Tag: esignature

What is the Advanced Electronic Signature?

The Advanced Electronic Signature, also known as the Advanced Digital Signature, is one of the most secure types of electronic signature. They use encryption to verify the identity of the signer and ensure that the document has not been tampered with.

How does the Advanced Electronic Signature differ from the other electronic signature types?

In this post, we will explain:

– The advanced electronic signature.

Advantages and disadvantages of the advanced electronic signature.

Regulations around it.

– How it differs from the qualified and basic electronic signature.

The Advanced Electronic Signature

Advanced electronic signatures are typically used for high-value transactions or sensitive documents. They offer a high level of security and legal certainty for electronic transactions.

Unlike basic electronic signatures, which are based on the signer’s username and password, AES are generated using cryptographic algorithms that protect the signature from forgery.

eIDAS

An Advanced Electronic Signature must satisfy four key requirements under eIDAS, a set of regulations from the European Union. These four advanced requirements include:

1. Be linked uniquely to the signatory.

2. Be capable of identifying the signatory.

3. It must be created using only electronic signature creation data that the signatory can, with a high level of confidence, use under his sole control. 

4. It must be linked to the data signed, in such a way that any subsequent change in the data is detectable.


Electronic Signatures are governed and categorised by eIDAS Regulation, which separates them into three categories:

1. Basic Electronic Signature

2. Advanced Electronic Signature

3. Qualified Electronic Signature

Advanced Electronic Signature Advantages

The advantages of using an advanced electronic signature include:

Increased security: An advanced electronic signature is more difficult to forged than regular electronic signatures. This makes them ideal for use in high security applications such as financial transactions or legal contracts.

Higher legal authority: The advanced electronic signature holds a much higher legal certainty than regular e-signatures.

Reduced costs: Advanced electronic signatures eliminate the need for physical documents and wet ink signatures. This can save businesses time and money.

Improved efficiency: Advanced electronic signatures can be used to automate processes such as contract approvals. This can improve the speed and efficiency of business operations.

Improved Security
Increased Security

On the other hand, there are some instances where a basic or qualified electronic signature may be preferred.

Advanced Electronic Signatures Disadvantages

Complexity: The advanced requirements of eIDAS can make advanced electronic signatures more complex to create and use than regular electronic signatures. This can make them less user-friendly and increase the learning curve for new users.

Limited compatibility: Not all software applications support advanced electronic signatures. This can limit their usefulness in some business environments.

Cost: Advanced electronic signature solutions can be more expensive than regular electronic signature solutions, due to the increased security and functionality they offer.

Qualified Electronic Signature

A Qualified Electronic Signature is the only electronic signature to have the same legal status within the EU as a written or ‘wet’ signature.  

A Qualified Electronic Signature is a certain type of electronic signature that meets advanced electronic signature requirements and is backed by a qualified certificate, meaning a certificate issued by a trust service provider that is on the EU Trusted List (ETL) and certified by an EU member state. 

The trust service provider must verify the identity of the signer and vouch for the authenticity of the resulting signature. Stringent signer identification and signer certificate requirements can make qualified electronic signatures impractical for many business transactions – so is often disregarded in favour of an Advanced Electronic Signature.  

Advantages

– The highest level of compliance, equivalent to a physical or wet signature. 

Increased security: qualified electronic signatures are more difficult to forge than basic e-signatures or handwritten signatures.

Disadvantages

– Can be impractical for customer use, user experience suffers.   

– More expensive and complex to implement. 

– May not always be accepted by all parties.

– They require a higher level of security: qualified electronic signatures must be stored on a secure device, such as a smart card or USB token, which can increase costs.

They can be revoked: if a qualified electronic signature is compromised, it can be revoked by the issuing authority, which could cause delays in transactions.

Basic Electronic Signature

According to eIDAS, at the basic level, an electronic signature can be defined as: 

Data in electronic form attached to other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign. 

Taking this definition literally, a document can be signed simply by scanning a signature or ticking a box in a document opened on any device. This could include a scanned signature image or the click of an “I accept” button on a website.  

Technically, the data is in electronic form and attached to a file, but there are problems with this model which eIDAS is trying to address. 

Primarily, the document can still be tampered with, and a “signature” can easily be forged (i.e., we cannot be 100% sure who ticked the box or provided the scanned signature to confirm the terms and conditions were accepted).

To put in more formal terms – neither the integrity nor authenticity of the document are guaranteed. 

Advantages

– The simplest to implement and the simplest process for customers.

– The lowest cost solution.

– Eliminates the need for paper.

– Audit trial.

– Much less room for errors.

– Faster turnaround times than handwritten signatures.

Disadvantages

– For some, businesses may offer insufficient auditing and controls.

– Do not have the same level of security as the Advanced or Qualified.

Less secure than Advanced or Qualified.

The main differences between a qualified electronic signature and a basic electronic signature are the level of security and the cost.

We created a post on the top 10 benefits of using an electronic signature; you can see that here.

Basic, Qualified & Advanced e-Signature Difference

Qualified electronic signatures, also known as QES, are the highest level of electronic signature available. They offer the greatest legal protection and are typically used for high-value contracts or transactions.

Advanced electronic signatures, or AES, are the second highest level of e-signature and offer more protection than a basic electronic signature. AES can be used for most business purposes but is typically not required for low-value contracts.

Basic electronic signatures, also known as an ELS, are the simplest and most common type of e-signature. It offers little legal protection but is perfectly adequate for many business purposes, such as signing up for a newsletter or ordering goods online.

Once a business has identified the need to digitise or integrate an E-Signature platform and highlighted a set of target initial processes, the next step is to identify the best technology for their needs.

One of the key questions all businesses will need to address on their journey to digitisation, is what level of E-Signature software they need to implement to satisfy both their business and compliance requirements. 

How To Choose The Best Type

Now that we’ve covered the three types of electronic signature, you may be thinking to yourself how to choose the right one for your business?

How To Choose The Right Electronic Signature Type For Your Business

When deciding which electronic signature type to use for your business, you should first consider the value of the contract or transaction.

If it is a high-value contract, a qualified electronic signature may be required. If it is a low-value contract, a basic electronic signature will suffice. You should also consider the legal protections that each type of electronic signature offers and decide whether they are necessary for your business.

We recommend you segment your research and analysis into three topics:

1. Analysis of the regulatory and legal context.
You need to identify the constraints and risks associated with the use of electronic signatures for your specific business case.

2. Analysis of other types of risks and opportunities: for example, your company brand or image alongside any impacts on productivity, efficiency and costs.

3. The choice of the level of electronic signature, reconciling user experience and security needs.

AlphaTrust: Our e-IDAS Compliant eSignature & Document Processing Solution

How AlphaTrust Can Help: An eIDAS Compliant Electronic Signature Solution
AlphaTrust eSignature Solution: eIDAS Compliant

There are various Electronic Signature solutions available to businesses and it can be easy to assume that all offer similar features and benefits.

However, in addition to undertaking the analysis outlined above, it pays to research the Electronic Signature market, to gain a greater understanding of the solutions available and find the right for your business needs.

AlphaTrust by iPipeline is a process digitisation and Electronic signature platform, trusted by a number of high profile international brands, including: 

e-IDAS Compliant, AlphaTrust complies with e-IDAS regulations for compliance and legality. As standard AlphaTrust offers Advanced e-signatures, to always ensure a high level of confidence in the legitimacy, integrity and security of any document signed by our service.

Together, we will explore both options and agree the best approach for your business and technical infrastructure.

From simple send-a-document for signature to your most complex workflows, AlphaTrust provides a range of options to digitise processes.

AlphaTrust Benefits:

1. AlphaTrust slots seamlessly into your existing processes; you choose whether to integrate via API or simply access via a personalised digital dashboard.

2. Cloud Based or on-Premise hosting: AlphaTrust can be hosted in the cloud, or on premise. As such AlphaTrust is flexible to work within your business infrastructure and data compliance policy.  

3. API: AlphaTrust can be integrated into your business and processes for a simple API. This allows seamless integration.

4. Advanced Webform Builder: AlphaTrust includes validation logic, reflective questioning and is completely customisable to avoid invalid/incomplete forms being returned. 

5. Compliant: Complies with e-IDAS regulations for compliance and legality. Allows a full audit trail and meets the e-idas regulations making it compliant across the UK, Europe, North America and Asia.

6. 2 Factor Authentication: AlphaTrust allows users to employ two factor authentication for enhanced security and customer trust & confidence.  

7. Full Access to All Features: No matter how many transactions or users required, we provide full access to all features on any pricing model.  

8. 20 years + FS experts: As a financial services specialist technology provider, we are experienced and fully conversant in the challenges of delivering products and services in a robust legal and regulatory framework.  

To find out more on AlphaTrust and how we can help you, check out our product site below.

We’ll also be happy to provide a free tailored demo for you with an AlphaTrust specialist giving you the chance to see the solution live and opportunity to ask questions.

Top 10 benefits of using an e-Signature – over traditional wet signing

Here are the top 10 benefits of choosing to use e-Signatures, over traditional wet signing practices.

For long-standing and established companies, it can be daunting to entertain the idea of implementing new digital practices, as digital transformation seems like a big change. However, even though the old analogue system has been working just fine, customers’ habits and expectations have changed.

In our modern and ever-changing world, many business practices across the globe are quickly switching from outdated contract procedures. It is evident just how new, faster paced solutions like e-Signatures can help with growth and efficiency.

e-Signature software gives companies just like yours, huge benefits such as faster contract negotiation times, greater signature security, quicker payment completion and an overall enhanced and more productive working environment.

Top 10 Benefits of using E-Signature over Traditional Wet Signing

1. Faster completion of contracts

Firstly, it is now more important than ever to be faster than our competition because if you’re not adapting, the competition have. The faster we conduct business, the more efficient the company and therefore…the more successful.

To understand how faster contract speeds may benefit your business, consider how medical professionals benefit from using e-signatures as standard practice every day. Medical professionals use e-Signature to complete time-sensitive forms and documents because delays here critically affect patient care. In this example, e-Signatures benefit the industry preventing unnecessary delays.

The result is a speedy and slick process, and in this instance – the protection of individuals health.

In this example, let’s look at how The Exeter, one of UK’s largest friendly societies, use e-signature and automation to help them speed up claims processes with our solution AlphaTrust.

Stated in our case study, “the time it takes to process a claim has been significantly improved with 50% of claims being digitally completed within 48 hours of the member receiving them. Currently we are seeing a 24% reduction in the time taken to process a claim from start to finish, and we expect this to improve further as we continue to iron out the new process.

2. An e-Signature lasts the lifetime of the contract

Wet signatures need constant repeating. E-Signatures eliminates the need for repetitive signing and ultimately improves the company and client relationship and communication experience.

3. Accelerate negotiations and implement quicker

With e-Signature software, there is no longer a need to wait for the repetitive delivery of paperwork through the mail. Each step in the contract completion process is authenticated and easily accessed by all parties. By using audit trails, any critical issues can be flagged and tracked until final execution making the process much faster.

Above all, negotiations can take place over the course of a phone call, video conference, email exchange or meeting instead of having to wait days or weeks for documents to be signed and sent back and forth physically.

4. No more waiting for global parties to return contracts

In this point, we’ll cover how global companies can benefit from e-Signatures. Similarly to point no.4, e-Signature software can greatly accelerate the contract procedure for global business interactions because signatures that are done electronically ensure there is no delay in updating or executing contracts. As a result, you get a much speedier roll out.

benefits of using an e-Signature

Paper processes slow down business efficiency and cause delays.

5. Tighter and more effective security

In addition to speed, security is a big benefit of transforming to digital as there is less worry about than with wet signed papers, which can potentially be easily tampered with.

Moreover, contract management software with e-signing capability can automatically detect even minor altering and record more data points than paper. Alongside this is the stringent protocol that is in place to ensure authenticity of the e-Signature and prevent fraudulent activity.

6. E-Signatures lets you get paid faster

Due to the fact it is so fast and easy to sign documents online, you’re likely to see faster contract turnaround. The use of e-Signatures makes it easier to execute contracts that have multiple signers.

What does that mean for you? No more waiting for all parties to wet-sign, because after the first person signs, e-Signature software can automatically send documents to the next signer. Receive the signed documents in minutes – as opposed to hours or days, and get paid faster than ever before.

Businesses in a variety of industries have reported that electronic signatures help speed up sales cycles by up to 400% – a figure that’s sure to persuade you into the modern way of conducting business.

7. Lower admin costs

On top of the all of the other financial benefits, the automated processes of e-signing can reduce the financial impact of human error such as signing mistakes. This can slow down the process or cause eventual costly problems if initially undetected.

E-signing software can help reduce the risk of human error by sending alerts about suspicious records or compliance issues involved with any contract. Audit trails lets you ensure everything is in order. Transformation to digital saves the cost of fixing problems that could have been prevented and freeing up time for your staff to conduct more business.

It’s also important to remember the obvious cost implementations of items such as paper, stationary, copying, packaging and shipping. These costs may seem minimal, but they add up over time and can make a huge difference to your bottom line.

Have you considered how much time your business spends managing paper processes? Or how costly each document is to create, print, stamp and send?

Our online calculator shows you how much you could save by switching to digital processes with an instant quote. Just enter an estimate of how many documents you process monthly and we’ll show you just how much you can save by automating:

How many documents
do you prepare and send per month?

Do you send less than 800 documents per month? Get in touch with our Sales team here to explore how we can help you.

*Unlike other digital signature vendors, AlphaTrust only charge once per transaction. Therefore, you can send multiple documents, with multiple signers, in one package, yet you only pay for a single transaction charge. Other vendors will charge for each signature on every document – enabling AlphaTrust to save you more.

8. Increased internal productivity

The time you get back by using e-Signature technology will help transform you and your business in terms of productivity. So, it allows you to close more deals, focus on more important tasks and make more money.

You can also automate document flow and reduce repetitive practices. For example, if you use the same documents regularly, the e-Signature software can help by providing templates to be reused as often as you need them, with less time spent editing documents for each case.

Top 10 benefits of using an e-Signature

How does your company handle its internal processes?

Let’s take the HR department as an example.

Numerous processes and scenarios within HR departments can be automated and digitised, without having to rely on paper. The advantages are many including a smoother process, faster turn around times and huge increases in efficiency, not to mention the impact on the planet.

We remember a time when email chasers had to be sent constantly, lost paperwork and forms from being misplaced, the list goes on.

Here at iPipeline, we have digitised all our HR processes using AlphaTrust such as:

• Employee Benefits such as private health insurance: usually, employees are given these as paper forms which get sent directly to insurance companies or intermediaries.

• Pensions: Employees joining business coming from different schemes and providers.

• Employee contracts: all employee contracts and new joiner forms.

• Expression of wish forms.

• NDA's.

• Internal promotions with change of terms or change in pay.

• Performance reviews.

9. Improved customer experience

Across all industry sectors, customer satisfaction has a significant influence on your business’ success. It goes without saying that your clients will be more satisfied should your interaction with them become simpler and more efficient.

Top 10 benefits of using an e-Signature

Today more than ever, our customers expect everything to be digital; companies using old and dated paper methods increase friction in the customer journey.

Ascot Lloyd, one of the UK’s largest independently owned IFA firms, relied heavily on face-to-face meetings. Covid-19 had a big impact on business operations and by partnering with us, AlphaTrust helped their advisers create a better and more streamlined client journey.

E-Signatures save your customers’ valuable time and make the overall signing process much more convenient for them too. They can sign documents and contracts on the go, on any device.

10. Track your contract progress

It can be so frustrating to constantly wonder, “Have they signed yet?” With e-Signature you can wave goodbye to the days of chasing contracts. e-Signature software makes it easy to track documents, follow up with the progress of contracts and can even send signers a reminder if they forget to sign on time.

AlphaTrust are pioneers in the electronic signature platform – providing all of the elements required for a variety of robust and flexible document workflows.

Benefit from:

•100% white-labelled, making AlphaTrust fully customisable. You keep your branding throughout the entire process.

• Diverse and flexible, so it can be applied to any paper-based process.

• Contains an easy-to-use dashboard and full audit trails.

• Optimised for desktop, smartphones and tablets.

To find out more on AlphaTrust or talk to someone in our team, please get in touch and we'll be glad to help!