The Online Digital Signature Way

A Digital Signature Blog

Month List

November 26, 2015

Even the folks that run the postal system agree that the daily letter service is increasingly looking like an endangered species. If you can no longer rely on traditional post to communicate with customers, digital signatures become a vital tool in providing authentic and reliable electronic mail. 

As part of a recent webinar we delivered, participants were polled about their interaction with the postal system. The results bore out the doom and gloom predictions for traditional postage services. More than 1 in 2 of the participants had sent less than 1 or 2 letters in the past year while more than 4 out of 5 had sent less than 1 letter a month for the same period. That leaves less than 1 in 5 people as regular users of the postal system.

When asked about their communication preferences, nobody said they would prefer to receive letters from the companies they deal with. A few said they preferred communication by phone. Not surprisingly, more than 90% indicated email was their preferred method of communication.

With so many of us not sending letters and not wanting to receive them, it is no surprise that postal services the world over are looking at the sustainability of a daily mail service and increasing the price of stamps.

While casual communications may be fine sent as an email, there are many business transactions that require more authenticity and reliability. When purchasing significant items, a contract document that both parties agree is reliable is vital. When bringing new employees on board it is vital the declarations they sign and the information they provide is demonstrably authentic. When governments provide advice, reach decisions and issue approvals, the applicant must be confident the document is authentic and the agency needs confidence the outcome cannot be misrepresented.

In all these case, people have turned to digital signatures to deliver the authenticity and reliability necessary to communicate with customers and the community electronically. If an organisation is using standards complaint, PKI based digital signatures, they can objectively verify their signed document has not been tampered with. People receiving a digitally signed electronic document can be confident the document is authentic and can be relied upon.

Don’t wait for the traditional mail service to cease before you make the move online. Your customers and community are waiting for you to stop sending them letters. Just make sure you make your transition to electronic mail secure, reliable and authentic!

You can sign documents online with Secured Signing for less than the cost of a stamp. Try it today for free!

Til next time

Cheers, John


15 October, 2015

The 1993 film Groundhog Day found the humour in Bill Murray suffering through the same day, over and over, and over again. When customers send in forms that are incomplete and you have to send them back to be submitted again, it can start to feel like Groundhog Day. 

One of the best things about moving your forms online is that they are much more likely to be complete and correct, the first time. This not only saves time and money but reduces the frustration for everybody involved. Here are some of the tools we can use to get your forms complete and correct the first time.

Online forms can have mandatory fields. I’m sure you’ve seen those red asterisks and know you simply can’t progress until they are all complete. A form that is complete the first time is a big step towards avoiding having to send it back around the loop.

Data lookups help to reduce the simple errors that arise from a slip of the fingers. If a customer needs to supply their banking details, a look up of the BSB number means errors can be fixed before submitting.

Data validation is another tool to ensure the form is not only complete but correct. This can be as simple as checking something is the correct length. For example, phone numbers can be checked to make sure they have the correct number of digits.  It can also include making sure something like email addresses are in a valid format and have no spaces.

The other joy of online forms is no more data entry. We can send back to you not just the completed form but also a data file. You can use the import tools in your back office systems to load the data, or use Secured Signing’s API, or our Salesforce integration. This avoids both the waste of effort and the risk of errors that arise from rekeying the data off the form.

However, the need for forms to be signed has been a stumbling block for many in getting their forms online. Secured Signing’s Form Filler and Form Direct solutions combine the advantages of online forms with the unmatched security and compliance of a personal, PKI digital signature.

Form Filler and Form Direct allow you to get the information you need from your customers with the maximum convenience for everyone without cutting any compliance corners.

Let’s talk about your forms today!

Till next time

Cheers, John


15 September, 2015

Do you still have your very first email address? From memory my first email address came with dial up internet access from a service provider called PowerUp. That company has long since ceased operations. It is a fact of life that companies come and go. 

Nowhere is this more true than in the rapidly changing landscape of information technology and the internet in particular.  If youre old enough, you may remember chatting with friends on ICQ and sending them a link to a great new website you found on Alta Vista which they could browse in Netscape Navigator on their Gateway PC.

When you sign up for any online service, understanding where you will be left if they arent around any more is important. One of the things I love about Secured Signing is that we give you complete independence in e-Signing. 

Every document you sign with Secured Signing comes back to you with personal, standards based, PKI digital signatures.  Everything you need to verify those signatures next week, next year, next decade is contained within the document. You dont even need to be online to verify the signatures. Just start up any PDF reader that supports the digital signature standard and you can check the document has not been tampered with and verify the identity of the signers.

Not all electronic signatures give you this degree of independence.  Some e-signature services rely on keeping a copy of your document to be able to prove the validity of the signature. They may also use proprietary methods in their signatures that are supported only by their software. Clearly this creates a high degree of dependence on that company and their service to prove the reliability of your signed documents. Having a copy of your document retained permanently on a system you dont control may also have implications in terms of privacy legislation.

An independent e-signature service that uses public standards means you can be confident in proving the integrity of your signed electronic documents in the long term. It also means you arent locked in to continuing to use a specific service.

Signing documents online is so much quicker and easier and saves you time and money. Just make sure the service you choose offers you the independence you deserve!

Till next time

Cheers, John.


8 July, 2015

As a Secured Signing customer you can brand both your invitation emails and the signing page your customers see when they sign. It is a great way to reinforce your brand image and give your customers confidence to eSign online.

The invitation to sign a document will often follow some contact from you. Having a logo the customer recognises at the top of the email helps them recognise the invitation as the document they were expecting to receive. When they click the link to sign, seeing your familiar logo is further confirmation they are on the right track to quickly and easily signing your document online with a secure digital signature.

Many Secured Signing customers also take advantage of email templates to provide specific instructions and information in the invitation email. Of course you can also attach documents that do not need to be signed to the invitation email.

A recent change has been to extend the branding options to include the signing page in We Sign process. When your customer clicks the link in the invitation email, the signing page is what they see next. The new We Sign branding option allows you to add your logo and a link to your website to this page.

Setting up your email and We Sign branding is done with a few mouse clicks in the My Account page. Click My Settings and youll see a Branding option.

Turn on the email branding and then click the Email Branding button. You will be prompted to add a logo and then stepped through options to position the logo, provide your website details and the sign off to be used at the bottom of the email invitation.

Similarly, enable the We Sign Branding first and then click the We Sign Branding button. Upload the logo youd like to use on your signing page and provide your website details.

All Secured Signing accounts are able to tailor email invitations and the We Sign signing page with your logo and your website details. It is quick and easy to setup!  So log in to Secured Signing now and go to My Account  My Settings and Branding to get started.

Till next time

Cheers, John.



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