Digital Signature – The Audit Trail Proof

August 4, 2011

Audit trail is defined as “A chronological record that reconstructs and examines the sequence of activities surrounding or leading to a specific operation, procedure, or event in a security relevant transaction from inception to final result” National Information Assurance Glossary, CNSS, 2010. Digital Signature Audit Trail

In today’s business environment, the Internet and the Web are rapidly using electronic implementation to replace the paper business processes for audit trail that for generations were commonly used. This substantial change to a virtual environment carries significant advantages and some challenges to auditors, executives, and/or business owners. The main challenge lies in the shift from verifying paper statements and journals that hold records of account balances and past transactions to controls of automated actions that are instantly and automatically processed.  

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) that was passed in 2002 by the US congress answers just that. In a response to various cases of accounting report scandals in early 2000, the SOX Compliance offers an example for a regulatory standard of audit proceedings in the electronic setting. It aims to protect investors and shareholders from fraudulent processes by validating the accuracy and integrity of transactions that are automatically handled.

The digital signature online service supports these advances by offering the following audit trail particulars and benefits:

  • Appropriate control and high level of security – deploying user-based PKI digital signature technology ensures that no one could fake or alter any documents or signatures without leaving evidence – any changes made will make the document and signatures invalid. The solution therefore safeguards integrity and provides for non repudiation and authorisation of information.    
  • Verified signing process history – maintains a precise detailed audit trail that captures the order of every single act ivity and time frame. The time stamp that appears with the signature provides the exact second the document was signed.  
  • Prompt audit trail display – as soon as the online signing process is completed, an email with audit trail record is automatically sent to all parties involved.
  • Audit evidence is legally binding – several laws have been passed internationally to facilitate commerce with the use of electronic signature. Related detailed information can be found in Digital Signature – The Legal Electronic Stamp

While the paper audit trail has been transformed to an electronic counterpart, the base requirements have not changed: the ability of a service or company to provide a sufficient and true proof to support the content of an audit report whether for audit purposes or in case of a dispute. These features demonstrate and confirm Secured Signing’s credible and essential signing process; the audit trail guarantees the latter and provides confidence and assurance for company directors, shareholders, service users, and auditors.

Till next time,

Cheers, John

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