APPROACH uses electronic signatures to sign official documents (such as contracts), allowing for more efficiency, security, trust, spontaneity and flexibility. To do so, Approach has decided to work with the Connective solution, which is a secure web-based platform that guides the end-user throughout the whole signing process. The platform allows you to choose the signing method that fits your needs and offers an unparalleled user experience with its self-explanatory wizards.
1. General considerations
An electronic signature is the digital counterpart of the handwritten signature in the offline world. In other words, it is a set of data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with another set of data in electronic form (e.g. a document to approve) and which is used by a user to sign this second set of data.
The most important advantages of E-Signature are Efficiency, User Experience, Legal Compliance and Security.
- Efficiency: E-Signature is an accelerator for your business. Working digitally means eliminating a large amount of time-consuming paperwork in your office and in relation to your customers.
- User Experience: E-signature improves the quality of interactions with your customers. It also improves their satisfaction for two reasons: E-Signature provides the convenience that documents can be signed anywhere, and that users can sign using all types of devices and without dealing with piles of paper.
- Legal Compliance: In Europe, thanks to the eIDAS regulation, all signature types of electronic signatures are accepted in court.
- Security: The eiDAS regulation clearly defines the security you can expect from an electronic signature in terms of document integrity and signer authenticity, depending on the type of signature you are applying. See question 1.4 for details.
As defined by the eIDAS regulation, all forms of electronic signatures are legal and are accepted in court.
However, in case of a dispute, the treatment of these signatures will differ depending on their type, as described below.
Three types of E-Signature exist: the Basic Electronic Signature (BES), the Advanced Electronic Signature (AdES) and the Qualified Electronic Signature (QES).
- With Basic Electronic Signatures, the authenticity of the signer and the integrity of the document ARE NOT guaranteed. These signatures are accepted in court. However in the event of a dispute, the party seeking the validity of the signature WILL have to supply evidence to convince the judge that the signature is valid.
- With Advanced Electronic Signatures, the authenticity of the signer and the integrity of the document ARE guaranteed. These signatures are accepted in court. And again, in the event of a dispute, the party seeking the validity of the signature WILL have to supply evidence to convince the judge that signature is valid.
- With Qualified Electronic Signatures, the authenticity of the signer and the integrity of the document ARE guaranteed. These signatures are accepted in court. But here, in the event of a dispute, the party seeking the validity of the signature WILL NOT have to supply evidence to convince the judge that the signature is valid. When signing a document with your a Belgian eID card, you affix a Qualified Electronic Signature to the document you are approving.
2. E-Signature platform
APPROACH uses the Connective platform which is a cloud-based solution.
The way the platform works is simple and intuitive:
- An initiator uploads a PDF document on the platform and defines the persons who are required to sign the document.
- Each signer receives an e-mail to notify them that their signature is required.
- Once the document has been signed by all the signers, each stakeholder can download the signed document.
- Afterwards, the document is archived for a period of 10 years.
To sign a document electronically using the eID method, please follow the procedure below:
- Click on the link received by e-mail to view the document.
- Read the entire document. Click "Reject" if you do not approve the content of the document; otherwise follow the steps below.
- Check the "I declare that I have read and agree with the next documents " box and click on "Start signing".
- Select eID.
- Take your card-reader and your Belgian identity card and follow the steps below:
- Install the Connective Browser Package, if prompted.
- Plug in your card-reader and insert your identity card.
- Enter the PIN code of your eID card.
- You have successfully signed the document.
If you cannot sign the document with the eID method because you are lacking one of the elements necessary for signing with an eID signature (card reader, Belgian eID card, PIN code, etc.), you can sign with the alternative SMS-OTP signature method.
To electronically sign a document using the SMS-OTP method, please follow the steps below:
- Click on the link received by email to view the document.
- Read the entire document. Click "Reject" if you do not approve the contents of the document; otherwise follow the steps below.
- Check the "I declare that I have read and agree with the next documents" box and click on "Start signing".
- Click on SMS-OTP.
- Insert the last 4 digits of your mobile number.
- Retrieve the confirmation code received on your mobile phone.
- Insert the code.
- You have successfully signed the document.
In this case, you can send us an e-mail via email@example.com and Approach will offer you a more traditional, paper-based way of signing the document.
Before signing an official document for your organisation, you must verify that you have the necessary mandates and signing authority. If this is not the case, please notify the issuing party that the signer must be changed.
Documents signed on the Connective platform are archived for a period of 10 years.
However, if on your side you wish to archive an electronic signed document, please note the following. A signed document can be archived on any type of electronic medium (electronic memory, hard drive, USB, etc.). The document can also be printed, although the validity of the signature can only be proved in an electronic form. It is therefore necessary to archive an electronic document that contains an electronic signature on an electronic archiving device.
If you have any questions about the process or the platform, please contact us by sending an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you interested in adopting this fast, innovative and secure method of signing? If you are, we are available to help you implement it in your processes and existing tools. So please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.