While physical borders may be going up in today’s world, electronic borders are coming down. Recent years have seen the rollout of electronic identification (eID) and electronic trust services (eTS) across EU member states, creating conditions for secure, prosperous cross-border trade across the digital single market. And there is a lot more to come. From September 2018, e-IDs and e-signatures – recognised for their unparalleled security – will be universal across the EU. Not incorporating them into your own company will put you and your customers at risk.
Because we recognise that compatibility is a necessity at SignWise Services, we support most common file types for your electronic signatory needs. But we do have a preference. Many Eastern European countries continue to use ASiC (associated signature) containers: data containers that store groups of electronic files and their associated electronic signatures and time assertions in a ZIP file. But we know that the universally recognisable PDF format is hands down the better choice. Here are three of the most important reasons why.
Everyone has experienced it at some point. You are at your desk waiting on an important document to sign, but when it finally arrives it’s in a format you can’t access. Frustrated, you don’t let this stop you. You download the right program, maybe you convert the file and eventually you can open it. But you know that the time you wasted could have been put to better use.
Needless inefficiency is one of one of the worst aspects of today’s workplace. There is no reason you should contribute to this by taking more time than needed issuing or validating e-signatures. Formatting can be a nightmare for ASiC containers, making documents inaccessible and unreadable. But with PDF it’s easy. And any file type, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, can be easily converted into PDF (and back again) without compromising on the size and quality of the file. When size matters, PDF really is the only way forward.
As well as needing time, ASiC containers need technical know-how.
Opening a document to validate a signature requires unique software applications. PDF files, on the other hand, can be signed without having to add the file to an ASiC container. And because of readers like Adobe, PDF documents are easily shareable and universally accessible – free of charge and from any device. You can rest easy knowing your recipient won’t have any trouble accessing your document.
Editing and navigating a document is also much easier with PDF. You can add your visual signature mark with ease. And because they’re completely searchable and come with the option of creating a table of contents linking you to specific pages, signposting your document has never been easier.
Threats to our digital security have never been stronger, so it’s essential you have the strongest format possible, not just in company but in case you become involved in legal action. One of the biggest advantages of using PDF files is that they meet the legal document requirements for use in a court of law. The reason is simple: because they are “read only” files, any third-party alterations leave a footprint.
In fact, such is our faith in the PDF format that we use it for the long-term preservation of electronic documents (PDF/A). If you want to guarantee your document’s durability, choose the most secure and efficient storage format available: PDF.
Security, efficiency, and accessibility are just some of the many reasons why PDF is the smartest choice for e-signatures. At SignWise Services we believe in compatibility, so we support both PDF and ASiC-E containers. But we also believe in efficiency, so we encourage you to start using PDF for all your e-signature needs. After all, it’s here to stay.
POST IS WRITTEN BY
founder @SignWise Services and electronic identity expert
I have primarily worked as an R&D visionary and adviser for PKI-based authentication, eSigning, eSignature validation and eAuthorization services. I was part of the team that worked on the Estonian electronic identity for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, creating service portals for local authorities and annual electronic reports submission system for the e-Business Registry – winning the Best e-Government Solution award at the World Summit Award in 2011.
Learn more about electronic identity and document signing trends and how you can get the support for your business by contacting SignWise Services team now.