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eSign in the Enterprise

Last December, I wrote about the state of electronic signatures (eSign) within the banking sector –Electronic signature in the banking industry – where are we?. Since that time, eSign continues to be overwhelmingly accepted by US banking and today, a digital signature is considered as valid and legal as a print signature in most applications.
While the most common approach to eSign has been from an individual perspective — each person signing their own documents — that success has led to the emergence of eSign from an enterprise perspective for validation of corporate documents.
The approach has a solid history. The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act was enacted in 2000 by the U.S. Congress to facilitate the use of electronic records and electronic signatures in interstate and foreign commerce by ensuring the validity and legal effect of contracts entered into electronically. States have  also passed local laws supporting electronic contracts. In 2010, both Houses of Congress passed a resolution recognizing June 30th as “National ESIGN Day.
Everybody can easily use their own certificate, stored on a secure device (token or smart card), but what happens when the enterprise needs to sign something on behalf of the company, a specific division or group within the company? Who is responsible for safely storing that certificate?
There are very few, if any, solutions available in the market to address digital signature adoption from the enterprise perspective. One of our customers, a major energy research laboratory, for instance, could not find any other solution in the market that would allow them to generate eSigned emails and reports from their PeopleSoft application, with the official enterprise certificate of the lab.
This is where products like our CryptoSign Server can provide a real value. It allows the safe storage of enterprise digital signatures within enterprise corporate certificates in our HSM (a FIPS certified or Common Criteria device like a token or smart card), and easily allows a secure interaction among the different applications.
The mega-success of apps like SalesForce have driven organizations to seek more and more solutions that make it easier for companies, partners and customers to do business. Companies can generate official corporate reports, filings and other transactions and documentation that are easily signed on behalf of the organization, the financial department or any other division.
eSign empowers all parties to get deals done faster and easier than ever before.

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