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Enabling Digital Signatures for Remote Workers

To avoid proliferation of the Coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended social distancing. The business world has generally been quick to respond, moving to 100% remote work where possible. But as companies across the globe settle in to their second – or eighth – week of remote operations, the full weight of this massive change is just coming to bear. Is your organization equipped with the right tools you need to keep business moving? Chances are, you’re learning the answer to that question in real-time.

Document Signing from a Distance

The home office, if well implemented, is largely advantageous for both parties. Providing quality of life to workers and productivity gains for companies. The stats don’t lie, as seen in this list compiled from Hubspot:

  • 81% of employees say the option to work remotely would make them more likely to recommend their company to job candidates and prospects. (Owl Labs)
  • 74% of employees say that a remote work option would make them less likely to leave their company. (Owl Labs)
  • 77% of remote employees say they're more productive when working from home. (CoSo Cloud)
  • 23% of remote workers say they work longer hours than they would on-site. (CoSo Cloud)

However, remote work comes with its disadvantages, too. While most enterprises have been focusing on their digital transformation the last few years, many are still utilizing processes that have manual, printed, or face-to-face components. Document signing is perhaps the best example of this.

While there are times where an electronic signature would suffice, in some cases – for example, on critical documents like contracts, tax forms, and invoices – a more secure, authenticated signature is required. 

Here are a few other reasons to use trusted digital signatures:

  • Security. A digital signature confirms that signers are really who they say they are, and it prevents retrospective changes to the signed document. 
  • Time. Signing a document with ink doesn’t take any longer than signing with a digital signature. But the time it takes to send an ink signed document to the recipient can easily take days, if not weeks. A digitally signed document can be sent in minutes via emails. 
  • Collaboration. In times of remote working and physical distancing, it’s difficult to come together to sign documents. This is especially tricky if several people have to sign one contract. Digital signatures allow for a quick turnaround without the need to meet in person. 
  • The environment. Think of all the sheets of paper and the delivery carbon emissions that can be saved! Digital signatures are the green alternative to wet ink signatures.  
  • Legal compliance. Digital signatures are legally admissible and equivalent to ink signatures. 

At this point, you’re probably realizing that digital signatures would drastically improve your remote work-life so the only question is, “How do I get started?”

How to Implement Digital Signatures in Your Organization

Depending on the size of your company and how quickly you would like to get your team up and running and signing documents, there are a few different options for how to proceed. 

1) Token-Based Deployments
In situations where you need a short-term solution for enabling digital signatures in your organization or if you have a smaller deployment size, tokens are the way to go. Token-based deployments are ideal for lower volume signature needs, since the logistics around physically getting them to a distributed workforce can take a few extra steps given today’s global environment. Individual (e.g., John Smith) or department-level (e.g., Accounting) signing credentials are stored on a portable, Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS)-complaint USB token so they stay in the sole possession of the signer (a critical component of many regulations). The good news is, once employees receive their tokens they have everything they need to start signing documents. 

2) Cloud-Based Digital Signing Service
For a long-term solution that is designed to scale, GlobalSign’s Digital Signing Service (DSS) makes enterprise-wide document signing easy (really!). DSS is cloud-based, which means there’s no need to manage any physical hardware or build any custom integrations. You can choose to utilize the REST API to seamlessly integrate it with your existing systems and/or software, or implement DSS in conjunction with an existing workflow application, like Adobe Acrobat Sign. To see DSS in action, check out our video How to Sign a PDF in Adobe Acrobat DC.

Regardless of your unique business situation, here at GlobalSign our role is to ensure that you are able to provide your staff with a frictionless digital signature experience wherever you are, all while keeping your information securely encrypted.

How we can help you:

  • Providing Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)-based digital signatures to offer higher assurance
  • Increasing online security and trust through the provisioning of strong identities
  • Managing certificate-related risks (weak encryption, obsolete algorithms, expirations, etc.)
  • Meeting the requirements of many national and industry-specific regulations regarding the legal acceptance of electronic signatures in place of wet ink signatures, for example:
    • US ESIGN (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce)
    • FDA CFR 21 Part 11
    • US UETA (Uniform Electronic Transactions Act)
    • US State Professional Engineering (PE) Seals
    • UN Model Electronic Signature Law
    • Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)
    • eIDAS (advanced & qualified e-signatures, eSeals)
    • HIPAA

We know that this process of creating a safe and productive remote work environment can seem like an impossible task, one your company hasn’t been faced with before. But using a token, HSM, or cloud signing service like the Digital Signing Service will help create a new normal for you and your company.

Contact us today so we can tell you more about our document signing solutions and help make this uncharted transition from office to quarantine as smooth and as secure as possible.