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E-Signatures

This page includes answers to common FAQs around the Secure Messaging e-signature feature. If your question is not answered here, try reviewing the documentation available on this site. If your question is still unanswered, please contact Secure Messaging support: wilson@secure-messaging.com.


What are the advantages of using Secure Messaging’s secure e-signature feature

  • Ease of use: Secure Messaging is a simple SaaS application that you can access in a variety of ways, including as a standalone webapp, by integrating its add-in into Outlook, Office 360, Gmail, Chrome, Salesforce, MS Dynamics and other programs; registering new users is simple and takes minutes using existing email accounts without requiring IT oversight; once registered, providing and requesting e-signatures takes seconds and occurs right in the users email without requiring any additional workflow or programs.
  • Security and compliance: Using Secure Messaging to provision e-signatures means that the process is encrypted throughout, ensuring the integrity and security of all messages and documents; plus, Secure Messaging uses a strategically located network of Microsoft Azure servers to ensure that you can comply with any data jurisdiction requirements.
  • Assurance: Because Secure Messages ensures the security of transaction from end to end and time-stamps every e-signature, any e-signature provisioned through Secure Messaging can be authenticated and is non-repudiable.
  • Branding: Because the Secure Messaging portal is private labeled and branded to your organization, at no point during the exchange will anyone think they are dealing with anyone but you. The absence of documents having to go through 3rd-party solution providers will not only allay users’ fears that process is not secure, but it will bolster your brand and authority as an organization that knows how to effectively and securely conduct business in a digital economy.
  • Tracking and control: With Secure Messaging, along with the capability to restrict users from forwarding files, you can easily recall a sensitive document sent to the wrong recipient. Plus, with the secure e-signature feature integrated right into Secure Messaging, you also get real-time notification alerts and can be notified of every point along the transaction, such as when a required signatory reviews or signs the file you have sent them.As well, you can opt at any time to click into an overall timeline snapshot of all activity on a file. This makes it simple to send out targeted reminders to only the required signatories who need prompting. You can also easily add additional controls onto e-signatures requests such as deadlines and expiry dates.
  • Archiving and e-discovery: For most regulated industries or any organization that needs to archive electronic communications, managing the storage and retrieval of communications is onerous and often costly given that it often requires third-party archival services. Plus, PKI-encrypted messages may become difficult or impossible to retrieve if the encryption key is lost.With Secure Messaging, all data is MD5-hashed for later comparison and validation of the original information (which always includes verifiable records of whether messages were received and when they were read). Hashed documents are stored indefinitely on the Secure Messaging portal (and can be stored decrypted into your existing third-party archive) regardless of the data retention policies set in place for your portal, ensuring auditability at any time.Secure Messaging enhances compliance with major privacy and security laws and regulations (including major legislation such as E-SIGN, GLBA, and HIPAA in the U.S.; PIPEDA in Canada; and the Electronic Transactions Act in Australia). Plus, messages and files can be automatically sent to archive (such as like Global Relay) and the entire exchange is secure and, if necessary, can be integrated into your SSO (OAuth or SAML) environment.
  • Full mobile functionality: It’s simple to obtain an e-signature using the Secure Messaging mobile app or via a device browser. Unlike other products, users don’t need to download the file and open it in a separate program (e.g., a PDF), or wait until they can get back to their desktop to sign. Because the file is stored securely in the cloud, users can sign time-sensitive documents on the spot from anywhere. The e-signature feature is fully supported on all mobile devices, including iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry 10. As well, for even greater protection for e-signed and other exchanged documents, Secure Messaging supports fingerprint authentication on iOS devices.

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What is the difference between e-signatures and digital signatures?

Electronic signatures and digital signatures are commonly misunderstood to mean the same thing when, in reality, they are quite distinct. When choosing a signing solution, you should know the difference, especially because of the variance in costs and ease of implementation, among other factors.

Digital signatures are essentially basic, unsecured e-signatures with an added layer of cryptography to protect the integrity of the signature and the original document during transmission. This is accomplished primarily through the use of public key infrastructure (PKI) technology.

Along with guaranteeing the signer’s identity and intent, as well as data integrity, digitally encrypted signatures also provide the assurance of non-repudiation, meaning that the signer cannot claim they did not sign a message while also maintaining that their private key is valid.

The issues with enabling PKI encryption at all points during the exchange is that it requires additional hardware and/or software, thus making it more laborious and costly to implement and use, and it requires complicated exchange of keys between participants, potentially resulting in a lack of uptake as users may be unwilling to use it due to the added complexity.

The choice, thus, was either compromising on security in favor of ease-of-use and lower implementation costs or shelling out for the added cost and weight of digital signature encryption software to achieve true secure file exchange capability.

With the secure e-signature feature in Secure Messaging, there are no compromises required and no additional costs to ensure security. With Secure Messaging, you can seamlessly and securely sign and exchange a full range of document types simply by typing your name and clicking a button—all from within your email program and in a matter of seconds. Secure Messaging e-signatures are legally binding and non-repudiable.

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If I am using Secure Messaging, can I still use my existing digital signature solution?

Secure Messaging includes legally binding, non-repudiable secure e-signatures. Requesting a secure e-signature from someone is as simple as attaching a file to your message from the e-signature section of the Delivery Slip. Providing a secure e-signature is as simple as previewing an attachment and typing your name in the field provided.

In addition, the message tracking feature provides fully auditable and totally reliable tracking information for each secure message and e-signature request. The sender is able to see if the message has been read, the date and time it was read, whether the message was replied to or forwarded, and when the document was e-signed—and all without the need for complex digital signature systems.

If you do have a legacy digital signature system in place that you wish to keep using, Secure Messaging integrates with most products available today on the market.

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Can e-signature documents be modified?

Once you add a document as an e-signature document in a secure message and send it, it can’t be changed. Recipients can preview it, download a copy, or sign it as is. Users are not able to download and re-upload an altered version. There’s only one file in the secure cloud that gets updated with the signatures as the required signatories sign.

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Does the e-signature feature allow for multiple authorization fields in different places of the document or image?

Currently, the e-signature feature adds a certification page at the end of the document where all required signatories are listed with a field next to each where they will type in their names to create an e-signature and authorize the contents of the file.

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If a PDF file has a password attached to it, would secure messaging still be able to add the digital signature to it?

We currently do not support password protected PDF documents for e-signature documents.

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On digitally signed documents, are clients able to use their logo on the e-certificate page?

The logo that appears on the e-certificate page is typically that of the generating portal owner.

 

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