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Digital Documents, Secure Document Management, Cybersecurity Company

Electronic Signatures in Document Management

 

As the majority of organizations now conduct business electronically, securing digital content is essential – as discussed in our blog post, “Secure Digital Content: How it’s Done.” And with the start of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, 2018, data privacy has taken on even greater importance – the implications of which were covered in our blog post, “Document Management with GDPR.” The pivotal role of electronic signatures in secure document management for companies that “go paperless” deserves recognition.

So, what is an electronic signature in data management, how does it work, why should you adopt it, and what is the legal standing of electronic signatures?

What is an electronic signature, and how does it work?

Also called a digital signature, an electronic signature is any way of signing a non-printed document. It can be done with your finger, mouse or stylus. It also can be done by typing your name, accompanied by some proof of identification, such as the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Digital Documents, Digital Signatures, Cybersecurity Writing for PandaDoc, SEO specialist Eugene Zaremba makes the distinction between an electronic signature (also known as an eSignature) and a digital signature. The former “… doesn’t necessarily mean legally binding because it refers to any online signature, which can include a copy-paste of your own signature.”

However, Zaremba notes, “The somewhat less commonly used term digital signature is actually more of a correct term. Digital signature or standard electronic signature is actually a coded, encrypted, legally binding digital footprint. The digital signature is made of unique encoded messages — one for each signee — that join together to make a complete, legally binding, standard electronically signed document.”

Just like handwritten signatures, digital signatures are unique to each signer. An algorithm is used to generate two long numbers, which are known as keys. Of the two keys, one is public and the other is private.  

With the signer’s private key – which is always kept securely by the signer – the signature is created when a signer electronically signs a document. Acting like code, the mathematical algorithm creates data that matches the signed document (called a hash) and encrypts it. The encrypted data that results from this process is the digital signature. The electronic sign also bears the time when the document is signed. The digital signature becomes invalid if any change in the document is made after it is signed.

Why your company should be using electronic signatures

Digital Content Security, Cybersecurity Blog, Secure Digital Documents In his article for Inc., tech writer Larry Alton covers the advantages of electronic signatures. Benefits include:

Ease of use – One solution provider Alton references allows the user to upload a document, declare signers and recipients, and deliver a secure link to the recipient. The recipient signs the document to complete the process.

High level of security – Even more secure than traditional paper documents, electronic signatures not only contain a signature, but also traceable information on who signed the document, where the document was signed and when it was signed.

Convenience – In our geographically dispersed world, your business probably deals with clients and vendors in in various cities, states, and countries. Electronic signatures allow remote authentication, making it a convenient option.

Faster turnaround time Businesses that don’t use electronic signatures have to scan, print, sign and send documents to one party, then repeat the process for each of the other parties in the transaction or agreement. With electronic signatures, all parties can sign within seconds.

Lower cost – The amount of money saved in paper, postage, mailing supplies and time make electronic signatures more cost-effective in the long run.

 

The legal standing of electronic signatures

In 1999, the Uniform Law Commission drafted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), which provides a legal framework for the use of electronic signatures. It has been adopted in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Exceptions are Illinois, New York and Washington. In 2000, the United States passed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act) to facilitate the adoption of electronic signatures.

However, questions regarding the legal standing of electronic signatures remain among many business people – who are justifiably warry of an unscrupulous client trying to get out of a contract by claiming it isn’t legally binding. Both of these acts confer the same legal status upon electronic signatures as given to those signed by hand on paper documents.

As outlined by SignEasy, an electronic signature must meet the following requirements per the two acts to make it legally binding:

Electronic Signatures, Digital Document Management, Secure Digital Media, Cybrsecurity A clear intent to sign – Just as with a hand-signed signature, electronic signatures are valid only if a user demonstrates a clear intent to sign. It means that you should also have the option of declining the electronic signature request.

Prior consent – The concerned parties must express or imply their consent of doing business electronically.

Clear attribution of signature – This can be determined based on the context and circumstances under which the document was signed.

Association of signature with the record – An electronic signature should be connected to the document that is to be signed.

Record retention – According to the ESIGN Act, the validity of the electronic signature is legitimate as long as the records accurately reflect the agreement and can be reproduced in a court of law as and when required. Leading electronic signature platforms provide users with a fully-executed signed copy, or allow you to download a copy of the signed document.

Making digital management safe and secure, DocuServe offers industry-leading cloud-based solutions for every aspect of your organization. With DocuServe, you get complete control over your content, right down to the document level. Contact us to learn more.


laaS Infrastructure with DocuServe

What is IAAS – Infrastructure as a Service?

Whether your company is a conglomerate or start-up, chances are you are using cloud computing services in one form or another. From sending emails, editing documents, playing games online to watching TV and banking transactions, you are already using the cloud all the time. Cloud computing can take care of all your IT needs – such as servers, software, storage, databases, networking and analytics.

There are three main types of cloud services: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Here is what each type does.

SAAS – A distribution model where a cloud service provider hosts all your applications and makes it available to you over the internet.

PAAS – The cloud service provider delivers the operating systems as well as other related services through the web, and you don’t have to bother about installation and downloads – or invest in IT infrastructure.

IAAS – The cloud service provider offers everything that you need for your IT infrastructure. From virtual machines, operating system, and networks to storage, support, and hardware, the provider will offer you everything, which can fulfil all your IT infrastructure needs –without investing money in buying hardware of your own.

All about IAAS

IaaS allows customers to use the IT infrastructure of the cloud service provider on a subscription basis. This model outsources all IT infrastructure needs to the provider, which typically has an on-premise data center that includes servers, networking hardware, virtual machines, operating systems and storage.  The service provider also offers a host of other services that include monitoring, security, billing, load balancing, log access and clustering, as well as storage facilities – such as backup, data recovery and replication.

IaaS users can access these services and resources via a wide area network (WAN) like the internet, and then use the IaaS provider’s services to install the rest of the applications. For example: as a customer, you need to log in to the IaaS platform and create virtual machines, install an operating system (OS), make storage buckets and backups. You can then use the cloud provider’s services to perform many functions, such as cost tracking, network traffic balancing, performance monitoring, disaster recovery management – and even solve application issues.

All cloud computing models work on the participation of the provider, and in most cases act as a third-party organization that sells IaaS. Two of the better-known independent IaaS providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). As a customer, you can also opt for a private cloud, where you provide your infrastructure services.

Advantages of IAAS

Businesses opt for IaaS because it is an easy, fast and cost-effective option for which they don’t have to invest, support, or manage the infrastructure. In this model, a business subscribes its IT infrastructure needs from a cloud service provider. IaaS is best suited for businesses/ assignments that are new, short-term, or that entail unexpected changes.

IaaS subscribers typically pay only on a per-user basis. At times, IaaS providers bill based on the amount of virtual machine space you use. This convenient payment method turns out to be a better option for businesses that don’t want to invest big money in setting up their own IT infrastructure.

Also, cloud computing works well for several other reasons. It is reliable because it keeps your data safe, offers uninterrupted service and high speed, which increases overall productivity.

 

However, says Ian McClarty, CEO and President of PhoenixNAP Global IT Services,

PhoenixNAP Global IT Services“Infrastructure requires careful planning as well. Determine if a prebuilt  IaaS Solution is a good fit. This can save money and add expertise to your deployment without having to hire on your own.” 

 

Prominent IAAS Venors & Providers

There are several IaaS providers in the market, but selecting one that best serves your needs is a crucial question. Though most of the IaaS providers offer its clients virtual machines, it all comes down to the kind of management and specialized services they are ready to deliver.

For this reason, it is important to evaluate service providers on not just the basis of cloud services they offer, but also on the following factors: management functions, identity management, service level agreements (SLAs), customer support and monitoring tools.

Amazon AWS offers a range of compute and storage services, such as Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Glacier, and Simple Storage Services (S3). AWS offers a full range of services and integrated monitoring tools with a competitive pricing structure.

Since Google Compute Engine (GCE) is integrated with other Google services, it is best suited for high-performance computing, data warehousing, big data and analytics applications. GCE also offers a range of compute and storage services.

Windows Azure also offers a range of compute and storage services. It is an easy-to-use administration tool, more so if you are used to working on Microsoft platforms. It is not a Windows-only IaaS.

Rackspace Open Cloud also has an easy-to-use control panel and offers strong customer service apart from offering core cloud compute services.

HP Enterprise Converged Infrastructure is a viable solution for businesses that want to integrate their current IT infrastructure with a public, hybrid or private cloud.

IBM SmartCloud Enterprise offers a range of compute and storage services with a combination of software, management and security features for enterprise cloud administrators.

Tom’s IT Pro offers an informative in-depth look at the above IaaS providers. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list. There are many vendors in the market, some small and others offering niche services.

Again, carefully analyze your needs before selecting a cloud service provider. McClarty advises the following: “If a customized product is a better fit, start by testing some solutions with a smaller deployment before jumping in. By testing a proof of concept, you can get a direct feel for what cloud adoption for your entire

organization may be like. Working with engineers to review detailed architecture ahead of time can reduce costly mistakes and make sure your move goes smoothly. Additionally, if there are compliance requirements, these will need to be identified and considered.”

No matter which IaaS provider you choose, keeping your company’s data secure is always the first priority. DocuServe is a cloud-based digital data protection company providing services that include cloud-based document management, content encryption and distribution, and digital media replication and encryption. Contact us today to learn about our full range of solutions.


Cybersecurity Degree Programs, Cybersecurity Masters Degree, Degree in Cyber Security, Online Security, Internet Security

Interested in Internet Security? Get a Cybersecurity Masters Degree!

Cybersecurity Degree Programs, Cybersecurity Masters Degree, Degree in Cyber Security, Online Security, Internet Security

No one can forget the infamous Sony Pictures security breach of 2014, where confidential information was released courtesy of computer hackers who called themselves the “Guardians of Peace.”

Cybersecurity attacks are becoming more frequent, and the demand for jobs is reaching a fever pitch. A new report out from Cybersecurity Ventures estimates there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, up from 1 million openings last year.

Employment figures from the U.S. and India highlight the cybersecurity labor crisis.

In 2017, the U.S. employed nearly 780,000 people in cybersecurity positions, with approximately 350,000 current cybersecurity openings, according to CyberSeek, a project supported by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), a program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Most IT security jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in a computer related field however many colleges are expanding to have cybersecurity master’s degree programs, and here are some of them…

 

American Military University Logo_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

American Military University (Charles Town, W.Va.) – The Master of Science in Cybersecurity Studies program takes a broad, multidisciplinary approach to preventing and responding to large-scale cyber threats and cyber attacks. The first half of the online, two-year program provides a foundation in network security, information assurance, cyber crime and digital forensics. The second half focuses on the issues, policies, practices and perspectives of various sectors, critical infrastructures, agencies and disciplines, such as national security, intelligence, criminal justice and emergency management.

 

Carnegie Mellon University_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh)—In 16 or 20 months, the Master of Science in Information Security enhances a technical education in computer systems and security with research/development opportunities and the option to take additional courses in areas complementary to security. Graduates may pursue doctoral degrees or positions as security experts equipped to manage the growing complexities associated with securing data, networks and systems. This graduate degree program meets the criteria for the NSF-funded CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program (SFS). U.S. citizens who are accepted may be eligible for a full scholarship and stipend from the federal government.

 

Fordham University_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Program

Fordham University’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies (Bronx, N.Y.)—Fordham’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity program is a combination of weekend, online and hybrid courses is designed for completion in 12 months over three semesters. Students learn how to identify solutions to global cyber threats while mastering legal, ethical and policy issues using methods in computing and informational science, engineering and social science. Program highlights include small classes taught by academia and industry experts, intensive lab experience in a dedicated cybersecurity research lab, and networking opportunities and career support.

 

George Washington University_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

George Washington University (Washington, D.C.)—The Master of Science in Cybersecurity in Computer Science program was created to respond to the large and fast-growing need for technical cybersecurity experts nationally and internationally. Students acquire up-to-date knowledge and skills in cybersecurity and get a firm grounding in requisite core knowledge in computer science, as well as the ability to take courses in related disciplines. GWU also offers the Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity Policy and Compliance (online).

 

Indiana University_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

Indiana University (Bloomington, Ind.)—The Master of Science in Secure Computing offers an interdisciplinary focus that combines coursework in mathematics, protocol analysis, and system and network security, with business and economics, social engineering, human-computer interaction, and other disciplines. The Master of Science in Cybersecurity Risk Management program will bring together cybersecurity courses from law, business and computer science. The degree offers integrated coursework from the School of Informatics and Computing, the IU Maurer School of Law, and the IU Kelley School of Business.

 

Northeastern University_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

Northeastern University (Boston)—The Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity program enables students to gain the broad knowledge needed to make strategic decisions to combat information security threats, including identity theft, computer malware, electronic fraud and cyber attacks. The program explores key issues in information security and how technology can help resolve them. It combines an understanding of IT with relevant knowledge from law, the social sciences, criminology and management.

 

University of Southern California_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

The University of Southern California (Los Angeles)—USC Viterbi’s Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering program focuses on the fundamentals of developing, engineering and operating secure information systems. Curriculum fosters understanding in developing a security policy and how policy drives technology decisions. Students solve challenges and problems of secure operating systems, secure applications, secure networking, use of cryptography and key management. This program is also available online to professional engineers through the Distance Education Network.

 

University of South Florida_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

The University of South Florida (Tampa, Fla.)—The Master of Science in Cybersecurity interdisciplinary program has four concentrations. The Cyber Intelligence concentration prepares graduates for entry-level or advanced positions as cyber intelligence or threat intelligence analysts. The Digital Forensics concentration helps students gain the skills needed to investigate computer, cyber and electronic crimes; analyze networks that have been attacked or used for illicit purposes; and properly identify, collect, secure and present digital evidence. The Information Assurance concentration provides a core foundation of knowledge and applied expertise in information security controls, the regulatory environment, and information risk management and incident response. The Computer Security Fundamentals concentration provides a core foundation of technical knowledge necessary to design and build secure computing systems, detect unauthorized use, and protect systems, resources and data that they store or access. All courses are fully online.

 

University of Washington_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

The University of Washington (Bothell, Wash.)—The Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering prepares students to protect cyber systems with the necessary technical and leadership skills. Students gain expertise and confidence in making difficult security trade-offs and carrying out essential changes to keep and maintain secure systems. They gain hands-on experience in a myriad of research areas, such as penetration testing, emerging technologies, vulnerability analysis, network security, human-computer interaction, wireless security and cryptography. The degree is designed to meet the needs of working professionals. Enrollment is either part-time or full-time, with courses meeting in the evening two or three times a week. Most students complete the program in just over two years.

 


Digital Content Security, Mobile Security, Encryption Algorithms, Encryption Apps, Secure Mobile Applications

Security Applications & Tips to Keep Your Mobile Device Secure

Mobile security threats are on the rise, and criminals are using top level domains (TLDs) for phishing sites. It started with a trend towards the generic use of (i.e., non-geographic) TLDs such as .support and .cloud to create URLs that appear to be authentic. For example: review-helpteam.support, contact-us.site, summary-account.review

Now, instead of using these gTLDs so simulate authenticity, threat actors have identified a new way to create believable URLs, and it’s focused exclusively on the mobile market. Instead of trying to create legitimate looking URLs, threat actors have started including real, legitimate domains within a larger URL, and padding it with hyphens to obscure the real destination.

While the best defense is to become familiar with these threats and the cyber criminals tactics, there are a few apps such as Mobile Security & Antivirus, Avast Mobile Security, and Trend Micro that help detect malware for mobile users.
-Intro by Lindsey Havens, Senior Marketing Manager at PhishLabs

Digital Content Security Apps

We spoke with Tonia Baldwin of A1 Connect and got two of her favorite apps for online security. The first is Dashlane, a secure password keeper, followed by Folder Lock, an app that locks specific folders and files.

Password Manager App: Dashlane

Dashlane Logo_Mobile Device Security

A strong password is often the difference between your documents staying safe and a catastrophic data breach. Password vault apps like Dashlane are essential if you have lots of accounts on various sites and apps and want to use a different strong password for each one. It also calculates your overall security score and gives you suggestions on how to improve it. Dashlane even generates unique strong passwords for you, so you don’t even need to think of them yourself. 

Using the same password for every site is a way to beckon disaster should one account be hacked into. With password managers, the only password you need to remember is the one to get into the app, so make sure it’s a strong one.

Password Manager App: Folder Lock

Folder Lock Logo_Mobile Device Security

If someone manages to steal your mobile, then there’s not much stopping them from hooking the phone up to their laptop and accessing all of the files they want to. Folder Lock is basically an encryption app that will let you password protect specific folders and files. It’s the melding of physical and virtual security that makes this app a winner.

It also offers other features like cloud-based backup storage and the ability to lock down your apps to keep any personal information in them secure.

7 Tips To Stay Secure on Mobile Devices

Now that you have mobile apps for logging in and keeping your files secure, we wanted to provide tips on how to keep your business and personal networks secure. For that we got in touch with Robert Siciliano, Cyber Security expert with Hotspot Shield, and came up with 7 tips that will keep you and your boss happy!

1- Don’t Buy Apps from Third-Party Sources

Apps are quite popular, and there are many that can help to boost productivity in a business setting. However, Apple devices that are “jailbroken” or Android devices that are “rooted” are outside of the walled garden of their respective stores and susceptible to malicious viruses. Make sure your employees know that they should never buy an app from a third-party source. Only use the official Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

2- Always Protect Devices

It’s also important that you advise your employees to keep their devices protected with a password. These devices are easy to steal since they are so small. If there is no password, there is nothing stopping a bad guy from getting into them and accessing all of the accounts that are currently logged into the device.

3- Install a Wipe Function on Company Mobile Devices

You should also require all employees to have a “wipe” function on their phones. Even if they are only doing something simple, like checking their work email on their personal mobile device, it could get into the wrong hands. With the “wipe” function, the entire phone can be cleared remotely. You should also require employees to use the setting that erases the phone after a set number of password attempts.

4- Require Company Mobile Devices to Use Anti-Virus Software

It’s also important, especially in the case of Android devices, that all mobile devices on the network have some type of anti-virus software.

5- Do No Jailbroken Devices on Your Company Network

Jailbroken devices are much more vulnerable to viruses and other malware.  So, never allow an employee with a jailbroken phone to connect to your network.

6- All Employees Should Activate Update Alerts

One of the easiest ways to keep mobile devices safe is to keep them updated. So, make sure that all employees have update alerts enabled, and make sure that they are updating their devices when prompted or automatically.

7- Teach Employees About the Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

Finally, make sure your staff knows the dangers of using public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi connections are not secure, so when connected, your devices are pretty open. That means, if you are doing things that are sensitive, such as logging into a company website or accessing franchise accounting records, a hacker can easily follow. Instead, urge employees to use a VPN


What is SAAS

What is SAAS? How Can SAAS Improve Your Business? Is SAAS Safe?

What is SAAS?

SASS stands for Software as a Service. It is a category of cloud computing. Like all cloud computing categories, with SAAS your information is not stored on a traditional digital hard drive, but digitally over offsite servers. SAAS is unique from other forms of cloud computing because it is a system where you are essentially renting software monthly.

Instead of buying a license for the software and spending the money lump sum you pay on an ongoing basis and the software is updated for you automagically and in most cases support for software is included as well,” said Nadeem Azhar, the owner of PC.Solutions.Net.

How does SAAS benefit businesses?

For some companies the initial cost of software is a barrier to entry. As are the demands of additional staff and infrastructure needed to run a traditional server. SAAS allows such companies to obtain software easily, without costly onsite infrastructure, and with a time saving easy install.

SaaS benefits companies in several ways, said Steven Benson, the founder of Badger Maps. “First, SaaS software tends to be a lot cheaper than it was in the past. You’re usually paying for it on a monthly basis, so you pay exactly for what you need. It also tends to be very easy to deploy compared to old-school software because you don’t need to spin up servers. When I worked at IBM, the customer would need to run servers and integrate the software with a bunch of other devices just to use it. This was a far more complicated process. But with SaaS, the service 
is delivered through the browser and is much easier to try out for the 
customer to see if it’s a good fit. Free trials were very complicated to do 
in the past, but now you can just set up someone’s account in a few 
minutes, and help them make a better buying decision.”

Is SAAS Secure?

Yes, SAAS is considered by technology experts to be more secure than traditional data methods.

Many of today’s SAAS companies run on the most trusted and secured
infrastructure in the world. There are procedures in place to make sure SAAS systems remain secure and safe.

“Standard practices need to be followed when designing a SAAS infrastructure,” said Azhar. “Any and every connection should be encrypted, information while at rest should be encrypted and of course the platform should be hosted at a data center that already has security certifications specific to the industry the software serves.”

What are the SAAS trends for the future?

SAAS continues to be a growing field. As people use more and devices, the need for cloud based systems has grown. So has the interest SAAS systems from investors.

“…Private equity money has become more and more interested in the SaaS space and that is a trend I believe will continue,” said Benson.  “I think over the next 5 to 10 years more private equity will flow into the space to helpcapitalize it better, and provide cash resources for growth.”

Learn more about SAAS and other secure cloud services with DocoServe

DocuServe is a cloud based digital protection service that can keep your business’s documents safe and secure. We also offer training for corporations through our service EServe, so your corporation can be update in the latest cooperate technology trends and services.


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