Digital signatures make remote work possible

A trade agreement without a signature is just a piece of paper. We can’t really say we closed a deal until both parties sign the document. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that remote work is not possible without without digital signatures.

No doubt 2020 is going to be a year that will go down in history. Never in the history of mankind has a pandemic managed to reach so many countries in such a short time and has certainly never forced so many people to be confined to their homes.

As a result, remote working, which until now was merely a trend making its way into organizations with varying degrees of success, has become the only possible working model.

It is true that there were already some leading companies that offered the option of remote working to their employees or that combined the face-to-face and remote models. However, companies have never before been forced to manage all their activities remotely.

And for this reason, we should use digital signatures to help validate agreements.

From handwritten to digital signature

On Wikipedia, the definition of signature is a handwritten (and often stylized) depiction of someone’s name. Obviously, from a digital point of view this definition does not give us much confidence since we all know how easy it is to copy and paste with the right software. However, it is the legal nature of this definition that provides us with the answer:

“A signature is intended to identify, secure or authenticate the identity of an author or sender, or as evidence of consent and verification of the integrity and approval of the information contained in a document or similar, and has legal value”.

In other words, a signature is an approval or consent that what is written reflects the agreement and is also intended to validate the identity of the author. Therefore, in a face-to-face environment we require the assistance of the signee, but in a digital environment we will need a digital signature.

“A digital signature is a cryptographic mechanism that allows the receiver of a digitally signed message to identify the sender of that message (origin and non-repudiation authentication), and to confirm that the message has not been altered since it was signed by the sender (integrity)”.

Legislation’s push for digital signatures

In recent years, all countries in the world have made an enormous effort to adapt their legislation to electronic signatures, and to give them the legal equivalent to a handwritten signature.

In Europe in particular, the eIDAS Regulation creates a European internal market for eTS – namely electronic signatures, electronic seals, time stamp, electronic delivery service and website authentication – by ensuring that they will work across borders and have the same legal status as traditional paper-based processes. 

Obviously, this standard not only has a positive impact on the online economy, but also helps to speed up cross-border business activities, as it provides the most basic element in any agreement – trust!

Digital signatures, combined with process automation and document management platforms, simplify transactions and help improve the efficiency of operations.

Signing agreements remotely

During the last few years all the organizations in the world have started their digital transformation process with the aim of becoming more efficient and more competitive. As part of this process, companies in a range of fields such as health care, public administration, human resources, banking and insurance or sales, have turned to electronic signatures to facilitate the approval of documents, contracts, payments, etc.

The biggest challenge of remote working is collaboration and communication

Let’s imagine for a moment that a company, dedicated to manufacturing medical supplies, receives a complaint that forces them to redesign one of their products. Of course, this process involves coordinating the work of various specialists, who must supervise and approve changes, which must adhere to the specific health regulations of each of the countries where the product is distributed.

Is it possible to perform this procedure in a remote-work environment?

We will respond to this by saying that it is not only possible, but in fact necessary. A low-code tool, like AuraPortal, will allow us to automate the whole process and will guarantee communication and coordination between all team members.

Also, with the signature complement included in the platform we have the option to use certified or guaranteed signatures in pdf. Thus, we can ensure that the right steps are being taken under the supervision of the corresponding specialist or manager. And with the guarantees that the signed documents comply with the appropriate regulations and requirements.

Tomás Martí
tomas.marti@auraportal.com