Cyber Security

Electronic signature accelerates digitalisation

7th April 2020
Alex Lynn

Vastuu Group, together with its partner cybersecurity company Nixu, has developed a secure digital electronic signature platform SignSpace in Finland. The EU eIDAS compliant service is suitable for all businesses that need to sign documents. The system combines Nixu’s expertise in Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) solutions and secure software development practices.

Many of us know the feeling when seeing a huge stack of papers that need to be signed and filed away before the end of the day. Some of us have also experienced a project that was almost dead in the water because of a business partner, who had not returned a critically important contract on time. The time spent on sending, processing and archiving all sorts of documents can amount to a significant part of the workday.

The current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic poses an additional challenge, which is forcing all actors in society to rely rapidly more and more on digital channels. The attempts to limit the pandemic may temporarily prevent access to physical papers and documents. Many companies have faced this challenge.

Vastuu Group offers as a solution, a digital signature service – SignSpace, that is easy to deploy and use online and on mobile devices. SignSpace is provided by Platform of Trust Oy, a subsidiary of the Vastuu Group.

SignSpace’s roots lie in the Finnish construction sector, where it was developed by Vastuu Group to meet the increasingly digital needs of a decidedly un-digital industry. After SignSpace was launched, it soon became apparent that there was a high demand for this type of service in other industries as well. SignSpace is suitable for all businesses that need to manage various documents – contracts, deeds, legal records, etc. – that also need to be signed.

In addition to its digital signature service, SignSpace includes a chat service where the people involved in a deal can discuss the particulars of a document before signing it. The service includes the secure archival of all types of documents, and you can also use the SignSpace mobile app for signing and digital authentication.

SignSpace service can be used to create digital signatures that are compliant with the EU’s eIDAS Regulation, which provides the legal basis for digital signatures throughout Europe. When signing a document in the SignSpace mobile app, the signature will be fully compliant with the eIDAS Regulation criteria for advanced signatures.

SignSpace can be used to create different types of signatures:

  • Lightweight digital signatures, where the signer is identified with an email address.
  • Strong digital signatures, where the signer is strongly identified with their bank or mobile ID.
  • Advanced digital signatures, which can be created by using the SignSpace mobile app.

Cybersecurity company Nixu is largely responsible for SignSpace’s backend systems and application logic, which combine the company’s expertise in Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) solutions with secure software development practices in a completely unique way. The SignSpace mobile app was also designed by Nixu.

The collaboration has been valuable. Software development expertise, know-how on building PKI solutions, understanding the legal aspects of digital signatures, identification, as well as ensuring the cybersecurity of the solution were all provided by the same company, Nixu.

“It has been very inspiring to be involved in a project where we have been able to provide our holistic expertise across business units, while also providing interesting challenges for our experts. It has been great to help built a service that renews collaboration models and contract handling and is strongly boosting the digitalization of society,” said Ville Niemi, Lead of Business, Digital Identity (CIAM/B2B/B2C) at Nixu.

Rikhard Tiula, Chief Product Officer at SignSpace, added: “We wanted to find a partner with a wide range of expertise in secure software development and digital signature systems, and who understands the legislation involved in these types of services. Our customers can rely on the fact that the signatures they make using SignSpace are both legally sound and completely secure.”

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