28 June, 2012
“In a networked world, trust is the most important currency.” Eric Schmidt
Cloud computing represents a major transformation in the way companies leverage information and appeals with its offer of a one-stop-shop, cost-effective, hassle-free, and efficient business environment. Acting Deputy Director General of Information Society and Media for the European Commission, Megan Richards, emphasised during her speech at the Cloud Computing World Forum conference in London (15 June 2012) the sizable market and ever growing trend that is expected to reach 11 billion in revenue by 2014, representing 3.6 percent of the total IT market.
Nevertheless, the cloud’s birth and existence has challenged, and still does, one of the crucial components in any type of relationship – trust! From a ‘face-to-face’, on-premise, product-based, controlled IT business environment, to externally service-based sourced operations. In his book The Big Switch, Nicholas Carr shows an historic analogy that brilliantly reflects the effects of a similar significant shift that took place in the 19th Century: the evolution of power plants. At the time, companies who usually generated their own power from in-house steam engines and dynamos, have gradually plugged into the cheap power that was generated from newly built, professionally run, centralised electric grid of electric utilities.
Trust in cloud computing, or concerns over it, refer to the characteristics of the technology (reliability, security) as much as to legislation, governance, and organisational issues. While some aspects can be overcome only by government legislations and regulations, or are associated to the psychological, behavioural, and technical customer’s ‘time-of-adaption’, others are directly linked to practices and steps taken by the cloud provider.
- Security - When communicating sensitive documents for signing purposes in the Cloud, comprehensive security measures have exceptional importance. The Secured Signing’s user-based PKI digital signature technology provides each user with a unique digital ID (signing key) that is accessible only to that user. The system instantly seals the signed document, and any changes made invalidate the signatures. Furthermore, users have the ability to verify their signatures offline any time at their desktop / mobile device, or at the Secured Signing’s Free Verification Service.
- Reliability - Business reliability is an essential indicator of the attitude, actions, and results derived from a service. Continuous setting of goals, ongoing development, and regular quality evaluation and monitoring are at the heart of the Secured Signing digital signature cloud service. Constant online signing performance assessments and follow-through processes ensure customers’ satisfaction: “The Secured Signing solution impressed us instantly with its high level of security, capabilities, and seamless implementation” Gadi Hadar, Managing Director at Asia Pacific Easy-Forex.
- Open communication – The fundamental shift in human communication behaviour requires cloud services to acknowledge and respond to their digitally aware clients. Successful communication is associated with trust and influences brand loyalty that will guarantee commitment of even geographically dispersed customers. With the apparent value of multiple ways for communicating (via e-mail or direct phone with the service provider), it’s the prompt, approachable, and responsive service that creates the difference: “Secured Signing was very fast and responsive whenever we asked for something. Their customer service is amazing.” Kym Volp, Queensland State Manager, Evolve Scientific Recruitment.
Till next time,
15 June, 2012
“Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other.” Bill Gates
Digital Mobile, Vodafone’s largest New Zealand dealer, provides a great example of this phrase’s validity. They were looking for a technological solution that would allow them to securely and efficiently streamline and speed-up customers’ contract signing. To find one that would comply with legal and industry requirements wasn’t an easy task. Nevertheless, Digital Mobile’s managers who recognised the need to replace their paper-based signup system and reduce customer frustration at filling in forms found their answer in Secured Signing’s comprehensive customised solution.
To meet Digital Mobile’s particular needs, Secured Signing’s PKI digital signature service developed a tailored system that uses a PDF of each of the Vodafone ordering forms, produces web-based adaptations, and adds business rule validation to each of them. The inclusive solution allows signatories to sign online with their PC or a mobile device (iPad, iPhone, Android); it manages signing and follow-up procesess, sends reminders, and provides all parties with a prompt PDF of the signed electronic contract and a precise tracking record of all activities.
“We needed a solution that worked both on-site with a customer and remotely via email, and were able to implement it quickly and easily,“ said Ben Smyth, Digital Mobile’s Sales Manager-Northern. “We’ve seen a total elimination of errors in the move away from paper. The benefits have been instantly realised by our sales workforce, our processing team, and our customers.”
Till next time,