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11 December 2018

Are your business documents protected against breaches?



You may have heard about the data breaches hitting big enterprises, but small and medium sized businesses are at risk too.

SMEs are dealing with:

●     Increased hacks; hackers see SMEs with little security as easy targets,

●     Poor data security is a business risk: hacked SMEs soon go out of business.

Document security doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.

In this post we will discuss three ways you can start securing your business documents today.


1.  Have a document management plan

Seventeen percent of businesses admit to storing paperwork in a shed; a further 16% keep business documents in a garage.

These were some of the most shocking findings from a Cleardata study.

Most of the businesses surveyed kept documents in costly filing cabinets, drawers and cupboards.

While these are better choices than a shed, they’re still expensive and inefficient options.

A good document management system would include the following:

●     Destroying dated client documents,

●     Ensuring you have easy access to documents,

●     Indexing and labelling documents.

An easy way to get the job done is to digitize your document storage.
There’re a few reasons this might be the better option in the long-term:

●     In the U.S, 98% of data breaches in one government division involved paper records, majority of document security breaches come with paper,

●     Over 60% of business who suffer a breach will go out of business within six months,

●     Managing paper documents cost U.S. businesses $8bn annually. 

Going digital means less storage costs, improved security and increased productivity as staff spend less time searching and refiling documents through filing cabinets.


2.  Use Digital Signatures

On top of making it easier and safer to store your digital documents, a digital signing platform makes it easier to do business and protects your firm against fraud.

A  couple, from Canada, leased a BMW but then stopped making payments. The BMW dealership seized the vehicle and ended up selling it at a loss on the open market. The car dealership opened up a case to reclaim their losses from the couple. The couple then alleged BMW had forged their signatures onto the lease applications.  Eventually BMW won, but only after a court battle that tested the evidence.

Let’s consider how digital signatures – which come with an audit trail – might reduce your vulnerability to potential fraud.

While electronic signatures come with its own risks, and can be easily falsified, digital signatures offer unique protection.

When you use a digital signature tool, a Certificate Authority binds your identity to a PKI-based Digital Certificate. Users end up with a unique digital fingerprint.
PKI technology is the only technology in the world that makes it impossible to forge signatures.

Using a tool like Secured Signing also lets everyone who has signed the document know when any changes have been made. All documents come with a complete digital trail.

3.  Password-Protect Your Files

Password protecting your client data is a simple way to start securing your documents today.

This is one of the practical tips from the Federal Trade Commission in the United States of America.

To mark National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the FTC launched a new resource to help 32 million businesses across the US protect themselves against hacks.

It doesn’t have to be hard.

In Microsoft Word and Excel, click:

  1. File
  2. Info
  3. Protect document
  4. Encrypt with password

Add an additional form of security by introducing different access levels for staff. It may not be necessary for all employees to have access to client’s personal information.


Conclusion

Securing your business data – and private customer information - has never been more important. The digital age has given rise to affordable technologies to keeping your business documents safe.

By protecting your customers’ data, you’re investing in protecting the future of your company.


Till next time,
John Webster


General

11 October 2008

Automation is one of those popular business buzzwords.

And it makes sense why.

Who wants to spend all day seeing to repetitive tasks that can easily automated?

Technologies like digital signing give organisations better ways to engage with employees, finalise contracts and build customer relations.

These tools bring benefits across all industries.


Manage your Documents Digitally to Save Time and Money

 Functions like digital signatures and other automated workflows can largely be grouped under Digital Transaction Management – cloud-based applications to manage document-based transactions.

These solutions are quickly gaining traction:

     Research shows more than 65% of businesses are moving towards ditching paper in favor of digital processes.

     Aragon Research also estimated this market would grow to $US300m by 2020.

 In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most practical ways this type of technology can help teams work better.

1.  Improve Productivity with Automated Workflows

Process makes perfect.

It’s a fact: businesses with clearly defined processes perform better.

The thing with technology-based applications is this: digital tools streamline processes that are already working well.

According to a Forrester survey, more than 40% of business leaders adopt digital tools to improve efficiencies.

So, if you’ve got a well-structured workflow, implement automations on the routine, repetitive tasks.

Salesforce, cloud computing software and CRM, helped McKinley Equipment to generate 42% additional revenue by automating workflows.

Using its Customer Success Platform, sales team work on a lead, convert the prospect and generate a customer quote from one system. Once the order is placed, an email is automatically generated detailing the next steps and thanking the customer.

2.  Automate Follow Ups to Avoid Costly Contract Delays

How much time do you spend finalising a contract?

Add on the time it takes to chase down a signature, and you’re looking at days – even weeks - wasted.

Not only that, but poor contract management  - including missed deadlines  - can end up costing you up to 40% more for supplied services, according to estimates from KPMG.

The beauty of a digital-based platform is that it will send out the reminders for you, so you never miss a due date again.

If you need to get a document signed, state your due date and the system automatically sends out reminders for you until the task is complete.

3.  Reduce Delays with Data Accuracy

One of the biggest problems with the paper-based processes is the potential for human error.

Incomplete documents or incorrect information can add weeks onto the process, and they can be costly. More than 30% of the costs related to contacts can be reduced if you eliminate contract inaccuracies.

Here’s how to use Digital Signing to Meet Business Deadlines


Evolve Scientific Recruitment, an Australian-based recruitment agency, has offices nationwide.

Documents often have to travel from candidates to Evolve offices around the country.

Several pages need to be completed before the candidate can even step on site.

The challenge with paper-based contracts was that incorrect or incomplete contacts delayed employment.

They approached Secured Signing to reduce the time it took to finalise the contract to better serve candidates and employers.

With digital signing software in place, Evolve Scientific Recruitment added a business rule validation prompting candidates to fill in all fields before the document can be sent on.

Candidates can also upload all their relevant documentation to the pack and complete the process anywhere, from any device.

The result?

A signing process that can take as quickly as one hour.

Read the full case study on Secured Signing’s website.

4.  Easy Integration for the Best Customer Experience

There’re two important things you need to consider when selecting a digital signing solution:

     Security

     Integrations

To gain a better idea of what’s on offer, you can have a look at the platform’s API (application user interface).

Leading digital signing solutions will make use of advanced personalised X509 PKI Digital Signature technology, increasing compliance and reducing business risk.

It should also be easy to integrate your existing system with the platform.

An open API eliminates the need for your customer to sign into yet another login interface.

In practical terms, it means your client doesn’t even know they’re being routed via the digital signing software.

You can read more about Secured Signing’s API here.

5.  Additional Party Notifications with Real-Time Updates

The contract lifecycle has several stages.

Once a document has been signed, this usually triggers a new process with a different team.

Additional part notifications are useful in the following cases:

     A copy of the signed contract might need to be archived with the records team.

     Payroll may need to start its own procedures once an employment agreement has been finalised.

     Maybe you have to keep your manager posted on the progress of signing.

You can have the digital signing platform send real-time notifications to any number of additional parties throughout the signing process.

If you configure these notifications, it’s one less step for you to manage manually.

Conclusion

Document management can be a time-consuming process. But it’s the backbone of your business.

Organisations that don’t embrace digital tools may get left behind with outdated processes that block growth.

Finding the right digital signing solution lets you automate routine, resource-intensive tasks, so you can focus on adding value and pushing the business forward.


Till next time,

John Webster


General



19 September, 2018


Secured Signing has been recognized with the Great User Experience award for 2018 title by FinancesOnline. This reputed business software review platform acknowledged that our digital signature solution allows businesses to utilize basic and “advanced innovative features” to “quickly, easily, and securely” sign various types of documents.



The Great User Experience award for 2018 is reserved to quality solutions that provide an especially pleasing user experience, from product deployment to the overall design of the software. Among the highlights for the FinancesOnline team include Secured Signing’s customizable document workflows, various automated reminders to intended recipients, “top class security” to ensure confidentiality of information, “robust” Secured Signing pricing packages for all types of users, and constant support in releasing innovative features.



Reviewed under their best e-signature website category, Secured Signing was tested and compared alongside various digital signature solutions on the market for a holistic analysis. For an objective analysis, FinancesOnline used its SmartScore System in assessing all elements of Secured Signing, from main functionalities and collaboration features to security and mobility.

 

The FinancesOnline review team also conferred Secured Signing with the Rising Star award for 2018, given to SaaS solutions that are seen by users as a reliable brand for solving their problems. This indicates that our constant improvement to our digital solution has pleased our users worldwide.

 

At Secured Signing, we go the extra mile to provide you with an innovative software for small business and enterprises for the benefit of your company. Try it today to streamline and enhance your processes in a green environment.


About the Author

FinancesOnline is a popular platform for SaaS/B2B software and financial products reviews.


General

5 September 2018

Productivity is a tricky science to master for businesses. What works for one industry, company and even employee might not work for another.

In many ways, that’s why productivity tools exist: to give even the smallest businesses a chance to intelligently and flexibly make improvements in a way that suits them. Productivity tools include those that allow safe but broad access to the information people need whenever they want it, digital signing tools for added speed and efficiency when handling documents, and data dashboards that give you insights across your entire enterprise at the click of a button.

However, arguably just as important as knowing how to improve workplace productivity is knowing what not to do. The worst of these productivity foes come disguised as friends, so you’ll think you’re helping your business and your staff but might actually be doing the opposite.

Here we debunk seven of the most common productivity myths.

1. The best employees can multitask

It’s a myth that the best employees are great at multitasking. In fact, it’s a myth that multitasking—as in doing more than one thing at once—exists at all. According to a Stanford Multitasking Study, humans don’t really multitask but their brains switch quickly between single tasks.

That means people trying to multitask are actually “sacrificing focus” by concentrating on the actual job switching itself. And there’s more bad news for job jugglers…

2. Job juggling makes the most of time

We all have more than one thing to do at any given time in the work day. But whether you or your staff are trying to “multitask” or actively job switching, it actually doesn’t help to do more than one thing at once, studies show.

In fact, studies show your brain will nag your unconscious mind if you’ve started but not finished a task, creating a feeling of unease.

We seem to work best, then, when allowed to focus on single tasks to completion, even at the expense of momentarily ignoring others, rather than juggling multiple jobs at the same time. It may even be better for mental health.

3. We can effectively “will” our way through a task

While people can push through an unfavourable job on sheer willpower alone, the idea that they can do so and still produce their best work is pure mythology.

On the contrary, it might be a half-baked idea to push through in this way, according to a piece of cookie-related research. Psychologist Roy Baumeister gave hungry participants a difficult mental task to complete and a plate of fresh biscuits, saying the subject could have one either before or after the job.

Results showed that participants who willed their way through the tasks before rewarding themselves with a treat spent their energy on self-control and performed significantly worse on the tests.

Baumeister coined the term “ego deletion”, a form of mental exhaustion from using ones’ willpower. Businesses may want to consider how much they can expect of their staff when asking them to push though difficult tasks. In reality, it might be counter-intuitive to their—and your business’—productivity.

4. The current working hours are optimal

Working 9–5 (what a way to make a living) with a lunch-break and two 15-minute rests is the norm—but is it ideal for productivity?

Studies suggest not, particularly for jobs that require a mental workout. That’s because of something called the ultradian rhythm, which fixes the brain into productivity cycles. The optimal time for a person to work on mental challenges is 50–90 minutes, followed by a rest of around 20 minutes.

The Atlantic even heralds the perfect productivity formula to be working for 52 minutes followed by a 17-minute break.

5. “Facebook breaks” improve productivity

So, as a general rule giving staff the time to take short breaks more often allows people to rejuvenate and work more productively. But the effectiveness of that break depends on what people do while resting.

Social psychologist John Bargh found that if the break is used for something also mentally taxing, or on something that feels like a task, the productivity boost is lost.

That’s because the brain is convinced that it has actually done something in that time, giving you a feeling of accomplishment and diminishing your motivation to do more arduous tasks.

Checking Facebook, tidying the desk or running errands, while they might seem like breaks, are only mythological productivity tips. Instead, stretching, reading a magazine or going for a walk might instead promote true workplace efficiency.

6. Being “always on” helps productivity

This can be true or false, depending on what “always on” means to your people and your business.

The idea of working late into the night to complete a project is unfortunately unavoidable to most people at some point in their working lives. To help, today’s generations likes to think of themselves as always on and available to work on something if required—or even always connected to the wider world through modern technology.

The major loser of this trend is often sleep, which is where productivity can be ruined if people don’t get enough of it.

Harvey B Simon, the editor of Harvard Health, says a third of people in the US aren’t getting enough sleep to perform at their peak ability, costing the country’s economy some $63 billion a year in lost productivity.

So use “always on” in the right ways. Give your staff the ability to work remotely, leveraging cloud-based business apps to make out-of-office work more productive. But be sure “always on” doesn’t include those essential eight hours at night.

7. There’s a one-size-fits-all solution

All that being said, there isn’t a single magical solution to improve business productivity. Techniques that work for one employee might be different for another. One might be more productive in the morning, one at night; one in the office, one at home.

It’s up to individual businesses to find a bespoke solution that works for them and their staff. And while productivity apps aren’t a silver-bullet solution either, they do give business owners and managers a wide variety of help, so they can find an approach that works for them and their business.

About the Author:
9 Spokes is a free data dashboard that connects your apps to identify powerful insights to deliver your business KPI's.


General

31 August, 2018

Digital signatures are new, but not nearly as new as you might think. In the US, President Bill Clinton signed the Electronic Signatures In Global Commerce Act (ESIGN) in 2000, nearly twenty years ago. For context, thats two years after Google and four years before Facebook. So its hardly untested territory. Digital signatures are faster and easier than traditional wet signatures, and here are seven reasons why.

1) It’s Legally Recognized All Around the World

The law requires that a signature is legally binding because it identifies the signatory, his or her intend, and tracks any changes to the signature (has document integrity).  These are a few of the key requirements for an electronic signature to be considered reliable. The following is a condensed list of the countries that accept electronic signatures and the laws or acts that they passed that recognizes them:

 

     Australia – Electronic Transactions Act (2000-2003, depending on state)

     Canada - Uniform Electronic Commerce Act (UECA)

     China - Electronic Signature Law of the People's Republic of China

     Europe - EU Directive for Electronic Signatures (1999/93/EC); EU VAT Directive

     New Zealand – Electronic Transactions Act 2002

     South Africa - Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2002

     UK - Electronic Communications Act 2000 (chapter 7)

     US Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN)

2) It Can Be Used With Mobile Devices

Six of the seven billion people on the planet have access to a cell phone. Many people only use a cell phone, and dont have a home computer at all. So, if your document requires a signature, it wouldnt be feasible to print it out and scan a copy. Secured signing can work with mobile apps because it fits the requirements that it have data integrity, authenticate the signers identity, and the signer cannot later deny that it their signature (called non-repudiation).

3) It Saves Paper

When you save paper, youre doing more than just saving a few trees. Youre saving the money it takes for paper and printer ink (which is more expensive than many campaigns), and the space it would take to store all that paper as well. And unlike paper, you can actually use it in a search engine—so youll never misfile it, either.

4) Digital Signatures Are Faster Than Paper

As I mentioned above, you can use Secured Signing on mobile devices, which includes tablets. You will be able to keep your line moving quickly if your business requires it. You can have many people sign a form at once using Secured Signings Broadcast feature. No more need to pass the clipboard around.

5) It Saves Time by Keeping Records Together

The Smart Tag feature automates document creation and organization by tagging a signature with important metadata about the signatory. In other words, when you create a signature, you also associate it with the pertinent information, like emails and addresses. This saves you time and lowers the chances of making mistakes or losing data.

6) Customers Like It

According to a recent study, 77% of customers are moderately to very comfortable signing a document online. And 77% is also the number of people who have used an electronic signature three or more times in the last year. Your customers are probably already using it in some fashion or another, you should get ahead of the trend.

7) It’s Secure. Really Secure

Digital signatures are protected by secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption, which ensures that all data passed between the web servers and browsers remains private and maintains integrity. In addition, it secures the date and local time of the signatory, which is something paper records cant verify. Secured Signing creates a unique digital certificate to a user, an invitee, and a witness.

In fact, The top clients for digital signatures are finance, which make up 39% of digital signature customers, more than twice the adoption rate of human resources, which make up 17% of digital signature clients. If an industry that requires one of the highest levels of security is the most frequent adopter of digital signatures, you can be assured that your data will be safe.

The Final Word

If youre unsure about whether to adopt a digital signing solution, theres nothing new or scary about it. Electronic and digital signatures have been legally recognized for twenty years. It will save you time, money, space, and in some ways its more secure than paper. You should take advantage by reading up what to look for in a digital signature solution, and then try a free trial of it.


About the Author:
Reuben Yonatan is the CEO @ GetVoIP, a leading VoIP systems comparison guide that connects shoppers with relevant providers.

 


General