Business Writing on Electronic Signature Technology
During our February 3 meeting, upper level management expressed concerns about not being able to deal with customer accounts online. We discussed some of the problems they encounter when trying to process transactions online. We agreed some changes needed to be made and that new technology needs to be researched for our online business transactions. The use of electronic signatures was at the top of our list.
Many of our competitors have already built-in e-signature verification within their systems for online business and for handling their financial records. Using this innovative, high-ranking technology can significantly cut down on the time it takes to process online business. Consequently, it is urgent that we take rapid action toward the procedures required for incorporating the use of Electronic Signatures.
An electronic signature program can provide this company with an advanced solution for handling transactions online, as well as for lessening the cost of processing files through mail or long distance traveling. "The use of an e-signature is creating greater consumer confidence in online business transactions…" (Hammar, Sven), over the Internet. One of the most important elements to increasing online business, in conjunction with increasing sales, is to find which type of e-signature program to put into action.
In order to make best use of electronic commerce opportunities, a secure environment with respect to electronic signatures is needed. Several different methods exist to sign documents electronically varying from very simple methods (e.g. inserting a scanned image of a hand-written signature in a word processing document) to very advanced methods (e.g. digital signatures using 'public-key cryptography'). The term "Electronic Signature" is currently being used, but there is currently no agreed definition for it. It is likely that different interpretations may exist behind the following definition and wording.
"The term 'electronic signature' means information or data in electronic form, attached to or logically associated with an electronic record, and executed or adopted by a person or an electronic agent of a person, with the intent to sign a contract, agreement, or record," according to Jon Udell.
When digital signatures are used, the verification of the authenticity of data does not necessarily prove the identity of the signer that created the electronic signature. How does for instance the recipient of a signed document know without ambiguity who the signer is or make sure that it is the one that he claims to be? The recipient may wish to obtain more reliable information on the identity of the signer. The signer himself, issuing the recipient with satisfactory proof, can give such information. Another way is to have it confirmed by a trust service provider (e.g. an authority trusted by one or more parties).