Saving money. Getting business done faster. Eliminating the need to print and route paper contracts and documents. These are some of the great benefits provided by electronic signatures and records.
But you still have questions: Is it legal? Can I use these technologies internationally? In which sectors can I leverage these technologies? Who else is using electronic signatures, and what benefits are they seeing in the real-world?
The E-Signatures 2011: Electronic Signatures and Records Conference will provide the answers! Organized by the Electronic Signatures and Records Association (ESRA) and scheduled to be held in Washington, DC on November 9th and 10th, the conference brings together a number of government, industry, vendor, and customer speakers to cover topics including:
- IRS eSignature Programs and Initiatives
- International Adoption and Cross Jurisdiction Issues for eSignatures
- Enabling eSignatures and eRecords for eFiling and eTitling with Motor Vehicle Registration Offices
- eSignature Case Studies
- …and more!
Late last week, SOFTPRO, one of the members of Adobe’s Security Partner Community, announced one of the largest known deployments of electronic signature technology alongside Adobe® LiveCycle ES (now known as the Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform (ADEP), Adobe Reader and tablet PCs. The customer? Cintas Corporation.
Cintas provides specialized services—among them uniform delivery, document management, and cleanroom resources—around the world for clients in a variety of markets. Their trucks and personnel are recognizable the world over…and by the end of 2011, all Cintas sales representatives will be able to collect customer signatures directly on a tablet computer, eliminating the paper from their workflows and making the company both more efficient and more ecologically sustainable.
According to Brian Daniel, Director IT, at Cintas:
SOFTPRO is an excellent partner for us for two reasons. First, they understood our needs and worked closely with us to deploy and support our implementation. We knew we could count on them. Second, their solution is both robust and easy to implement. We are deploying a combination of technologies and SOFTPRO brings them all together. Both our sales team and customers have been quite pleased with this roll-out.
SOFTPRO’s software integrates directly with Reader and LiveCycle ES, and allows Cintas to not only produce easy to use PDF forms with LiveCycle ES, but also easily electronically sign them in Reader.
Read the press release here, and for more on SOFTPRO, visit their website here.
Adobe’s history is one of not only inventing and adapting amazing technology, but also making those same innovations easy to use. Over ten years ago, we took the complex world of public key infrastructure (PKI) & digital certificates, and in turn, made digital signing a one-click process on a PDF within Acrobat and Reader on your PC or Mac. So it naturally follows that yesterday Adobe continued this trend towards great technology made simple and announced that it had acquired leading electronic signature provider EchoSign.
EchoSign offers an easy-to-use, yet fully-featured, electronic signature service that allows users, from individuals to large enterprises, to easily upload documents, set up a signing workflow, and have recipients sign with a simple click-through process.
On Wednesday, don’t be concerned/scared/shocked if you see your sales people looking somewhat calmer, your legal counsel winces a little less when you crack a lawyer joke, your chief risk officer smiles at you, and your controller pulls you over and eagerly points to the latest revenue figures.
Why? June 30th is the tenth anniversary of the US federal law that made their lives easier by putting electronic signatures on equal footing with wet ink! That’s right: 10 years ago tomorrow, President Bill Clinton digitally signed into law the ESIGN Act (eSignAct.pdf).
How is this important? The electronic signatures legalized with the ESIGN Act produce dramatic, real-world benefits for Adobe’s customers.
Signatures are utterly ubiquitous today…so much so, that we don’t even recognize how often and in how many different ways we are signing off on things. Of course, we’re all well-aware when we’re signing a legal document in person, like a mortgage or rental agreement. But we’re also assenting to a purchase when we chicken-scratch our signature on grocery store point-of-sale terminals. (OK, that’s my chicken scratch.) Did you know we’re also signing and assenting to a contract when we install software, or agree to privacy terms on a website, by clicking an ‘I agree’ button?
The truth is, there are many different ways in which we can express our intent. In the paper world, some agreements require the signatures of multiple parties. Others, by tradition, necessitate the signer use dozens of pens to sign one name! Yet others require the use of specially designed stamps. Different types of signatures for different types of transactions.
These same variations carry over into the electronic realm, based on
necessity, expediency, cost, regulations, and local and national laws.
We’ve explained in this blog what electronic signatures are and how they work. Adobe eSignatures, launched last week, provides yet another option – a very convenient way to send documents out for electronic signature minus the cost of express delivery.
Adobe is excited to welcome Post.Trust, the certification authority subsidiary of An Post, the Irish postal service, into the Certified Document Services program.
CDS makes creating and receiving authentic documents easier by not
requiring a recipient to explicitly trust the author of the document.
CDS signatures automatically validate in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader 6.0 and above,
providing integrity and long-term assurance to electronic documents of
record. Providers involved in the CDS Program are required to meet
stringent requirements for identity vetting, security, and operations.
Euthymics BioScience, a start-up biotechnology company focused on developing next generation treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders, is now using Adobe Acrobat and GlobalSign Certified Document Services (CDS) signature credentials to digitally sign key documents, according to a recent announcement from GlobalSign, a member of the Adobe Security Partner Community. Euthymics can now eliminate the time and money associated with the traditional paper, pen, routing, and archiving of wet ink signatures, and also better meet critical US Food and Drug Administration requirements, which place a high priority on document authentication and integrity.
One of Germany’s most trusted savings banks, Berliner Sparkasse, recently rolled out a variety of digital workflow improvements intended to facilitate more efficient customer interaction with a combination of LiveCycle ES components and Adobe Security Partner SoftPRO‘s electronic signature products.
By now, you’ve surely heard the news about the new European standard for PDF Advanced Electronic Signatures (PAdES) which formalizes how digital signatures in PDF can comply with the European requirements for electronic signatures.
However, there are five parts to the standard, and they all deal with terminology that may not be familiar. Don’t worry….you’re not alone. A new website has been set up to answer frequently asked questions on PAdES.
We’ve discussed the legal validity of electronic signatures and digital signatures in this blog in the past. While a concurrence of laws worldwide point to general acceptance of electronic signatures as legally binding, there are a number of nuances that need to be taken into account when dealing with the identity and evidentiary elements of those electronic signatures, especially as it relates to how they’ll stand up longer term in court.
An event to be
held on March 1, the first day of the RSA 2010 Conference, will be dedicated to these questions.