Electronic Signature

Five Things You Can Do with a Simple E-Signature

Using electronic signature solutions represents an opportunity for new services and increases the efficiency of conventional business processes and implementation processes. Recently, customers and users have become more accustomed to managing interactions and transactions digitally. Providing them with a fast and easy-to-use electronic signature solution is a significant element if we want to offer customers a digital service that meets their expectations.

There are several types of electronic signatures, each of which has different characteristics. In this article, we will focus on a simple electronic signature. Except for simple electronic signatures, there are advanced and qualified electronic signatures. The last ones are characterized by additional complex elements that provide high guarantees before the law.

Next, we will talk about what you can do with a simple electronic signature, from buying goods and services to signing typical documents of the personnel process.

What is a simple electronic signature?
A simple electronic signature (SES) is the least complex and well-defined type of electronic signature. While other electronic signature solutions must include legally defined elements, such as mandatory identification of the signatory, insurance protection, or, in the case of digital signatures, the use of cryptographic keys, a simple electronic signature does not require any of these. Instead, it meets the principle of technological neutrality. It means that SES solutions can take various forms and technical characteristics.

SES is part of a more general definition of an electronic signature in the eIDAS regulation. According to the Regulation, an electronic signature is “a set of data in electronic form, which is attached or linked by logical association to other electronic data and used by the signer to sign.” In practice, a simple electronic signature in its basic form usually consists of a pair of username + password credentials, the same as those used to access an e-mail or personal account, and point & click solutions.

Certain court decisions have confirmed that a message sent by e-mail can be considered assigned with a simple signature. For example, this was confirmed by ruling n. 858 of December 15, 2003, issued by the Court of Cuneo. 

Where can SES solutions be applied?
SES solutions are easy for the user precisely because they are characterized by simple access. These solutions are easier to integrate with other systems already in use, making them suitable for integration into fully digital workflows, allowing you to implement effective digital technology implementation processes. The only thing that remains to be found out is which documents and contracts can be signed with a simple electronic signature.

Buying goods and products online
One of the activities that are becoming more and more common for all of us is going online to buy goods and goods of all kinds. An online purchase is a form of agreement between two parties, regardless of whether it is carried out in person or remotely. In most cases, in the presence of the client, this is an oral agreement that does not require the preparation of any written document and ends with the issuance of a receipt or invoice. In the case of online transactions, there is no need for advanced or qualified signatures since a simple signature is already pretty much enough.

Purchase of a new supply of electricity or gas
Another activity that has led to a reduction in queues at personal counters in favor of digital technologies is the purchase of new contracts for the supply of utilities and the subsequent management of all stages and related actions. Even in this case, the SES solution can be used effectively. This type of process is particularly well suited for electronic signatures. In addition to dematerializing contracts and subscriptions, it is also possible to create processes in which other interactions between the company and the client no longer take place behind the counter or over the phone, but in a digital format. With the right workflow and the necessary call to action, you can offer customers the opportunity to make an appointment with an operator or activate a new service with just a few mouse clicks. The necessary documents can be submitted for signature by e-mail or through a special web area, and it becomes possible to create an increasingly rich and personalized digital user experience.

The signing of personnel documents
A simple electronic signature can also be used to dematerialize and optimize certain HR department reports and processes. For example, a simple electronic signature can be used when requesting vacations, vacations, training requests, or expense claims. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the recent clarification of the Revenue Agency, which is contained in response No. 740 of October 20, 2021, regarding the management of expense reports. The Agency's response clarifies that digital expense reports do not require a qualified electronic signature or an extended employee signature, which makes it quite likely to use a simple electronic signature or single sign-on authentication (SSO) solutions.

Approval of quotations and purchase orders
Accepting an estimate or purchase order is another action that can be performed by attaching SES, thereby digitizing and increasing the efficiency of these types of transactions. Also, in this case, SES makes it possible to simplify processes that would otherwise require exchanging, printing, and scanning various documents to obtain a holographic signature, while these steps are significantly reduced, if not eliminated, with the adoption of a digital approach.

The signing of Privacy Notices
You can sign the privacy policy using a simple electronic signature solution as soon as the signatory has the opportunity to properly view and read the document itself. This can also be implemented by email or using information available in a special web area that the signer accesses using a pair of credentials. A call to action for a signature in the form of a "point and click" decision (for example, a button that clearly expresses readiness to sign a document) can be placed at the end of the disclosure so that the signatory can view it correctly.

How to strengthen the SES solution?
As we have already said, a simple electronic signature can have various characteristics that determine the degree of reliability. Since the value of a simple signature in the event of a dispute is assessed depending on its integrity, security, and immutability characteristics, it may be useful to take measures to increase the reliability of SES while maintaining its flexibility.

The easiest way to increase the value of SES is to use an OTP code (one-time password), which will be sent to the signatory via SMS, app, or email. Sending an OTP code to a device belonging to the signatory is their form of authentication and allows the person to additionally confirm their willingness to sign this particular document.

The source: 5 things you can do (and may not have known) with a simple electronic signature