effective method of digitally signing online documents – everything from PDFs through to Word files. The wonder of these digital signature solutions is that they can attest to the validity and authenticity of both online and offline forms across industries that include the insurance, real estate, education, and local government sectors, as well as many others. A SaaS platform enables number of parties to sign legally binding digital papers such as application forms and corporate invitations in a mere matter of seconds: this significantly cuts down on 'administrative busywork' – something I'm sure no-one enjoys doing.

By using the latest in PKI technology, eSignatures offer users secure and easy-to-use solutions that digitally link a signatory to their signature. This guarantees total accountability for every document signed. Specialised cryptographic processing accurately detects any changes made to a signed document, effectively maintaining its data integrity. The beauty is: documents and their digital signatures can be authenticated and signed through online cloud-based services from a home or office computer.

This proves especially useful when it comes to working with the highly sensitive material of finance and legal firms. Through the use of secure and traceable encoding, the signing of extensive online documents by multiple parties is efficiently streamlined into a simple, almost instantaneous process. This advanced technology effectively boosts a business's administrative functioning by cutting down the number of clerical errors and reducing the amount of time spent on notarising vast stacks of work – not to mention serving as an eco-friendly way of quickly signing papers from anywhere in the world. As well as allowing users to sign numerous, verified forms in seconds – be it a loan application, leasing agreement, or follow-up transaction – eSignatures also make it easy to manage a traceable yet paperless archive for stress-free auditing. Ultimately, the benefits of using digital signature solutions are exhaustive – who wouldn't choose increased productivity over ineffectual labour?

Til next time!

Cheers

John


General