Portfolios feature aids POPI, FICA compliance

doc dSignFlow’s secure multi-document portal, Portfolios, offers businesses a reliable means of complying with stringent regulations.

There are two well-known and much-publicised Acts that make South African businesses shudder in their shoes – the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) of 2001 and the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act of 2013.

The two pieces of legislation have much in common. To begin with, they both have to do with how your business deals with customer identification and verification processes, and how it stores and maintains customer and transactional records. Secondly, there are severe penalties associated with non-compliance – severe enough, in many cases, to cause irreparable reputational and financial damage.

Third of all – and this is the good news – SignFlow can help you comply with both. Our digital signature workflow solution offers you an efficient and sure-fire means of making sure your business processes and IT systems are up to scratch when it comes to compliance with both these Acts – so you need no longer shy away from the dreaded “F-word” and “P-word”.

Portfolios

FICA and POPI compliance largely comes down to how you transmit, maintain and store customer data and, while the sheer volume and variety of data may make the process seem very complicated, SignFlow’s Portfolios feature offers you a surprisingly simple means of tackling it.

A SignFlow Portfolio is basically a portal where you can accumulate multiple documents that have been through a workflow and signed, in combination with documents that are just uploaded and stored.

Because there is no email (which is inherently insecure) involved and all documents are uploaded through a secure, encrypted channel, to an online portal where they can only be accessed by the individuals authorised to access them, Portfolios is an invaluable tool to have in your arsenal when you are striving for FICA and/or POPI compliance.

Let’s take an insurance company, for example:

  • The company requires identification and proof of residence documents (documents required by FICA that both also have a bearing on POPI) from a client.
  • That same client needs to sign a contract, which contains personal and financial information, and send it back to the company.
  • SignFlow Portfolios enables you and your client to upload and share documents (both signed and unsigned) via an encrypted portal.
  • There is no emailing, printing or scanning of documents involved at any stage.
  • All your client’s information is kept neatly in one designated, easy-to-access and searchable databank.

Given that the implementation date for the POPI Act is expected to be set this year – and in light of the FICA failures* we have seen in the past, you are under more pressure than ever before to make sure your business complies. Contact SignFlow today for more information on how we can ease the pressure and give you total peace of mind.

* In April 2014, the South African Reserve Bank fined the country’s four largest banks R125 million collectively for failing to comply with FICA. (www.sanews.gov.za)

Who says nothing in life is free?


bunny DSignFlow is giving all new and existing SignFree users three FREE workflows.

When we created SignFree, the only digital signature platform worldwide with a totally free, fully functional interface that doesn’t expire, we told you it was free – and always would be. Great news, right? Well, it just got better.

Stepping it up a notch, SignFlow is now giving all SignFree clients – new and existing – three free (that’s free, not “free”) workflows.

What’s the catch, you may ask? There isn’t one. Simply sign up as a SignFree user – either by registering on the website or receiving a document to sign from another user – and you get a free passport to our digital world of efficiency.

And if you are already a SignFree user, you don’t need to do a thing – three free workflows are yours. You’re welcome.

Essentially, we are giving SignFree users a fully-fledged SignFlow with Workflow account, limited to three workflows (effective as of 1 March 2017).

Interested? You can register right now, right here.

Benefits & features

Now that you have this awesome digital signature solution securely in your grasp, you probably want to know what you can do with it.

First of all, you can sign as many documents as you want and store up to 50 in the SignFlow cloud. So you can upload documents requiring your signature, sign them in SignFlow and send them on to the relevant person through the system – no email tennis, no printing, no scanning, no time wasting.

With your new workflow account, you can also bring a document in to SignFlow and send it out to as many people as you want to sign your document. A workflow can comprise of any number of signers and/or approvers.

As a SignFlow user, you have your own Dashboard and Profile setup, which is full of functionality and easy to navigate. This includes, among other handy items, a suite of Microsoft plug-ins to make your SignFlow experience even more seamless.

Then, of course, there are all the cool customisable features that come with having a SignFlow account – like the option to either free-hand draw your signature, or choose one from a variety of fonts, as in the images below.

Choose font signatureDraw signature

In a nutshell, SignFlow is a digital signature workflow manager fully digitises (and enhances) any process that requires a document to be signed or approved. When it comes to our SignFree with Workflow solution, compared to others out there, you will find more functionality, more documents, more security, stronger compliance and a superior customer experience.

We could go on for pages about all the things you can do with your SignFlow account and free workflows, but figure it would be more fun for you to explore your newfound digital signature capabilities yourself. To learn more about the world of options SignFlow opens up, visit our Features and Benefits page, here.

Finally, all that’s left to say is, “Enjoy!” If you like the system and want to keep on workflowing – why not sign up for a SignFree with Workflow account? It’s easy, affordable and sure to become so indispensable a tool, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.

SignFlow enables Group Signing for mandate registers

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group meeting eOur leading digital signature technology is further diversified with the addition of a feature enabling mandated group signing.

Our digital signature solution has just become more powerful with the addition of Group Signing – a parallel workflow feature for mandate registers.

The SignFlow team has been hard at work, as always, advancing what is already a world-class digital signing and workflow solution, to give our users a top-notch experience, with everything they need to do business at their fingertips.

The latest addition to the SignFlow set of business tools, Group Signing, is a valuable and efficient tool for companies with mandate registers (people in an organisation that are authorised to sign off certain key documents).

Unlike a sequential workflow, in which a document in need of a signature/signatures is distributed to a number of people, one after the next, Group Signing is a parallel workflow feature – meaning a number of people will receive a document at the same time.

Characteristically SignFlow, this new feature is completely user-friendly and the process quick and painless.

Let’s take facility letters sent out by banks to illustrate the process. There may be ten directors that have signed a mandate authorising them to sign annual facility letters, but the bank only requires signatures from two directors. The bank would then set up a group called “Company Directors”, for instance, and load all ten directors as signers. The document is prepared with two signature fields and sent to all directors simultaneously. As soon as any two of the ten have signed, quorum is reached and the workflow is complete (or, depending on how it is set up, it may continue to completion).

What makes SignFlow’s Group Signing feature unique, is the fact that it allows a combination of sequential and parallel workflow – also known as Advanced Routing – which lets users combine individual signers and group sign-offs, in a single workflow configuration.

The addition of Group Signing follows two other game-changing features that were built into the SignFlow application recently, namely Face-to-face Signing and Geolocation.

Goodbye ink, hello digital signatures

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With the business world turning increasingly to digitally signed documents, the hand-written signature is on its last legs.

digital-signing

With more businesses and entities than ever before turning to digitally signed documents to solve security issues and improve logistics, the value and lifespan of the hand-written signature has come under serious scrutiny.

While there is a certain sentimentality – perhaps an emotional attachment bred at school level – still attached to an individual’s unique autograph, there are overarching ideals that suggest a future without it.

In fact the hand-written or ink signature has, in recent times, been likened to landline telephones and typewriters – age-old tools that, beyond their nostalgic appeal, are on their death bed. In the corporate world, which is increasingly aspiring towards a paperless future, pen-and-paper signing has been dubbed the enemy.

Leon van der Merwe, head of digital at PBSA and co-founder of South African based digital signature solution SignFlow, believes the hand-written signature’s time is slowly but surely coming to an end. “Ink signatures have been a part of human culture for aeons and, for their time, they had their place. But with today’s technology, there is no reason for us to hang on to something that, for all intents and purposes, is about as dependable as a fake Facebook profile.”

Ink signature snags

Van der Merwe points out the biggest problem with hand-written signatures is that they can easily be forged. “There are a number of ways in which digital signatures trump hand-written ones, but the most significant and compelling feature of digital above ink is that of security.

“Digital signatures use a cryptographic operation that creates a hash-code, which is unique to both the signer and the content. It cannot be copied, forged or tampered with. The whole process provides irrefutable proof of the signer’s identity, protects the data integrity of the document and provides non-repudiation of signed documents.”

Apart from ink signatures being prone to forgery, a general attitude of inattentiveness has crept in over the years, making them quite literally a joke. This is most applicable when it comes to transaction authorisation.

“When last did you notice a waiter or retail clerk checking the signature you pen on the receipt? And do you always sign legibly and consistently?” asks Van der Merwe.

As far back as 2001, Internet humourist John Hargrave experimented with this notion in a credit card prank in which he forged outlandish signatures on receipts. He reportedly signed receipts with, among others, “Mariah Carey”, “Beethoven” and “I stole this card”. Hargrave even signed in hieroglyphics. None of the merchants noticed. (Hargrave recounts his famous Credit Card Prank in his 2007 book, Prank the Monkey)

‘Sign here’ has been replaced with ‘Click here’

Former US president Bill Clinton lent credence to the solidity of signing digitally in 2000, when he signed the first US bill into law electronically.

Renowned Amercian business magazine, Forbes, begins its article on Clinton’s watershed signing with the line, “‘Sign here’ has just been replaced with ‘click here’.”

Another turning point in the life of the digital signature took place earlier this year, in July, when the European Union effected new guidelines for electronic signatures, giving them the same legal power as hand-written signatures.

“The benefits of employing digital business processes far outweigh the paper-reliant processes of days gone by and it’s only a matter of time before digital signatures take over from their expiring ink-on-paper counterparts,” says Van der Merwe.

Not only are digital signatures undeniably more secure and unable to be forged, he concludes, they are legally sound. “Importantly, they also create a digital audit trail and they don’t rely on filing, printing, scanning or back-and-forth emailing – paper-based processes that cost companies profoundly, in terms of both time and money.”

REFERENCES

SignFlow

The Verge

New Republic

Forbes

SignFlow geolocation bolsters non-repudiation

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Just when you thought SignFlow’s watertight non-repudiation could not possibly get stronger, the team has introduced geolocation to its world-class digital signing solution.

This comes as SignFlow Version 3.0 was released in August, a move that saw significantly improved workflow functionality, comprising electronic initialling and multi-document portfolios.

The addition of geolocation adds to the already sound robustness of the solution, as the geographical location (geolocation) of the signer is recorded and added to the audit log – one of the key benefits of using a digital signing solution.

When the signer makes their digital mark on the document or documents in a workflow, their physical coordinates are immediately recorded and will display in the audit trail after the document is initialled or signed.

Locating the physical address of the signer is simple and straight-forward – simply click on the Maps Pin (inverted drop-shaped icon) to view the location on Google Maps with your browser.

This is how it works: from the audit trail in SignFlow, you will see a line tagged “Location”. Next to the location will be a Maps Pin icon. Click on the Pin and your browser will automatically open the location in a new window using Google Maps.

geolocation 1

Google recognises this detail as coordinates and opens an overview map. All you need to do then, is click on the Google Map to zoom in on the exact physical location the signer was when they signed the document.

geolocation 2

With this information in hand, the level of non-repudiation associated with the document in question is supreme.

When used in conjunction with another one of SignFlow’s recent breakthroughs – Face-to-face Signing – there is irrefutable proof that both the signee and the witness were at the same location, at the same time, when the document was signed.

SignFlow’s new geolocation is just one of the many new features developing from the team’s consistent and continual efforts to bring you the world’s leading digital signing solution.

Delta State tackles land ownership with SA tech

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itologo

Published by IT-Online on 29 June 2016

 

Nigeria’s oil and agricultural producing state Delta State makes a major breakthrough in land title acquisition using new digital signature technology.

New, locally-developed, digital signature technology sits behind a major breakthrough for Nigeria’s Delta State government, which kicks off its “Fast Track 90” scheme – a new digital system for the acquisition of legal titles for landed property.

Historically an onerous process fraught with bottlenecks, bureaucracy and prone to fraud, the issuance of Certificate-of-Occupancy (C-of-O) to property owners in Delta State will, going forward, be fast tracked to 90 days and fraud-proofed – thanks to a system written by pbDigital, a division of South African customer communications firm PBSA.

Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, unveiled the Fast Track 90 scheme at the end of March, saying one of the biggest hindrances to investors was the high cost and delays associated with acquiring the legal titles to landed property in Delta State, Nigeria’s oil and agricultural producing state.

“Fast Track 90, an innovative policy of this administration designed to enhance ease of business in the state, has been initiated to overcome the bottlenecks that have become a recurring decimal in obtaining C-of-Os, it will take a maximum of ninety days for land owners to obtain their C-of-Os from the Ministry of Lands and Surveys and the new system is fast, transparent and in line with global best practices,” says Okowa.

The solution was positioned as having significant benefits for Delta State, including much faster turnaround times, considerably reduced C-of-O fees, security surety and, ultimately, increased investment in the state

Fast Track 90 relies on a software platform – recently developed specifically for the project – which connects to PBSA’s High Security Module Cloud Server infrastructure in South Africa. The solution is a hybrid, digital certificate issuing and verification solution for certificates that also need to be printed on paper.

Leon van der Merwe, head of pbDigital, explains: “Smatforms, a channel partner of PBSA in Nigeria, approached PBSA for a solution to digitise the paper-based issuing process for Delta State C-of-O documents. The solution-platform is built on pbDigital’s cloud technology that uses state-of-the-art cryptography to embed digital signatures in PDF documents.  The system is an end-to-end solution for issuing these documents.”

The software system features four main fully integrated platforms:

* Certificate Creator – a platform to import the variable data of the citizen that appears on the certificate.

* PDF and QR Code Creator – a platform that produces the digital certificates, each with its own unique QR code for printing.

* Digital Signature Workflow – a platform that allows the certificates to go through a digital approval and sign-off process.

* Certificate Manager – a platform that gives management full visibility throughout the certificate creation, sign-off and post certificate management processes.

Certificate verification

The printed certificate that is issued to the citizen contains an embedded QR code, explains Van der Merwe. “When the QR code is scanned with any generic, free QR code scanner using an online smart device, the original electronic document is opened from a secure cloud location. The electronic version of the document and the printed paper copy presented by the citizen can be compared and must have exactly the same content.

“The authenticity of the electronic document can also be verified by using a free version of Adobe PDF Reader to verify the signatures.

“The digital signatures on the document that were applied by the official authorities when the document was produced, carry X.509 personal cryptographic properties. During the verification process, these signature properties will have the verified personal information and Adobe AATL (Adobe Approved Trust List) certificate information embedded in each digital signature.”

Although developed for Delta State’s new C-of-O scheme, pbDigital’s digital certificate software can be used in any process involving the issuance of printed documents in need of future verification. “The software speeds up business processes, digitises workflow – creating a full audit trail – and completely eradicates fraud,” Van der Merwe adds.

SA tech underpins Delta State’s ‘Fast Track 90’ system

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itweb africa logo

Published by ITWeb Africa on 29 June 2016

 

Nigeria’s Delta State has launched the ‘Fast Track 90’ digital system designed for the acquisition of legal titles for landed property.

Historically an onerous process fraught with bottlenecks, bureaucracy and prone to fraud, the issuance of Certificate-of-Occupancy (C-of-O) to property owners in Delta State will, going forward, be fast tracked to 90 days and fraud-proofed, claims pbDigital, a division of South African customer communications firm PBSA, and the company that developed the technology behind the digital system.

Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, unveiled the Fast Track 90 scheme at the end of March, saying one of the biggest hindrances to investors was the high cost and delays associated with acquiring the legal titles to landed property.

“Fast Track 90, an innovative policy of this administration designed to enhance ease of business in the state, has been initiated to overcome the bottlenecks that have become a recurring decimal in obtaining C-of-Os, it will take a maximum of ninety days for land owners to obtain their C-of-Os from the Ministry of Lands and Surveys and the new system is fast, transparent and in line with global best practices,” said Okowa.

Fast Track 90 relies on a software platform – recently developed specifically for the project – which connects to PBSA’s High Security Module Cloud Server infrastructure in South Africa. The solution is a hybrid, digital certificate issuing and verification solution for certificates that also need to be printed on paper.

Leon van der Merwe, head of pbDigital, explains: “Smatforms, a channel partner of PBSA in Nigeria, approached PBSA for a solution to digitise the paper-based issuing process for Delta State C-of-O documents. The solution-platform is built on pbDigital’s cloud technology that uses state-of-the-art cryptography to embed digital signatures in PDF documents. The system is an end-to-end solution for issuing these documents.”

Certificate verification

The printed certificate that is issued to the citizen contains an embedded QR code, explains Van der Merwe. “When the QR code is scanned with any generic, free QR code scanner using an online smart device, the original electronic document is opened from a secure cloud location. The electronic version of the document and the printed paper copy presented by the citizen can be compared and must have exactly the same content.

“The authenticity of the electronic document can also be verified by using a free version of Adobe PDF Reader to verify the signatures.

“The digital signatures on the document that were applied by the official authorities when the document was produced, carry X.509 personal cryptographic properties. During the verification process, these signature properties will have the verified personal information and Adobe AATL (Adobe Approved Trust List) certificate information embedded in each digital signature.”