Yes we do go on about this quite a lot but with good reason! If you can offer an online signing facility, you speed things up no end, avoid unnecessary meeting time (save that valuable time for things that matter), no waiting on the post and you look incredibly cutting edge (and ahead of the game) at the same time. For us, online signing is safe, secure and complete no-brainer.
For any professional managing information on behalf of clients, email is dead. It is not secure and highly susceptible to human error. How many times have you sent information to or received information from the wrong source? I am regularly wrongly emailed client documents by a highly intelligent, trusted professional simply because I have a very similar name to his client. It is completely understandable but it could have any number of repercussions. A client portal is a cloud-based safe. The documents go in (added by you or your client), the recipient is notified and they are then retrieved. It is also subject to several layers of top-level security. For the sake of your practice, your reputation and your clients’ trust, switch from email to a secure client portal before it is too late. We can help, advise and support a quick transition to a much safer and more professional way to communicate.
We’ve all been there – passing round a document for feedback via several people. We lose track of the most up to date version and then someone comments late on an early iteration. It makes for confusing and long-winded communications at the very least. At worst, it can lead to much bigger problems if the wrong versions are acted on or published externally. With docSAFE, everyone accesses the same document. It is held in the central hub where one version exists. All participants visit the file in question and feedback in the same place. No more missed comments or version muddles. If only all of life could be made simpler so easily!
So why should you consider cloud working? We’ve written extensively on this but we’re going to keep it simple and give you five good reasons over the next few blogs on why you should be working in the cloud. The first reason is the foundation of all cloud working functionality. You can get to your files anytime, anywhere – that’s 24/7 from anywhere with internet access. No more ‘I’ve left it in the office’ or ‘I can’t get that to you until tomorrow, sorry’. You can access all the files you need to, all the time. What’s more, you can even give secure access to your clients so they can get to their own files – how much time and admin would that save? That’s it, told you we’d keep it simple.
We have been busy this month with online webinars that have been well-attended. Due to their popularity (and we attribute this to their brevity!), we have recorded them for any late-comers who wish to know more about developments in online portal functionality. Both webinars are less than 5 minutes and tell you more (with a live demo) about: How you electronically sign a document (and why you would want to offer this) 2-factor authentication (and why you should care) Both offer huge efficiencies to your organisation – find out more by listening. We also welcome any questions you may have by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling on 0121 794 0685.
What is the GDPR? Firstly, the GDPR affects every business that holds personal information on anyone, be they employees, customers or suppliers. It is a rare business that does not hold a list of personal data of some kind, on or offline. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal directive from the European Union for the protection of such personal data. It seeks to address the inconsistent data protection laws currently existing throughout the EU’s member states. Despite Brexit, the UK is still bound by this new law, not only because the UK has chosen to (because it makes sense) but trading with countries who operate under GDPR will be compromised if we don’t uphold the same standards. What’s the big deal? Failure to comply with GDPR could mean you risk being fined up to 4% of your company’s global annual turnover. Not only could your business suffer financially but you could also damage your reputation and credibility – who wants to do business with an organisation that doesn’t prioritise its clients’ security? So begins the 12 month countdown… What should you be doing? You must:
- Keep a record of data operations and activities and consider if you have the required data processing agreements in place
- Carry out privacy impact assessments (PIAs) on products and systems
- If applicable to your organisation, designate a data protection officer
- Review processes for the collection of personal data – do you ask permission? Many CRM systems encourage a dual confirmation (hence why you are asked to click a link via an email after registering with an organisation)
- Be aware of your duty to notify the relevant supervisory authority of a data breach
- Implement ‘privacy by design’ and ‘privacy by default’ in the design of new products and assess whether existing products meet GDPR standards
- A really powerful solution that we recommend is to use a secure client portal and NEVER use email to distribute information of any kind. A secure portal like docSAFE means data doesn’t leave the portal but can be accessed by authorised people only
- Educate your staff – and explain the implications
- Set up internal systems for reporting a data breach
- Make sure you extend your GDPR preparation to include any third parties who may have access to your data
- Ensure you extend the policies to cover everything your store both offline and online
No of course not. Online security extends to your website, emails, social media and so much more. At Online Practice, when we are developing software and systems such as docSAFE (our established client portal), security is our number one priority, surpassing functionality and appearance every time. Why create something that is amazing if it’s not secure? Our layers of security include the inclusion of QR codes, 2 factor authentication, encryption and, of course, the https certification that is currently being pushed hard by Google (see our other blogs for more about this). We believe that a secure site, layered with several other security measures is the most powerful deterrent against hackers. And we can’t stress enough that hackers don’t just target the big boys – they have strong motivation to hack into any site. We offer unique QR codes alongside online signatures to strengthen security at every level. QR codes are not new but in the fight against online fraud and hackers, they are a being used increasingly as a way of increasing the ‘uniqueness’ of an online signature. We encode the security data within our QR codes, not the signature or date so it is tamper-proof. Ask us for more information, we are happy to share our knowledge!
We all know of instances where emails are sent to the wrong person. In most cases, this can be simply excused by human error and we move on. However, occasionally, and of course to journalists’ delight, it creates headline news as vast numbers of personal details are exposed or documents are leaked to huge detriment. But have you ever considered why email is not secure? Well, when an email leaves your inbox to wing its way – in an instant – to its intended recipient, it travels through an unknown number of servers. The point being, you don’t know who has access to those servers. It is possible, to a degree, to encrypt email contents before they leave you, with the encryption remaining in place until the email hits the recipient. This is a good solution but there are still some issues around the security levels of your recipient. This is why we advocate the use of one or more security levels – we provide QR code security, dual factor authentication and a number of encryption solutions. Above all, we recommend avoiding email for sensitive information and, instead, using a secure client portal – a sort of ‘pigeon hole in the sky’ where you can safely deposit documents that can only be collected by the intended recipient. Talk to us, together we can make sure you are as communicating as securely as possible.
Think about the number of things in your business day that need a signature. It is certainly a whole heap of admin that you can avoid by introducing electronic signatures across all of your operations. There are so many benefits, here are just a few…
- Fewer unnecessary meetings – save those for when you can make the time really meaningful
- Less paper to store, photocopy and post – throw out those bulky filing cabinets
- Tracking and following up missing signatures becomes a thing of the past – online signing gives you far greater control
- Relegate your fax machine to the store cupboard (or, even better, the bin)
- Oh the speed! Get signatures turned around immediately
- Online signing can happen anywhere, from any device – remove excuses for delays
- Online signatures are legally binding – a key point
- Gain a business advantage by looking ultra professional and making doing business easier
Why 2 factor authentication is something you need to know about It sounds a bit of a mouthful but in IT security terms, it is beautifully simple. For years now we have come to expect online access to anything containing our personal details to include an email address and password. That is standard but, if you think about it, woefully inadequate in terms of security. We are quite vulnerable if we tend to use the same email and, despite knowing better, the same or similar passwords for everything we log into (how else are we expected to remember?). Well, enter “2 factor authentication” to solve all. We have been working hard to get ahead of the game in terms of security – on every level. So, for access to docSAFE, our professional client portal, you log in using your email address BUT then, a unique PIN is sent to your mobile phone. No need for passwords and highly unlikely that a hacker would have your mobile phone. 2 factor authentication – a complicated name for a simple, beautiful thing.