Posted by : Deepak Vasudevan Saturday, June 23, 2007

Digital Signatures and Safe E-Enabling Written Signatures

Today while playing around my Zoho writer account, I came across a very innovative business model website called 'EchoSign'. The concept is simple. The document needs to be uploaded or published onto EchoSign server, where it is encrypted unalterably. Then the document can be sent to all parties. The sample trial option has two ways the parties can sign the document:

  1. Digital Signature
  2. Written Signature

In Digital Signature mode, a form is displayed. The parties are expected to type thier full name and initials. Then click on the button captioned 'Echo Sign'. The document is generated as PDF and sent to all parties for filing.

In Written Signature mode, the form is emailed as PDF. The parties are expected to take a print out the document, affix thier hand-written signature and then fax to a toll free number.

I feel that this is a very innovative effort by EchoSign to speeden up electronic business model. In my observation of a quick five minute tour, here are the advantages and limitations of the website.


  1. Terrible speed up of the processing of business transactions, offer letters, sales orders etc.
  2. Zero paper work. With these days of every banking institution and service provider switching to eBill to save cutting of trees for paper, I see this is a terrific innovative business model that anyone would appreciate.
  3. Third party document management by experts. We can be comfortable and feel free from processing and handling fragile and take-double-care documents.


  1. Document Interchange over Internet is not that safe. At least email verification can not be handled with a reliable security. In particular reference, is Phishing security attempt. I have not seen any convincing method that EchoSign has mentioned in 'How It Works' on how it is able to manage Phishing attempts. So at the moment, Fax option can be considered safe, taking into account a few hours delay. The few hours delay is justifable for the security of the document and data concerned.
  2. The document is being stored in a different country. So we need to consult the lawyer first on whether the document can be allowed to travel across the borders. At least, I think, loan related documents would come into this restriction with respect to the financiers who support the loans.

Just wanted to share with you a brief review on EchoSign and I think anyone should give a try to EchoSign -- a good business model to speeden up and make environment-friendly business transactions.

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