eSignatures – a new key element of business continuity

The idea of ​​signing a text with your own drawing and thus sealing its author or consent to an agreement is older than paper. The earliest evidence of a signature goes back to the year 3100 BC. BC, from which a signature of the scribe Gar.Ama. is handed down on a Sumerian clay tablet. Even in our digital times, pen and paper were still used for more than 70% of the signature processes until 2017.

With the entry into force of EU Regulation No. 910/2014, the so-called eIDAS-VO, the framework conditions for eSignatures were uniformly regulated across Europe. This created the basis for the legal validity of electronic signatures.

Electronic document processing breakthrough

Despite the long historical history of the eSignature – in units of measurement of the computer age – it has not yet been widely used. Covid-19 and its effects on the world of work changed this fact suddenly. The “short official channels” no longer exist in times of crisis and numerous signature-based business processes such as the conclusion of contracts or the onboarding of new employees have been even more cumbersome for some time than before. In addition to the generally observable, gigantic surge in digitization, the Corona crisis ultimately also brought the decisive breakthrough to the use of eSignatures.

An English-language evaluation based on Google search queries showed that interest in eSignature solutions rose by a spectacular 511 percent in the period from the beginning of the pandemic to April. The advantages of eSignatures – such as the simplification and acceleration of complex business processes – offer immense potential for the next step in the digitization of our economy, even beyond the Corona crisis. eSignature tools enable companies worldwide to significantly advance their digitization and to meet the challenges of the time by means of progressive, distributed work models in a crisis-resistant manner. eSignatures are a clear key to business continuity.

EXTRA: COVID-19 pandemic as the engine of digital transformation

What makes eSignatures secure?

Two levels ensure the security of eSignatures, on the one hand the legal and on the other hand the technical side. The new regulation lays down the legal framework for people, companies and authorities for digital transactions in all EU member states. But what about the technical side? First of all, there is the infrastructure that draws on the large data centers, the backbone of our digital economy, and thus benefits from the same high security standards that apply to all other applications.

The possibility of storing data in certified European data centers guarantees compliance with relevant regulations, such as the GDPR.

In addition to extensive firewalls, industry standards such as TLS (Transport Layer Security) and 256-bit AES encryption protect against access by unauthorized third parties. Measures such as non-editable audit logs ensure that all actions carried out on the documents are comprehensively tracked and given a time stamp, so that in the event of a dispute, evidence of access, verification and signature can be provided.

A signature is more than a signature

In IT, one speaks of failure safety when it comes to avoiding costs caused by idle times or interruptions. Business resilience can be understood as a fail-safe strategy for the entire company. It is the ability of a company to adapt quickly to business disruptions and to react to protect employees and assets while maintaining business operations at a high level, i.e. protecting business continuity.

eSignatures enable companies to replace traditional paper-based transactions with a simple and secure online solution.

In this way, critical business agreements can be carried out quickly, contactlessly, simply and securely. With such a tool, it is crucial that it does not appear as a so-called “walled garden”. In order to be quick, inexpensive and flexible to use, the solution must be able to be integrated into any existing IT environment and be easy to use. E-signature solutions that can be easily integrated into existing workflows and solutions have good prospects of becoming the most important players in the field of digital transformation tools in Europe. Guaranteed business continuity becomes the decisive criterion for flexibility and crisis security of a company.

 

 

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