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Risk ManagementIn our most recent set of blog entries on the Digital Signature ROI, we’ve been discussing risk; that is, how electronic signature solutions like SIGNiX can significantly reduce or eliminate the risks typically associated with paper and wet ink signature processes. In the next two blog entries in the series, we’ll be focusing on the risk mitigation benefits of digital signatures specifically. 

Digital signatures, if you recall, are a specific type of electronic signature that use digital certificates (identity credentials) to electronically sign documents according to a set range of cryptographic and document standards, producing documents that can be reviewed and validated using popular, free PDF viewers like Adobe Reader. SIGNiX uses digital signatures exclusively in its ‘zero footprint’ electronic signature service.

“But,” you’re saying, “electronic signatures are legal, right? It shouldn’t matter what technology I use.”

From a general legal perspective, you’re right—at least here in the United States where the law itself is technology neutral. However, when we speak of signatures, we can’t limit ourselves to what’s “OK” now. Documents, contracts and covenants last much longer than a typical technology cycle: insurance policies, home mortgages and brand-customer relationships can last decades. Those time periods demand that we take a step back, and ensure that the technology we do choose will stand the test of time and be the equal of the documents that need to be signed.

In other words, just because any type of electronic signature is legal now does not necessarily mean that it can or will be verifiable in the future, when those documents might be called into question. Think about it, have you ever…

  • … had content stuck on storage media that you could no longer access? 
  • …composed documents in very early versions of Word that are no longer accessible even in today’s version of Word? 
  • …not been able to install older software on the latest version of Mac OS or Windows? 
  • …chosen a technology vendor only to see them go out of business, leaving you with an expensive migration bill?

Moving to the cloud does not insulate you from these concerns. Accessing data, completing transactions and storing documents via the web simply moves the technology risk out from behind your firewall… you still need to be cognizant of the fact that your data, your contracts and your brand could be locked in with a specific vendor. Sure, the cloud is far cheaper, but what happens when your vendor goes out of business or decides to change focus?

Forbes, in an article late last year, pointed out that companies who transition to cloud-based services often fail to “factor in the costs of migrating off the system, expenses which could be prohibitive and unexpected.” Talk about risk!

Stay tuned for Part 2 where you'll be asked a series of questions you can't afford to miss.

ROI of Digital Signatures Calculator

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