Contract Signing in HR Using eSignatures

When managing people and employees, there’s always a lot of paperwork involved. New employees need to sign contracts, contractors need to sign agreements, and every year staff might need to sign acknowledgement forms. If you’re managing a large number of employees, all the paperwork can pile up. It takes a huge effort to sort everything out and make sure that all the forms are in place. Not to mention the mistakes that people make when filling out a form. It could be missing a mandatory field, or filling something in with the wrong type of information. Mistakes like these just make life harder for everyone. That’s where an eSignature tool like Signority comes into play.

Standard Forms/Contracts

For standard forms or contracts that don’t change regardless of who is signing the contract, a feature like the Signority eSignature Template is what you’re looking for. By setting up a form as a template, you’ll be able to instantly access and send the form to anybody who needs to sign. If there are multiple administrators in your organization who also need to use the form, you can set up the form as a template once, then share it with everyone who needs to use it. Just make sure that all your coworkers are in the same eSignature account team as you are.

The great thing about a feature like Signority’s eSignature Template is that you can set up a custom workflow for each of your forms. For example, let’s say you have a contractor work agreement form. For this form, you need to have the contractor sign first, and then have an authorized representative from your company sign. You can set this workflow up in the Regular Template by adding two recipients, and then assigning an order for them. This way, you can easily set up any contract signing process as an eSignature Template.

Acknowledgement Forms

Sometimes a form needs to be sent to hundreds or thousands of employees at the same time. An example of this might be a policy acknowledgement form that all staff need to sign. In this case, a feature like the Signority Bulk Sign feature is the thing to use. A bulk signing feature can save your organization hours or even days of work. You can electronically send hundreds of copies of forms at once just by uploading a list of recipient names and emails to your eSignature application. Reporting features also allow you to manage all the forms sent out in one place. You can instantly search for who has yet to sign the document, and even see what each person has inputted into the form.

Signority’s Bulk Sign feature also allows you to build custom workflows for your form, just like any other eSignature document.

Save time by reducing errors

With an eSignature tool, you’ll be able to mark certain fields as “Mandatory” and others as “Optional”. Since the signing process happens on the eSignature app, the app will be able to enforce these mandatory fields. That means that your signer won’t be able to send back the document to you without filling in these fields.

eSignature tools also offer different types of fields, such as text fields, number fields, dropdown menus, radio buttons, and more, to ensure that the recipient is inputting the right type of information. The last thing you want is for your signer to put in their name where their phone number is supposed to be.

Using these features, you’ll drastically cut down on the amount of time both you and your recipient spend on signing a contract. No more going back and forth trying to get forms completely properly.

Want to learn more about eSignatures? Download our free eBook: An Introduction to eSignatures

Customer Acquisition Online with LinkSign

The Signority LinkSign feature lends itself to many different use cases. In this article, we’ll focus on one of those use cases: Customer Acquisition. Customer acquisition is a key part of any business and making it effective and efficient can make a huge difference to your business’ success.

Types of forms can LinkSign be used for

Basically any standard form that needs to be signed by an individual can be set up using LinkSign. Any forms that you might want to post on your website for visitors to view and sign if they are interested in your services will work great using LinkSign. These kinds of forms can include questionnaires, insurance applications, engagement letters, etc.

How it works

At a high level, LinkSign works by generating a URL for a form that you create. The steps to create a LinkSign form are relatively simple.

  1. Sign into your Signority account
  2. Create a new LinkSign form by clicking “New Template” from your dashboard, then choosing the “LinkSign” option
  3. Now upload the file for your form
  4. Drag and drop the appropriate fields onto the document. These are the fields that people will be filling out and using to sign.
  5. Publish the LinkSign and copy the generated URL. You can use this URL to send to individuals or post it on your website for visitors.

Benefits

For many businesses, the customer acquisition process requires the potential customer to sign a form or document before becoming an actual client. If you’re not using an eSignature tool like Signority’s LinkSign feature, that means that people need to print, sign, scan and send the form back to you. It’s a time-consuming process that could be costing your business a significant number of new clients. With LinkSign, signing takes just a few minutes. In addition, you can track each person’s progress in real time as they fill out their forms and view a report of everyone who has already filled out your form.

Signority’s LinkSign functionality doesn’t stop there. Using built-in routing features, you can have every completed form automatically sent to your sales department for approval. If anybody needs to see or sign the form after a potential client completes it, you can set up the LinkSign to route that document to them. Any such workflow can be customized.

To recap, the traditional customer acquisition process can be slow especially when there’s signing involved. Signority’s LinkSign feature gets rid of that problem by enabling fast and easy online form signing, with the added perks of tracking and reporting features for your business.

11 Essential Resources For Your New Paperless Office

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Starting a digital office can seem a daunting task. You want to go in and go all the way – but what if you overlook a key aspect and everything stops working together? Not to worry. Here’s the list of resources you will need to utilize in your new paperless office. With nothing missing. Well, expect the paper.

PAPERLESS INVOICING

Freshbooks is a great service that can convert your billing and invoicing system to a secure electronic database. This “cloud accounting” service delivers a fast, accurate, easy to use, and professional interface for all your billing needs. Automated invoicing is available, as is integrations with Paypal and other online payment services. Use the system to generate reports, track expenses – even get the app to ride along.

PAPERLESS MEETINGS

TeamViewer lets you conduct paperless meetings and manage data within the paperless. You get remote access to any device 24/7 from any computer or mobile device. Hijack your colleagues’ laptops to access data during meetings, plus use screen sharing, video and file sharing, included whiteboards, and teleconferencing to be effective and paperless. When meetings are over, upload slides and info to Dropbox or Basecamp easily and share the digital copies.

Doodle and SurveyMonkey provide free service for conducting and scheduling meetings but don’t provide device connectivity and takeover capabilities.

PAPERLESS SCANNING AND FAXING

Turboscan is an excellent app that allows phone cameras to be used as scanners which then convert captured images to PDFs. High-quality photos are editable and may be stored and sent singularly or as large files.

Your office may also need a larger scanner for digital imaging. Here’s a PC World review of the best scanners for a paperless office.
eFax takes incoming faxes and puts them into your email box and easily-searchable emails. Receive and send faxes online from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.

PAPERLESS MEMOS AND NOTES

Evernote lets you organize notebooks of digital notes, tasks, and can sync all your devices. Whether you use a laptop or an Android phone, you can have all your notes and thoughts wherever you go. Circulate ideas between team members

PAPERLESS PAYMENTS

Square and Paypal Zettle let you process credit cards from the convenience of any mobile device and send paperless receipts to customers.

Shoeboxed lets you send your mass of paper receipts into the Shoeboxed office and receive digital versions in return. They’ll scan your papers and index them in your account, letting you get reports and integrate the data into your database systems.

PAPERLESS SIGNATURES

Signority streamlines the essential process of acquiring customer signatures with one seamless digital application. Send and receive signed documents via a user-friendly interface usable across any device. Need help on how to create an electronic signature document in Signority? No problem! Check out our Knowledge Base, or contact our customer support. Signority is great for the all agile businesses, allowing you to sign PDFs instantly, edit and store documents with one touch, and move forward faster.

Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get a 14-day free trial to a Signority Plan!

How we interpret Customer Success

Nobody can deny Farm Boy, a local Ontario grocery store, of its food’s freshness and the quality. It’s my favorite place to shop with plenty of varieties for all occasions, and they’ve always got something for when I can’t come up with a dinner idea; daily fresh made soups, sandwiches, duo or trio ready-to-go meals. The bakery has all types of breads, the butchery section is filled with marinated shish kebabs, tasty sausages, and other delicious meaty foods. When holidays come, they even offer family meal kits. Farm Boy is more than a grocery store to me. It provides me with meals-on-the-go that are healthier and higher quality than what you might get at many restaurants. By now, you should be getting an idea of what kind of the store Farm Boy is. But it goes even further. One day I was there looking for ground pork. Although I had seen Farm Boy selling ground pork before, it wasn’t something that they sold every day. That day, they didn’t happen to be selling any. Tough luck. Not expecting anything, I decided to ask a staff member beside me who was placing meat packages on a shelf. To my pleasant surprise, she said, “We don’t have any today, but I can ground what you’ve selected while you finish your shopping. Just come back in 5 minutes”.

COVID-19 has changed the way we live dramatically. Churches having to go online overnight, 80 year old parents learning how to use Zoom to connect with their families, businesses switching to a completely remote workplace. Our lives are all becoming digital. Customer support especially. These days, a large portion of customer support services are automated through the use of AI chatbots and answering machines. Sometimes I feel like I’ve won a lottery when I call a hotline and have a human answering on the other end of the line. Automation is great for the service providers employing them, but what about for the customers? Is it better to give our customers a “take it or leave it” attitude that often comes with automated support? Or should we tune-in to their problems? Although many Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers may see it as costly and inconvenient to provide personal support to customers, at Signority, we believe that it’s a key component to Customer Success.   

When a customer stumbles upon a problem, it’s important to clear their questions as soon as possible, regardless of the size of the customer. That’s why, when you contact Signority’s customer support, whether you need help finishing an online contract signing process, or have questions about how to set up an electronic signature, you will have a real human answering the line. 

Our support response times are posted on our website, but we have been delivering support much faster and aim to continue to do so in the future. We also believe in listening to our customers. Customer requests are directly handed off to the product development cycle. Our product roadmap is based on our customers’ needs. 

This is how we operate at Signority; personally connecting with our clients to ensure their success. After all, there is no better reward for a company than loyal customers who are successful.

Jane He, CEO

Want to learn more about our product? Try it out for free for 14 days!

Wet Signatures vs. eSignatures | Which is more secure?

eSignatures have been around for over two decades, but many businesses have yet to make the switch from paper signatures to electronic ones. One of the main concerns is that eSignatures lack the security necessary to ensure that the document’s contents are kept confidential and the signatures coming back are legally valid. Let’s see if this is true by doing a side-by-side comparison of paper signatures and electronic signatures.

Wet Signatures

Physical or “wet” signatures are the traditional pen-and-paper signatures that are physically applied to a document. For these types of signature, the document to be signed may be sent to the signer via mail or other method to be signed privately. At other times, the document is signed in the presence of one or more other people. Paper signatures are a physical representation of a person’s identity and serve as proof of their consent to and acknowledgement of the contents laid out in the document. More often than not, a paper signature’s validity is based on trust. As the person who requested the signature, you must trust that the person who signed the document is who they say they are. As a signer, you must trust that your signature is not being forged to sign documents without your consent. Since wet signatures don’t come with a report that tells you what happened to a document prior and during signing, there is no way to directly trace the signature back to where and by whom it was signed.

In addition, with wet signatures, if the documents are not scanned and uploaded to the cloud, there is a risk of a natural disaster occurring and destroying the contents. This is another risk that businesses must face if they opt to continue to sign papers using paper.

eSignatures

An eSignature is an electronic piece of data that is created by an individual. The application of this piece of data to a document represents the signer’s identity and consent to and acknowledgement of the contents in the document. It serves the same function as a wet signature. However, since all the signing activity is done in the cloud, eSignature applications can track and observe a signer’s actions during signing. Signority’s eSignature solution tracks the name,  email address, IP address, and time of date of every action performed by the signer during signing. This allows document senders to have a full traceability report for each of the documents they get signed. Compared to wet signatures, this makes verifying a signer much easier, and can save businesses legal headaches down the line. For a signer, as long as you have full ownership over your email address, only you will have access to the documents you should be signing. If someone does try to impersonate you and eSigns a document without your consent, all their activity will be logged through the document’s audit trail. This information can be used to show who really signed the document. Furthermore, the use of SMS 2-factor authentication, and other authentication methods helps ensure the identity of the signer.

In terms of document storage, digitally stored documents are backed up in the cloud, so in case of a disaster, you won’t lose your documents. In addition, almost all eSignature providers have industry best-practice security certifications such as SOC I and SOC II certification and ISO 27001:2013 certification. These certifications verify that the company handles their customer data securely, protecting it from outside attackers, and can effectively recover from incidents that would otherwise lead to loss of data.

Finally, documents signed with eSignatures often come with a digital signature applied to the document by the eSignature provider. This digital signature can act as a type of tamper-proofing mechanism to detect whether or not a document has been tampered with. You can learn more about what digital signatures are here.

With all this information, it’s clear that eSignatures are a good choice for many companies. They provide superior security and traceability for signed documents. Not to mention they also cut down on the time you spend on each document that needs to be signed!

If you want to learn more about eSignatures and how they can benefit your business, download our free eBook titled “Introduction to eSignatures”.

A Brief Introduction to eSignatures | Benefits and the Future (Part 2)

This is the second part in the series, A Brief Introduction to eSignatures. In the first part, we answered the question “What are eSignatures?”. We talked about the legal definition of an eSignature, the components of an eSignature, and the difference between an eSignature and a Digital Signature. If you missed it, check it out here.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll go over the benefits that eSignatures have for businesses, and where the industry is headed.

Benefits of eSignatures

Legally-binding eSignatures have a number of important benefits for businesses:

  1. Easy to use. Signing electronic documents is super simple for all involved. In fact, most eSignature software is intuitive even to complete beginners, which means less time spent learning how to use new software.
  2. Save money. Paper isn’t cheap, especially when you account for purchasing, copying, scanning, and printing costs, among other paper-related expenditures. Needless to say, these costs add up quickly. Moving to a paperless system can reduce expenditures and instantly increase your profit margins.
  3. Save time. Printing, copying, and scanning takes time. Preparing documents for signature takes time. Tracking down (and waiting for) signatures takes even more time. eSignatures can shorten the turnaround time by as much as 90 percent.
  4. Improve accuracy. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for a signed document only to realize the recipient forgot to fill out a required piece of information. eSignature software allows you to specify mandatory fields, which, as you probably guessed, require the recipient to complete all such fields before the document can be signed.
  5. Stay organized. Keeping track of paperwork (regardless of how efficient your filing system may be) is often burdensome. eSignatures create an easily sortable, organized filing system by which you can easily store and retrieve important documents.
  6. Add an extra layer of security. Electronic documents can be protected by a variety of methods, including passcodes, encryption, two-factor authentication, and even biometric authentication methods. These methods instantly make your important documents more secure.
  7. Make things easier for customers and/or vendors. While eSignatures provide some obvious benefits for your own business, they also make things much easier for your customers, partners, suppliers, or other vendors (for many of the same reasons we’ve already covered). Customers prefer eSignature software not only because it is more convenient, but it brings a number of important advantages, including: eliminating unnecessary back-and-forth (saving time), simplifying internal processes, facilitating quicker onboarding, and increasing operational efficiency, among a laundry list of other benefits.

The Future of eSignatures

According to a report from MarketsandMarkets, one of the largest market research firms in the world, the eSignature market is expected to grow from USD $2.8 billion in 2020 to $14.1 billion by 2026. In another five years, the market will quintuple in size. So, what’s driving this incredible growth?
There are three primary factors driving the growth of the eSignature market:

  1. Online business continues to explode: More online business is good for the eSignature market. As more and more businesses move online, more legally-binding documents will be required, in order to govern and accommodate this transition. eSignatures are a necessary part of online business. As one goes, so does the other.
  2. Online security is more important than ever: It should be relatively easy to see the relationships forming here. As more business moves online, there’s more reason to protect that business. More importantly, Digital Signatures make it incredibly easy for business owners to protect their most important documents. Digital Signatures use a combination of public and private keys to encrypt and secure important documents, further reducing the risk of online fraud.
  3. Businesses will always be in the business of making money: And eSignatures can drastically reduce operational costs, thereby increasing profit margins. For example, it costs U.S. businesses nearly $8 billion each year to manage their paper documents. Going paperless brings drastic (and nearly instantaneous) cost benefits. In the end, money talks.

Even still, eSignatures simply make sense for nearly all businesses, regardless of size or industry. It simply makes business easier while saving companies time, money, and unnecessary headaches. When it’s all said and done, it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to see the global eSignature market outperform its five-year projections.

Ready to use eSignatures for your business? Take advantage of Signority’s 14-day free trial!

A Brief Introduction to eSignatures | What are eSignatures? (Part 1)

Making sense of electronic signatures (eSignatures) can be intimidating. In addition, the eSignature industry is still relatively young (less than 25 years old), which means it can often be more difficult to find reliable, easy-to-understand information to address all of the questions a business owner might have.

This blog post is the first in a multi-part, educational series in which we will examine a number of important eSignature-related topics in greater detail, including: eSignature basics, the history of eSignatures, laws governing the use of eSignatures, when to use eSignatures, and how to implement eSignatures in your own business, among other topics.

In Part 1 of this series, we’ll review the basics of eSignatures (components, advantages, etc.).

Understanding eSignatures

As defined by the ESIGN Act (more on this foundational piece of legislation shortly), an eSignature is “any sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

If that definition sounds vague or unclear, don’t worry. That’s sort of the idea; it is, after all, “legal-ese”. In plain English, however, the above definition simply “states” an eSignature as a legal concept. That is, its legal definition simply means that it is possible for an eSignature to carry the same sort of legal “weight” as its pen-and-paper equivalent.

That probably doesn’t make too much sense at this very moment.

So, let’s take a closer look.

First, there is one critically important point you should understand:

In a strictly legal sense, the term “electronic signature” does not refer to an actual signature. Instead, the term refers more broadly to the process requirements (we’ll call them components) that must be met in order for an electronically signed document to be considered legally binding in a court of law.

As far as the law is concerned, a signature is simply one component of an electronically signed document. By itself, it carries no legal authority. In order for an electronic document to stand up in a court of law, all of the components must be present.

The ESIGN Act (again, more on this shortly) explicitly outlines these components in an attempt to standardize, well, the process by which an electronic document must be handled so that it carries full, legal authority.

Let’s take a quick look at the basic components of an eSignature.

Components of eSignatures

As we just reviewed, the signature itself is only one component of a legally-binding electronic document. However, there are four, primary components that you should care about most:

  1. Consent: Basically, any individual who signs an electronic document must explicitly consent to do so in the first place. Should an individual choose not to consent to an electronically signed agreement, a non-electronic option must made available.
  2. Intent: In the simplest terms, this means that the signer clearly understands his or her intent to sign the document, and the process by which the individual signed the document was clear and understood from beginning to end.
  3. Verification: For an electronic document to be considered legally binding it must be signed by the same person whose signature appears on the dotted line. In turn, most eSignature solutions have built-in verification methods.
  4. Auditability: This is the electronic equivalent of a “paper trail,” whereby each party involved in an electronic agreement (or a legal entity, for instance) can, if necessary, easily access each step of the eSignature process at any time. So, we’ve covered the legal definition of eSignatures and reviewed some of the most important components of eSignatures.

Before we go any further, though, we need to make an important distinction.

The Difference Between an eSignature and a Digital Signature

Yes, there is a difference.

In fact, if you Google “eSignature vs. digital Signature” you’ll find nearly two million search results that will tell the same story. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they are not one in the same.

So, what’s the difference then?

Remember the intentionally vague definition we reviewed earlier?

An eSignature is “any sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

Remember that one?

Like we said earlier, that’s because “eSignature” refers to a broad category that encompasses many different types of electronic signatures. As you’ll learn shortly, this definition was created back in 2000, way before eSignatures became a widely popular, legally-binding entity.

This language was intended to be vague from the start.

But, why?

Well, lawmakers wanted to leave themselves some “wiggle room,” understanding that at some point in the future there would be many different methods to electronically sign a document. So, they wrote the law to be intentionally inclusive. What’s a digital signature then?

A digital signature is one of these specific types of eSignature. It has its own set of legal rules, standards, and governances. We won’t go into the specifics right now (but may do so in a later guide in this series). That’s an entire guide in and of itself.

For the purposes of this guide, it’s enough to simply understand that there is, in fact, a difference between the two terms.

Now, let’s take a quick look at how an eSignature works.

How to get Signed Electronically

Illustration of a Signority eSignature workflow

Thankfully, eSignature software like Signority is easy to use—even for the most inexperienced users. In fact, it’s ease of use has been one of the contributing factors to its sky-high adoption rate. Though the exact process may vary depending on software solution, the basic workflow is virtually the same.

Here’s how a basic eSignature works:

  1. A document is uploaded to a website (usually a third-party software).
  2. The document is tagged to pinpoint exactly where a signature is required.
  3. The document is then emailed to the participants who are required to sign.
  4. The signer(s) completes all required fields, then signs the document electronically.
  5. The completed document is then automatically emailed back to the original sender.
  6. The document is automatically stored for safe, secure, and easy access.

Now that you understand the basics of how eSignatures work, stay tuned for the Part 2 of this series where we talk about the benefits and history of eSignatures.

Ready to use eSignatures for your business? Take advantage of Signority’s 14-day free trial!

The Breakdown: eSignature vs. Digital Signature

Overview

An electronic signature is information in electronic form (can be sound, symbol, process, etc.) that is associated or attached to a document. This means that so long as we can demonstrate that the signature is associated with a person and that there was intent to sign, everything is legally binding and accepted (all of this can be seen in Signority’s audit trail).

A digital signature is actually a form of electronic signature that uses an encryption algorithm that helps validate who the signer is. It also ensures that the document cannot be tampered with, as the signature becomes invalid if the document is changed after signing. This helps prevent repudiation by the signer, making it almost impossible to deny having signed the signature. Essentially, these issues are some of the biggest challenges to electronic signatures, and digital signatures are able to help overcome these issues.

Electronic Signatures: An Overview

You may be wondering how electronic signatures even work in the first place? Before we can get to the difference between digital signatures and electronic signatures, let’s discuss what an electronic signature is first.

According to the Canadian Uniform Electronic Commerce Act (UECA), an electronic signature “means information in electronic form that a person has created or adopted in order to sign a document and that is in, attached to, or associated with the document.” The American equivalent is the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA) and the Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN). Their definition is “an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

At the heart of both definitions is the capture of the intention with which a signature is added. What that implies is that the electronic signature doesn’t have to look anything like your handwritten signature when it’s applied. It can be a symbol, a typed text, or even an image or sound. So long as the intention is present, then it is legally accepted and binding. In this sense, if the association with a person is demonstrated and the intent to sign is also demonstrated, the signature will meet the signature requirements stated above. This is done through the audit trail and by authenticating and determining who the signers are and what was signed.

Signority’s e-signature solution is able to capture all of this data through its detailed audit trail with time stamps, multi-factor authentication methods to validate the signer’s identity, and by securely storing the data to prevent tampering.

Digital Signatures: An Overview

We’ve explained what an electronic signature is in the previous section. The digital signature further improves the security and authenticity behind each electronic signature, acting like a digital “fingerprint” for a signer of a specific document.

The biggest challenges with regards to secured signatures have always been:

Is the signer who they say they are?
Is the signature valid and hasn’t been forged?
And has the document been tampered with?

In history, to counteract these challenges, the existence of notaries were introduced and played a key role in assuring authenticity and trust of a document.

Similar problems still exist today for the electronic world. However, digital signatures were created to help serve the purposes of notaries in the past. Certification Authorities (CAs), a trusted third party, now serves as the notary in terms of verifying a signer’s identity. Rather than being present at the time of signing, like a notary would, a CA acts as a trusted third party organization that ensures the security of the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and providing digital certificates for signers, both of which are necessary for a digital signature transaction.

The technology behind secured Digital Signatures

A digital signature is unique to each individual signer. To ensure this, electronic signature solution providers follow a protocol called the PKI. The PKI uses a mathematical algorithm to generate two keys for the signer, a public key and a private key. The two keys together make your digital certificate, which help validate the signer’s identity.

When a document is electronically signed and completed, a unique “fingerprint” of a document (called a hash) is generated by using a mathematical algorithm. This hash is, then, encrypted by the signer’s private key. The encrypted hash and the document certificate issued by a trusted CA are both attached to the digitally signed document, thereby completing the digital signature transaction.

To validate the signer’s identity and verify the signature, the signer’s public key is used to decrypt the document hash. During decryption, a new hash is calculated and matched with the original encrypted hash. If the two are the same, the signer is validated, as the two keys must match and create the same hash.

Benefits of Digital Signature

All of this finally brings us to the question, what’s the point of all of it and how will it benefit my business? As stated at the beginning, an electronic signature captures the intent and also helps prove who the signer was and what was signed in the first place.

The key benefits of digital signature is that it works with the electronic signature rather than replacing it. When you apply the digital signature to a document, the cryptographic operation helps bind the digital certificate and the data being signed into one unique digital “fingerprint”, the uniqueness of the certificate and the data is what makes digital signatures so viable.

As a result, you can be assured of 3 things:
Signer identity is valid – you will know that the signers are who they say they are
Tamper-proofing – you can be ensured that the document hasn’t been tampered with, otherwise the signature would be invalidated
Non-repudiation – the signer cannot deny having signed the signature and is possible to prove in court HSM or Hardware Security Module

For Signority to have digital signatures available for users, it uses a Notarius Hardware Security Module (HSM) to help store and manage the digital keys that are used in the digital signing process. It also acts as the key generator for the digital certificate.

Adobe AATL Certificate Policy requires that digital certificates are stored on FIPS-compliant hardware. HSM is FIPS-compliant, which allows Signority to provide digital signatures.

Ready to use eSignatures and Digital Signatures for your business? Take advantage of Signority’s 14-day free trial!

What is Data Residency & Why is it Important?

Have you ever asked yourself, “how important is my personal information, and where is this kind of data being stored?”  These are the kinds of questions that are asked when discussing data residency. Before diving deep into what data residency is, and its importance, let’s first break down what personal information is and its different types.

What is Personal Information?

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPCC) states that, according to The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), personally identifiable information (PII) is classified as “any factual or subjective information, recorded or not, about an identifiable individual.” According to the OPCC website, PII includes: 

  • Name, age, ID numbers (SIN), income.
  • Social status, evaluations, opinions, disciplinary actions.
  • employee files, credit score, employee files, loan records

Other types of information include Personal Health Information (PHI) which, according to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario’s Guide, 

  • Relates to the individual’s physical or mental condition, including family medical history; or
  • Relates to the provision of health care to the individual; or
  • Is a plan of service for the individual; or
  • Relates to payments, or eligibility for health care or for coverage for health care; or
  • Relates to the donation of any body part or bodily substance, or is derived from the testing or examination of any such body part or bodily substance; or
  • Is the individual’s health number; or 
  • Identifies a health care provider or substitute decision-maker for the individual

Data Residency

Data residency, otherwise known as data localization, refers to the legal and administrative prerequisites forced on the geographic or physical location of an individual’s or organization’s data.  In addition to addressing data storage, data residency also highlights how data is processed and creates conversation among legislators and citizens regarding data management and the safety of citizens’ data. When sensitive data is being managed, it’s vital that an organization’s data stays secure and locally stored. Companies and organizations could also qualify for various tax benefits based on what kind of data is being stored and where it resides. More importantly, the data being stored would be subjected to the laws and regulations of the country that stores it. While the Government of Canada does not have severe laws prohibiting companies or organizations from storing their data outside the country, numerous provinces have put up guidelines and regulations regarding the protection and handling of their resident’s data.

How Signority Can Help Secure Your Data?

Signority takes great pride in being the largest Canadian eSignature provider whose data centers are located in Canada. Signority’s main servers are in Montreal and we have ensured that our back servers are also located in Canada. This ensures two things. First, if one server location is affected by an outage, your documents will remain safe, secure, and accessible. Secondly, this ensures all our customer’s personal and private information is securely stored within Canadian borders, a key requirement ensuring our compliance with the PIPEDA and HIPAA acts, as well as the SOCIII, ISO270001, and PCI certificates. In addition to complying with Canada’s data residency laws, Signority follows strict security protocols when handling customer data. 

On top of the many security features, Signority also offers products and services at a low price without compromising the quality of our customer service received or our product itself. 

Now, ask yourself again, “how important is me and my client’s personal information, and where is this kind of data being stored?” 

Ready to send secure eSignatures with Signority? Sign up for a 14-day free trial today!

A Paperless Business and 5 Ways You Can Achieve It Now

Achieve a paperless business with Signority

Read on to learn about the five ways you can turn your business into a paperless business – today.

Flashback: it’s 1980.

Inflation is creeping higher and Americans are helplessly watching their purchasing power vanish into thin air. Retirement funds dwindle while it gets harder to put food on the table. The dollar’s inflated to 10% and everyone’s worrying about buying things before they go up in price. Anxious consumers are purchasing goods the same way squirrels pack away nuts for winter.

Problem is, this ever-consuming loop of fear is actually driving prices higher. Fear contributes to a rapid, debilitating buying cycle. And as prices go up, employees ask their bosses for a raise. Bosses comply with wishes, left with no choice but to raise prices. The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy of inflated prices.

But here comes Paul Volcker, the newly appointed Federal Reserve Chairman. Notorious for his devil-may-care attitude and allowing his socks fall scrunched about his ankles, he’s intent to fix the economic mess. His way.
Traditionally, inflation is supposed to stop once you stop printing money. Volcker’s stopped the presses, yet things just keep getting worse! Having iced the economy, we’re in a recession now too, and Volcker is facing an uproar.

But he’s sticking to his principles, cool and collected. Winter is coming, heck, it’s already here – but the Fed Chair knows that a frozen economy must thaw before financial security springs anew.
What did Volcker do to end the woes of inflation?

He showed the American people that the problem was all in our heads. He didn’t succumb to convention, refused to print more money, and made us all stand firm. This is what allowed the dollar correct itself. We had to stop worrying and just accept things as they were for a season.

By the end of a 1981, inflation dipped to 9% – then 6%, then 4%. Since then, inflation has remained relatively tame at around 2%.

What does inflation have to do with the paperless office?

The obstacles to a paperless office are in your head. Just like inflation.

Paper consumption and papertrail headaches are a ‘mo’ paper, mo’ problems’ scenario in the modern office. Since the “paperless office” was heralded in 1978, we’ve all looked ahead to a space-age time where we’d save trees and feel great about it – all while increasing efficiency and productivity.

Well, that time is now.

The Modern Paperless Office

You still with us after that Doctor Who-style history lesson?

Now in the present day, we’re enjoying a wireless age of information that empowers us to send, receive, and consume immense amounts of data formerly reserved only for sheets of paper. The internet and cloud platforms allow our ideas to circulate without boundaries, be they time, or space, or paper.

And yet, companies in the US already spend more than $120 billion a year on printed forms, most of which are outdated in three months or less. The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. Businesses pay for this wasted paper, pay to file it, pay to search through it, and pay to have it tossed out when more space is needed.

By comparison, the internet creates 7.5 million blog posts each day, but we never have to print those files. They simply exist, or can be stored and sorted as we see fit. Imagine if we printed all the articles we read and circulated. How much would that cost? You’d need to print and distribute each Word file, Google Doc, Adobe Acrobat PDF, and Adobe Reader you read all year. That’s an unrealistic, costly number.
This is the beauty of the paperless office: infinite informational capability, zero limitations. So here’s the five best ways to move forward to this paperless reality.

1. Paperless Meetings

According to a recent AIIM survey, 59% of respondents said that the biggest driver of paper consumption is meetings. The second highest user of paper was signatures.

If you’re serious about a paperless office, start in the meeting room. Printouts for each employee across every meeting adds up fast, yet most documents are trashed immediately afterwards. While paper is flexible, portable, and easy, the same is true of modern technologies.

For example, Doodle and SurveyMonkey provide free service for conducting and scheduling meetings.

But what about all the printouts during the meeting?

Try TeamViewer to conduct paperless meetings. This powerful office package gives you remote access to office computers 24/7 through any computer or mobile device. It also includes features for screen sharing during presentations, transmitting videos, sharing files, accessing whiteboards, and teleconferencing.

TeamViewer lets you avoid handouts by simply hijacking your colleagues’ laptop while you’re showcasing an idea. Then easily upload the slides to Dropbox or Basecamp so everyone gets access to the digital copy. Now everyone can reference ideas on the fly and there’s nothing lost.

When it comes to meetings and printouts, good technology puts an end to the printout cyclone that surrounds every meeting.

2. Electronic statements and payments

Remember the classic Seinfeld episode when George Costanza loses his fiancé to postage stamps? I’m sure your company is doing better than dear ol’ George, but my point is you needn’t stress over such minor things anymore.

The more online bill paying you do, the less you’ll shell out for postage, envelopes, and employee time (and potential damages) spent on invoicing, checks, and mailings. Office finances that run through the web make sure payments are prompt, immaculately recorded, and easily tracked. Business at the speed of paper is no longer efficient for many, especially when we consider the file shares, mobile, and social collaboration platforms in the competitive space.

Many merchants turn to apps like Square to process payments through smartphones. With recent developments in digital signature technologies — like Signority — getting bills paid and approved via eSignatures has never been easier. And studies show that consumers would rather receive paperless receipts through email than in hand.

Plus, think of all the papercuts you can spare your valued employees.

3. Digital Storage

If your business is located in a major urban center, space is a key concern.

In terms of rent per square foot, storing thousands of paper documents in San Francisco, Manhattan or Toronto can skyrocket office costs. Instead of renting additional office space for storage, convert files and have them stored on secured off-site servers or in the cloud. The latter option will be much cheaper.

And easier to access. Turn to PDF converters make the transfer process easy, PDF editors that allow you to make changes, and PDF readers to allow easy access to documents. Plus, you’ll save on the costs of disposing of sensitive materials.

A few companies in the digital signature space also provide their customers with full-fledged storage and document management solutions, as part of their monthly package.

With paperless storage, you’ll be able to access documents easily through keyword searchability as well, no more rummaging through file bins and back rooms. Digitally thumbing through thousands of documents is both cost and time effective for employees. This will also decrease the likelihood of losing valuable data.

4. Electronic Scanning and Faxing

Yes, scanning and faxing is still highly prevalent among businesses.

The paperless office saves on ink, paper, and hassles by eliminating the physical component by sending and storing documents seamlessly. The initial hesitation for many companies is that shuffling documents through a scanner will be less efficient than paper copies and cost in terms of employee work hours.

But costs are already through the roof. Reduce.org reports that the cost of using paper in the office costs between 13x – 31x the costs of actually purchasing paper. As Xerox reports, the US already spends roughly $460 billion in salaried time to simply manage paper-driven information overload.

Meanwhile, effortless digital solutions are abundant in this space. For example, Turboscan is an excellent app that allows phone cameras to be used as scanners which then convert captured images to PDFs for easy-send emails or upload to Signority for grabbing that quick eSignautre. For only $15 per month, eFax takes incoming faxes and puts them into your email box and paperless, easily-searchable emails.

5. Paperless Connectivity

Sending files instantly is the best aspect of a paperless office.

If you’ve got multiple offices, accessing relevant documents from anyplace is truly a revelation. And connectivity is only getting better. With the ever increasing internet of things, data usage and storage rates are up. Data accessibility is expected anywhere at anytime and streaming data is a given between more and more devices.

Quocirca’s recent report finds that 72% of enterprises surveyed already have “some paper-free processes in place and are planning to implement more.” Why? Because the companies that go digital create opportunities to spot bottlenecks and inefficiencies in their workflows while maximizing productivity and using fewer material goods.

In coming years, paperless offices will mesh with home offices. As the prevalence of AI increases, so will the use of private contractors and employees who work from home. Yes, telecommuting and working from home will signal a substantial reduction in paper and office costs for businesses, but more happier, more effective employees too — we know, contractors are a huge part of the Signority workforce.
As a Global Workplace Analytics study reveals, two-thirds of employees would take advantage of the opportunity to work from home, and 36% said they’d rather telecommute than receive a raise. Sharing documents with cloud-based platforms will have increasingly positive impacts for between workers, managers, and even clients.

For businesses moving with digital trends, digital signature services complete the paperless office model and Signority provides an affordable solution for seamless integration into your business process. A modern agile business means agile data, accessible from anywhere — even when it comes to connecting pen to paper — when every level of business is able to exchange signatures and data fluidly, companies can move forward at lightspeed.

Signing Off

These days, technology is inflating the capacities and capabilities of businesses in a big way. And like a balloon set to rise, integrated technology promises a positive impact upon how far businesses can stretch their money. From cloud platforms to handheld apps, it’s no secret that businesses directly benefit from being more connected and more effective than ever. In coming years, we’ll see the  best companies enjoying increased productivity, reduced costs, and a competitive advantage as a result of a move towards the paperless office.

As environmental concerns stay top of mind, companies with the paperless office will enjoy a boost in their bottom line. Value-conscious consumers eager to change the world with their purchasing power are always happy to endorse the green company with the paperless office. Will your company catch the trend upwards?

 

Looking to go paperless? Sign-up now and get a 14-day free trial to a Signority eSignature Plan.