28 June, 2012
“In a networked world, trust is the most important currency.” Eric Schmidt
Cloud computing represents a major transformation in the way companies leverage information and appeals with its offer of a one-stop-shop, cost-effective, hassle-free, and efficient business environment. Acting Deputy Director General of Information Society and Media for the European Commission, Megan Richards, emphasised during her speech at the Cloud Computing World Forum conference in London (15 June 2012) the sizable market and ever growing trend that is expected to reach 11 billion in revenue by 2014, representing 3.6 percent of the total IT market.
Nevertheless, the cloud’s birth and existence has challenged, and still does, one of the crucial components in any type of relationship – trust! From a ‘face-to-face’, on-premise, product-based, controlled IT business environment, to externally service-based sourced operations. In his book The Big Switch, Nicholas Carr shows an historic analogy that brilliantly reflects the effects of a similar significant shift that took place in the 19th Century: the evolution of power plants. At the time, companies who usually generated their own power from in-house steam engines and dynamos, have gradually plugged into the cheap power that was generated from newly built, professionally run, centralised electric grid of electric utilities.
Trust in cloud computing, or concerns over it, refer to the characteristics of the technology (reliability, security) as much as to legislation, governance, and organisational issues. While some aspects can be overcome only by government legislations and regulations, or are associated to the psychological, behavioural, and technical customer’s ‘time-of-adaption’, others are directly linked to practices and steps taken by the cloud provider.
- Security - When communicating sensitive documents for signing purposes in the Cloud, comprehensive security measures have exceptional importance. The Secured Signing’s user-based PKI digital signature technology provides each user with a unique digital ID (signing key) that is accessible only to that user. The system instantly seals the signed document, and any changes made invalidate the signatures. Furthermore, users have the ability to verify their signatures offline any time at their desktop / mobile device, or at the Secured Signing’s Free Verification Service.
- Reliability - Business reliability is an essential indicator of the attitude, actions, and results derived from a service. Continuous setting of goals, ongoing development, and regular quality evaluation and monitoring are at the heart of the Secured Signing digital signature cloud service. Constant online signing performance assessments and follow-through processes ensure customers’ satisfaction: “The Secured Signing solution impressed us instantly with its high level of security, capabilities, and seamless implementation” Gadi Hadar, Managing Director at Asia Pacific Easy-Forex.
- Open communication – The fundamental shift in human communication behaviour requires cloud services to acknowledge and respond to their digitally aware clients. Successful communication is associated with trust and influences brand loyalty that will guarantee commitment of even geographically dispersed customers. With the apparent value of multiple ways for communicating (via e-mail or direct phone with the service provider), it’s the prompt, approachable, and responsive service that creates the difference: “Secured Signing was very fast and responsive whenever we asked for something. Their customer service is amazing.” Kym Volp, Queensland State Manager, Evolve Scientific Recruitment.
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30 May, 2012
A recent article by Michael Foreman (24 May 2012) highlighted issues discussed at the latest IBM annual Impact conference in Las Vegas. He quoted keynote speaker Marie Wieck, IBM’s General Manager of Application and Integration Middleware, who in her presentation, stressed that new technologies including cloud, social, and mobile, create “a new set of external stakeholders” that are essential and beneficial to any business, and should be responded to with a joined dialogue. Wieck presented IBM’s survey of more than 700 CIOs, which revealed that 75 percent of them are currently engaged in the development of mobile strategies. She concluded saying: “it’s time to rethink IT and reinvent business.”
Secured Signing’s digital signature service does just that! It has reinvented the online signing process and introduced Form n’Go, a mobile compliant application of advanced electronic signatures. Secured Signing’s Form n’Go enables users to invite signatories to promptly fill-in any type of document and sign online from their mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, and Android) whether they are at work, at home, or on-the-go. In addition, it offers an innovative locator functionality that identifies the precise location of signatories, and adds an extra layer of security and assurance. The secured user-based PKI digital signature technology seals the document instantly after an invitee eSigns, and automatically e-mails it in a PDF format to all parties involved.
Ted Schadler, John McCarthy, and All from Forrester Research wrote in a recent report that “By 2016, smartphones and tablets will put power in the pockets of a billion global consumers. Mobile is not simply another device for IT to support with a shrunken website or a screen-scraped SAP application. Rather, mobile is the manifestation of a much broader shift to new systems of engagement. These systems of engagement help firms empower their customers, partners, and employees with context-aware apps and smart products.”
Secured Signing’s Form n’Go is a manifestation of just such successful engagement.
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18 May, 2012
The use of electronic technology in the legal profession is not new. Large and small law practices are using computers for legal research, management of client cases, and tracking of working hours, as well as exchange of relevant disclosed information including police / medical / financial reports. Nevertheless, even today, dealings with legal representatives require a large amount of paper handling for all parties involved.
Georgina Dent’s article in the Financial Review (10 May, 2012) explored the transition to electronic processes with legal corporate practitioners who identified and acknowledged the additional advantages of using the advanced technology, among them the streamlining of transactions, improved communication, accessibility, and simpler and shorter business processes. However, they also identified the need for more formal reforms by regulators and governments, and most importantly, a shift in mindset.
While regulations for the signing of electronic documents were established in most countries worldwide during the last decade (Electronic Transactions Act in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, China, and the European Union), it is sectors such as real estate, recruitment, finance, healthcare, and local government rather than legal firms that regularly incorporate the use of electronic signatures and signing of documents online, and enjoy the benefits described above. This happens mainly due to their security worries, particularly with the Public Cloud environment.
A solution that satisfies their concerns lies with the User-Based PKI digital signature technology. The technology provides each user with a unique signing key (Digital ID) that is accessible only to that user. The signed document is sealed, and any changes made to the document invalidate the signatures. With the Secured Signing solution, the signed document can be verified either on the free Verification Service, or offline, for long-term archiving, anytime at the user’s Desktop.
“As an owner of two law offices 700 kilometres apart, Secured Signing enables me to keep our files flowing in real time – quickly, securely, and efficiently, whether I happen to be in one office or the other.” Robert Riopelle, Lawyer, Managing Partner, Riopelle Griener, Professional Corporation
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4 April, 2012
In a business environment of rapid technological developments and ever-changing market circumstances, small businesses and large corporations alike need to keep up with business conditions and to promptly adapt and implement new tools and advanced systems. Even the hesitant can’t avoid it and will often make the shift in response to their customers’ expectations and demands.
A small business has a number of significant, related advantages including the ability to respond faster with a more personal customer service, a simpler management structure and decision-making processes, and an ease with which to identify, change, and adopt new technologies.
According to Microsoft’s research of SMB Business in the Cloud 2012 (conducted by Wayland, Massachusetts-based research firm, Edge Strategies), small businesses are quick to embrace Cloud Computing technology and the number of SMBs that are using it is expected to triple in the next three years. Leading motivators identified in the study include cost savings, increased productivity, flexibility, and market competitive advantage.
Secured Signing’s Cloud-based PKI digital signature pay-as-you-go solution allows small businesses to access highly innovative IT implementation that in the past was available only to larger and richer organisations. The secure and legally compliant system provides its users with a comprehensive range of electronic signing capabilities that enable them to fill in any type of form and sign it, or invite others to sign online via browsers on desktop PC, Mac, iPad, and many other mobile and smart phone devices.
The latter, directly fulfil the requirement of 71% of research participants who look for “technology that enables their staff to work anywhere, at any time.”
And as Lee Cockerell once said: “It’s not the magic that makes it work; it’s the way we work that makes it magic.”
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2 March, 2012
The decision to adopt new technology is influenced by multiple factors. The obvious ones include innovation’s typical features, the economical climate, and the organisational environment. The more hidden ones present sociological and psychological challenges. Even the most efficient and cost-effective technological development will meet resistance from individuals who fear the ‘new technology in town’. This is very much like what happened when electricity was first put to use and people questioned its safety and whether they really needed it when gas lights worked just fine.
The Secured Signing user-based PKI digital signature service is a favourable technology implemented in the Cloud computing environment. Users from small to large businesses in a variety of industries are using this innovative, successful platform. However, knowing the market we work in, many still carry the ‘electricity fears’ or we should call them now ‘Cloud fears’? and may require incentives to overcome these inevitable barriers. You can invite customers to use your system for free with no obligation while experiencing firsthand its qualities and advantages, or you can provide information and solid facts that will enhance the chance of positive decision making. It is with the latter in mind that I choose to share with you the following two items:
Quentin Hardy, New York Times’ technology deputy editor, titled his latest blog (Feb 24, 2012): “The Week the Cloud Won”. This heading emphasises a change we are proud to be part of: the global move into Cloud-computing based systems. In his blog, Hardy presents the latest earnings’ reports from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Salesforce.com that reflect, in his opinion, a faster move into the Cloud than anyone previously anticipated. While the hardware-based companies reported lower earnings and outlook, Salesforce.com’s fourth-quarter revenue and projections are on the rise (38 and 30% respectively).
A study done by BSA Cloud Computing Scorecard, assessed and ranked readiness for the Cloud technology among 24 countries accounting for 80 percent of the global ICT market. In its executive summary the authors wrote: “In small and large enterprises as well as government offices around the world, one thing has become perfectly clear: Cloud computing marks the next contribution that software and computing technologies will make toward greater productivity and expanded economic growth.”
And as Henry David Thoreau once said: “No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof.”
... and I’ve just provided you with two valid examples!
Till next time,