How to sign a document electronically

During the past years we have discussed about the advantages of eSigning documents in the insurance, telecommunications, distribution and HR sector. But how does it really work? Do you need technical knowledge to use it? Below we explain you how it works in a quick and easy way based on the solutions offered by Viafirma..

Evolution of document signature

Pen and paper is a thing of the past. Digitization has revolutionized many aspects of the industry and many processes have changed radically, making it easier, faster, more efficient, as well as more eco-friendly.

If what you need is simply to sign a pdf, within 30 seconds anyone can do it thanks to Adobe Reader.

However, in the business world there are other people that need to go further as they need to increase the level of security and efficiency of their signing process, therefore they might require solutions such as those offered by Viafirma.

Types of digital signature

At this point, it is convenient to recall the types of electronic signatures that exist, all of which are contemplated in the legal framework of the eIDAS regulation.

  • Simple electronic signature: Simple electronic signature means data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign. It has legal effect and can hold up in a court of law, although it may have to be backed with other type of evidence.
  • Advanced electronic signature: A signature that is uniquely linked to the signatory, allowing their identification. Created using signature creation data that only the signatory can use, with a high level of confidence, under their exclusive control and linked to the data signed by them so that any possible further changes are detected. This type of signature certifies the identity of the signatory, integrity of data, providing more legal guarantees.
  • Qualified electronic signature: It is an advanced electronic signature created using a qualified electronic signature creation device and based on a qualified certificate. It enjoys the highest possible level of security and will have a legal effect similar to the handwritten signature.

Digital signature with 100% legal validity

When entering this world, the first thing to do is to assess which solution to use from all those available on the market. The type of signature to adopt should be a matter of great importance and must not be decided quickly, as a security breach could cause many problems

In addition, it must also be able to provide legal evidence for legal validity. This will verify the identity of the user and their connection with the eSignature which can be used in a court of law.

Finally, what anyone interested in this type of solution should take into account is what are the functionalities offered or compatible external devices to meet the specific needs of each.

After assessing all these factors prior to choosing any application, let’s see for ourselves the ease of use.

How to sign documents online remotely

The first thing we need is a document to be signed that is preferably in PDF format. We can add legal evidence to it, based on the conditions established by our legal department.

The legal evidence supports and strengthens the digital signature. Several types can be included in the document, which are the following:

  • Photo: often used in cases such as courier services, when a photo of the delivered package is taken or when further elements such as ID card, passport or a receipt need to be attached.
  • Location: GPS is used to track the location during the process. This method is widely used in parcel deliveries to ensure that the courier has delivered to the specified address.
  • Official time capture: the exact time at which the signature took placed, backed by a Time Stamping Authority (TSA).
  • Biometric data capture: through supported devices (such as Wacom or Topaz) biometric data can be collected such as the stroke speed or orientation.
  • Fingerprint capture: another way to identify the signer is with the fingerprint capture through specific devices.
  • Utterance capture: the voice is another unique and identifying biometric feature that can be used as another piece of evidence.

In some cases the process is simpler and does not require major steps to provide full legal support. For example, consent for the use of personal data. A signature is all that is required to accept the terms. In other more complex scenarios, greater evidence is desirable. This way, the security of the contract improves significantly. Viafirma solutions answer to any security level. The user decides the best option according to his/her scenario and requirements.

User biometrically signing a document

OTP Signature

In addition to the legal evidence described above, there are other ways of verifying user identity which are widely used in mobile devices: an OTP (One Time Password) code via SMS (SMS OTP) sent to the signer’s cell pone or email (Email OTP). This way, users can confirm their identity by linking them to their phone. The Spanish legislation ensures that this process is valid to identify the user.

eSign using SMS OTP

Sign a document online safely and legally

This type of verification is frequently used, especially in the banking sector. For example when making an online transaction our entity sends us an SMS with a code to verify it is us and there was no theft or security breach.

Other evidence may also be needed such as a picture in case of courier carriers before delivering a package, or when attaching the ID card.

Sign documents remotely, no installation required

To sign remotely the signer does not need to install anything when using Viafirma. We only need to enter their email address to receive the signature request on their inbox, so users are able to complete it from any web browser, on any device.

We also have a powerful form editor. In case we do not have all the data available from the other side, we simply create a form with the information we require so the user can fill it and then it can be reflected in the final document.

Templates can also be saved, which is particularly useful when the document has to be sent on a regular basis. For example, a salesperson who needs to send a document to be signed everytime a sales has been made.

Once the document is signed, inside the PDF the legal evidence is shown in the attached files, as well as any technical details, such as location, stroke pressure, type of device,etc.

In addition, the document status can be monitored at all times. In this way, you can know which ones are still pending signature and remind clients to end the signing process.

How to eSign documents in person

You might have used this system in the past. You sign on a tablet that collects a wealth of biometric data, such as the stroke speed or pressure applied. A clear example is the face-to-face signature in shopping centers.

Wacom devices are the most common devices used for this, but our solutions are able to accept other external devices. In this way, much more information is collected to meet the requirements of advanced electronic signature:

  • Linked to the signer in a unique and non-transferable manner.
  • It must allow its identification.
  • It must be created using data that the signer can use with trust and has exclusive control.
  • It must be linked to the data in the signed document preventing any subsequent modification thereof

Security during the process is one of our priorities, so the information captured is never in the hands of the service provider or the software manufacturer. The data is encrypted locally, which can only be accessed with software that can only be used with the order of a judge. While on iOS and Android devices, the application itself performs the encryption through a key of a trusted third party.

As we have explained, eSigning a document is performed in a legal and simple way, therefore it helps companies to optimize time and go paperless, which saves costs. Finally, this format is suitable for both face-to-face and remote environments.

All set?

It’s time to handle documents more efficiently