Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays from the Middlepost Team

imageThe Middlepost Team would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2008. A special thanks goes out to our customers, investors and everybody else who has helped us along the way in 2007.

Watch for some big enhancements to our offerings at the start of the new year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Insurance carriers must adopt e-commerce initiatives for competitive edge, says TowerGroup

I came across this article today about research done by TowerGroup on the Insurance Industry. Here's an interesting excerpt from the article:

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) opened the doors for financial services organizations to adopt electronic-commerce initiatives such as electronic signatures (e-signatures) and secure documents. According to TowerGroup, this has resulted in segments of financial services realizing decreases in processing time by as much as 50 percent and transactional cost declines of up to 75 percent. However, the insurance industry continues holding onto the traditional contract execution model.

These are exactly the problems that Middlepost solves. Are you an insurance company? Please contact us to see how you can realize these benefits.

About the report:

The TowerGroup report titled "Electronic Signature and Secure Forms in the Insurance Industry: Taking the P&C Pen to the Web," authored by Karen Pauli, senior analyst in TowerGroup's Insurance practice, explores the numerous opportunities for insurance carriers to improve operations by implementing electronic signature and secure documents technology.

Friday, November 2, 2007

eSignature Stamp Redesign

We've redesigned our signature stamps with the following goals in mind:

  1. The stamp is signed live online to give the feeling of actually signing a piece of paper 
  2. Noticeable, so signers know exactly what to sign and readers can easily see the signatures in the document

With that, we've settled on the following esignature stamp design.

 

And this one is a cut away of the signature area of a custom QuickForm:

The stamp on the left is waiting to be signed and the one on the right has been signed.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Friday, October 26, 2007

We Got Groups

Today was a big day for us at Middlepost. We launched a major new feature set for Business and Enterprise Edition customers: Middlepost Groups.

Middlepost Groups provides your organization with the following benefits:

  • Access - Give your employees access to all documents and forms they'll need to get their job done. Manage their access rights in a hierarchical organization structure.
  • Central - All documents are now stored in central group repositories making it easy for people to find and re-use common documents.
  • Visibility - Get live updates and see what people are working on, and see the status of all your organizations documents. Nothing can slip through the cracks.
  • Communication - Get your teams talking. Now they have a way to discuss the documents that they are working on.
  • Speed - Cut down all the email, meetings, and floating documents. Eliminate time wasted faxing, scanning and printing. Save time and increase your companies work flow with a simple team based system.

And now for the fun stuff, here is a review of the features along with some screenshots for your viewing pleasure.

Group Feed

Every Group has a feed that keeps everyone up to date with what is going on. Similar to the personal Home page feed, but it covers all activity for every member of the group.

Group Forms and Document Library

Create QuickForms and/or upload your organizations documents into a group repository. A Document Space can be created in one click from the Group Forms and Documents list, ready to send out for signature.

Active Documents

All active documents in a group can be seen from the group page by the group members.

Subgroups

The Groups structure is hierarchical and allows an unlimited number of sub groups. Create groups for each department, location, or any way you see fit. Members are granted access to specific groups in the hierarchy providing a powerful document management access system.

 

People and Roles

Each group member is given a role in the group that allows them to perform different actions. Normal, Editor, or Administrator.

Central Accounting

One bill for all employees.

All Wrapped in a Single Location

Manage your entire group in a clean, rich, ajaxified interface.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is it Safe to use a Scanned Signature to Sign a Document?

Someone asked us today why they should use Middlepost Docs instead of copying and pasting their scanned signature into a document. This is a very good question. And here is why you should NOT use scanned signatures.

  1. Big personal security risk making you an easy target for fraud.
    1. Using a scanned signature is a major security risk. If you send someone a signed document with your scanned signature, they will then have a copy of your signature and now can use that signature to sign documents as you. If you are only using an image of your signature to verify yourself, you are asking for trouble.
    2. Storing an image of your signature on your computer is also a liability if someone gains access to your computer.
  2. One off solutions are time consuming and a bad business practice.
    1. The time spent getting your signature, adding it to signature lines, saving it, and then attaching it to an email is inefficient and not a solid business practice for any company. It is much better to use a scalable and more efficient solution.
    2. Most people do not have a scanned signature on their computer to use so if you send someone a document for a signature, they will be unable to sign it electronically.
    3. There is no easy way to manage all the documents when you do it through email. Especially in a business scenario where many people are involved, not just in each document, but in managing all of the documents.
    4. Signed documents are generally very important and should be stored/archived for many years. Therefore you will need a long term storage system so you can pull up that document 5 years from now.
  3. Not possible with un-editable files like PDF.
    1. You can only paste your signature image into editable documents like a Microsoft Word document or OpenOffice. File such as Adobe PDF are un-editable and will not work using this method.
  4. No Third Party Verification
    1. There is no third party verification when using a scanned signature so there is no bullet-proof way to find out exactly when or who signed the document.

As you can see, there are many reasons you should not rely on a scanned signature for electronic documents. The most important point being that it makes you vulnerable to fraud and identity theft. And you can't just go change the way you write your signature after someone gets their hands on it.

All of these problems are resolved if you use an online signature service like Middlepost Docs.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How To Verify a Printed Electronically Signed Document

When a document is digitally signed as long as the document remains in an electronic format, it can be verified. So if you store it on a disk, a usb drive, or send it in email, everything is fine. For instance, if the document is an Adobe Acrobat file (PDF), then the Acrobat Reader can verify the signature and show you information about it. Here is a sample screenshot from a signed PDF:


But what happens when you print the document and pass around a printed copy? How can you be sure that it was actually signed by the correct person?

There was really no way to verify an digital signature on a printed document... until now. We've solved this problem by putting a unique URL for every document on each signature stamp. If you type the URL into your browser, you can see some high level document information along with who signed it and when. This is a screenshot of a document signed with Middlepost Docs:



So if you need to verify an electronic signature, but only have the printed copy, Middlepost has you covered.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Home Page Activity Feed

Would you like to know exactly what is going on with your documents at a glance? To see all document changes, comments, approvals and signing events? Well look no further, Middlepost Docs has you covered.

The "Home" screen you see when you first login to Middlepost is your global document feed:



The global feed captures everything that is happening with your docs and allows you to stay on top of things, all on one page.