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

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