The Online Digital Signature Way

A Digital Signature Blog


Month List

January 21, 2016

The era of internet and cloud computing is taking the information industry on a journey that mirrors Europe’s transformation from the medieval period to the Renaissance. Ensuring security and minimising risk is still important, but how that is achieved must change. Document level security provided by PKI based digital signatures ensure the authenticity and reliability of information independently of corporate networks and systems.

The Renaissance in Europe, fuelled by the free flow of ideas and new technology broke down medieval walled cities and created the modern city as we know it. Renaissance cities thrived on agility and reducing barriers to commerce - like gates that literally choked the number of people that could come and go inside a walled city. As the walls came down, the need for security did not go away but how it was achieved certainly changed. It became important to secure individual buildings, rooms and even strong boxes and safes rather than the whole town.

The same push for agility and flexibility means modern organisations must increasingly open up their networks and systems to engage directly with customers and the community. With this change must come a different approach to how information is kept secure. When documents are exchanged in electronic form, methods to provide simple, unambiguous confidence in the authenticity and reliability of these documents is vital.

Understanding the value of PKI based digital signatures and the risk of using signature images or simple electronic signatures is important in this context.

A digitally signature is invalidated if anything in the document changes. A digital signature cannot be copied to another document. The identity of the person who signed can be checked and objectively verified. The signed document is self-contained and standards based providing independence, long term reliability and portable security. Anyone opening the signed document can be confident it is reliable and authentic without needing to have access to your network or document management system.

The document centric reliability and authenticity you get with a PKI digital signature is a core capability for the information renaissance.

Every document signed with Secured Signing uses a personal PKI digital signature unique to the individual signing and the document being signed. People can sign anywhere, anytime and using any device.  There is no need to buy expensive hardware and software and commit to complex implementation projects.  You just create and account and pay for the documents you sign, when you sign them.

We’d love to answer any questions you have or discuss your specific needs. Please also feel free to register for a free account to try before you buy.

Till next time

Cheers

John


General

December 14, 2015

I am sure you agree it is a little hard to believe another year has slid by. As we at Secured Signing start to think about the holidays, spending time with family and probably eating too much, it is timely to cast a backward glance at 2015.

This year has been a great one!  We were out of the starting blocks early with a complete overhaul of Secured Signing released in January. Since then the pace hasn't slackened with a whole slew of new capabilities released. Our support for mobile devices is better than ever.  Invitations can now be rerouted to make sure the right person signs.  Security has been increased with the option of SMS for two factor authentication and the introduction of codes to sign. Your invitations and signing page can be branded with your logo and details.

With all those improvements delivered this year it is no wonder the development team are looking forward to some R&R!

There has also been much to celebrate in what our customers have achieved using Secured Signing. We heard from Don Thomas about how public notaries are making the transition to digital signing. In Balance Bookkeeping and Essential Bookkeeping reminded us that with online solutions small businesses can be in the forefront of the online revolution in how we work.  We welcomed The Recruitment Company to our growing list of customers in the recruitment industry. ATC Midwest and ASC Migration have both used online signing to conquer big distances between them and their customers and save time and money in the process. It was also great to expand the solution we deliver for H&R Block to include online police checks within their signing process.

As we turn our thoughts to the close of this year and look forward to next year, we take the opportunity to wish you all the best for the summer holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Til next time

Cheers

John


General

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


General

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


General

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.


General