Advanced electronic signature and encryption requirements are becoming active in the Spanish market
There are many unresolved matters still to be approved in Spain in the field of encryption and digital signature. In our country, large companies begin to develop proactive initiatives of online management with the Administration but “we have just started” as they say.
During these years of economic crisis, the implementation and launching of electronic invoicing processes, the use of digital certificates and advanced electronic signature in Spain, have been virtually paralyzed or relegated to the background.
From being pioneers a few years ago in innovative projects such as electronic ID, recession has placed us in the last position due to budgetary restrictions and a stagnation on many projects, both in the public sector and private enterprise.
However, in these last years, economy and society are perceived more and more digital being aware of the need to implement these technologies as a measure to protect information and identity, as well as an instrument to streamline processes, reduce costs and contribute to a more sustainable world.
In addition, within the political framework, projects as the new European Regulation for the interoperability of advanced electronic signature in the EU, or the momentum of the current Government in initiatives such as future courts without paper, among other initiatives, set a tractor element for Spain to move forward towards the userability of digital signature and encryption of information applied to processes such as electronic invoicing.
In order to speak about the evolution of these technologies and their application in this market as well as the standpoint in which the Spanish companies are situated, based from the succesful viewpoint of the wholesale distributor of pharmaceutical products HEFAME in the implementation of an “ad hoc” platform for electronic invoicing, we have gathered Jesús Rodríguez Cabrero, President and CEO of REALSEC; José María Ortin, Responsible for Development of Business Services Technology FIRMAMED and Amando Vela, Director of Information Systems in the Hermandad Farmacéutica del Mediterráneo (HEFAME).
The process is unstoppable
Jesús Rodríguez Cabrero, President and CEO of REALSEC, states that Spanish companies still have a lot to do with these technologies: “We have been late in relation to some countries in Europe and Latin America. For example, in Mexico they began the process of implementing electronic invoicing almost 6 years ago and is compulsory since January 2014. All Mexican companies, large, medium and small already invoice electronically, using cryptography (HSM, Hardware Security Module) to import safely and protect the keys of digital certificates issued by SAT (Secretaría de Administración Tributaria, Tax Administration Secretary’s Office)” to companies that can invoice electronically.
In contrast, in Spain, the majority of the large and medium-sized companies of our country, despite the legislation on this matter, have not been able, or have not thought about dealing with the implementation of electronic invoicing and the use of the digital signature applied to their business processes, at least so far.
Most companies are aware that to ensure that transactions are safe and reliable, asymmetric encryption is one of the most reliable technologies. “The use of encryption and advanced electronic signature is configured as the best instrument of protection to go ahead in the Administration’s development and digital economy and the many benefits that this implies, such as agility in processes, cost reduction or contribution to the protection of the environment through paper elimination”, specifies Rodríguez Cabrero.
Today in our country, there are a number of companies, which think and perform in digital – developing proactive initiatives of online management: payment of taxes to AEAT, submission of annual accounts to Business Register, etc. However, there is a lot to be done if we really want to align ourselves and bet on digital socio-economic development.
“We, as integrators, see that the demand exists and although Public Administrations have delayed a few years the encryption and advanced electronic signature requirement, the process has already become activated. It is an unstoppable process,” remarks José María Ortín, FIRMAMED.
“Large corporations are going ahead, but the medium-sized companies are also taking it very seriously because the issue of the cost savings are obvious (greater than 6-7 euros per invoice)”, says the Executive.
HEFAME: Success Case
HEFAME, wholesale distributor of pharmaceutical and parapharmaceutical products, has a processing daily volume of 500,000 order lines and a turnover of 5 million euros a day.
With the implementation of an electronic invoicing and electronic information management platform, the company has obtained important benefits in terms of costs and control of potential incidents in the goods reception and delivery.
“We work with a lot of laboratories, we have around 2,000 suppliers and some other 2,000 creditors, and we have the problems of the issuance of electronic invoicing to Public Administrations. Taking advantage of the fact that in the digitization of the goods reception process we were very advanced, we extended the functionality to issuing invoices for Public Administration – due to the state objective – but also for our customers“, explains Amando Vela, Director of Information Systems in HEFAME.
For this reason, HEFAME has supported in FIRMAMED and REALSEC, since they offered a global solution to the problem, the issuing of electronic invoicing with SAP R3, for which SAP R3 standard did not provide all the required functionality.
To meet this demand, FIRMAMED has developed an application that can interact with the SAP world and the cryptographic signature platform of REALSEC.
“REALSEC is a technological partner for us. It is a manufacturer of HSM (Hardware Security Module) that gives us a sound value, not only in terms of the hardware, but it also provides us service, which is an exception among the HSM (Hardware Security Module) manufacturers, so we can meet the needs of our customers”, explains José María Ortín.
REALSEC provides solutions, technical resources and knowledge for the userability of its technology and its integration with the customer. FIRMAMED has implemented a new product that can show to other customers, as it has been the case of Pixelware, a Spanish company specialized in electronic auction.
“We identify needs in our clients where REALSEC technology can be applied and then we deal with the projects. These projects can give rise to a new product, as it has been the case of HEFAME for which we have developed a solution “ad hoc” for the issuing and reception of electronic invoicing on SAP R3“, states the head of Business Development of Technological Services FIRMAMED, José María Ortín.
“The result guarantees our satisfaction with the project. The aim is achieved, and we are extending it to our creditors, once we have implemented it in our suppliers and customers. In addition, we are moving it to more business units. HEFAME group is made of more than 25 companies and we have started this deployment by the commercialization parent company and sale of pharmaceutical and parapharmaceutical products. Now, we have expanded it to our transport company“, emphasizes Amando Vela.
Towards new developments
REALSEC has a signature platform called CryptoSign Server that consists of a server application of digital signature, preinstalled on an appliance with its operating system and its HSM (Hardware Security Module) Cryptosec that interacts with the signature platform. Through a Java API “CryptoSign Server” platform, it is able to integrate with any application in which the use of digital signature or advanced electronic signature is required such as FIRMAMED.
Among the novelties that the manufacturer is dealing with includes the incorporation of mobile technology into its platform with the creation of an app that allows you to electronically sign any document from a mobile device iOS (soon will present an app for the Android environment) and the development of a new HSM (Hardware Security Module) of high performance baptized as “Cryptosec Dekaton”, that is their new star product that they will unveil early next year.
Cryptosec Dekaton offers high performance (as minimum multiplies by ten current yields of HSM, Hardware Security Module), allows the virtualization (it will be able to work within the cloud environment) and incorporates new algorithms.
“All R&D and innovation from REALSEC turns out to be positive in order to meet the needs of our clients and even gives them a plus of technology“, specifies José María Ortín.
Customers aiming for the integrator as those which require more advanced digital signature of documents include a diverse cast: healthcare, energy and water distribution or transportation operators, among others.
“There is a very strong link of our projects with the productive part and distribution within different supply chains: warehouse management, documentation management, orders, automatic management of delivery notes, etc.” We have developed a platform for the exchange of information among third parties where we contact customers and suppliers so they can share any type of information, above all, to manage a contract, an order, a delivery note and an invoice“, concludes the Executive.