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Upstart Takes New Tack on Digital Signatures

TriCipher's new MySignatureBook enables multiple signers to authorize a single document electronically

Digital signature technology has been available for years, but many businesses still require their users and customers to print out legal documents, physically sign them, and then fax or mail them in.

"It's unbelievably frustrating for a lot of businesses," says Jon Brody, vice president of markteting at TriCipher Inc. , a small vendor that thinks it may have solved the problem. "You can automate almost any process so that it can be done online, but when it comes time for the signature, you have to go offline to do it."

TriCipher tomorrow will unveil MySignatureBook, a new technology that evolved from work done last year by IT people at Pfizer Corp., the pharmaceutical giant. It uses a Web interface to allow multiple users to review and authorize a single documents with non-repudiable signatures.

The problem with most currently available digital signature products, Brody explains, is that they require all of the signers to use a special client application -- and even if they do, each document can only support one "official" signature, so the business must collate and store multiple signatures for a single document. As a result, many businesses simply drop back and require signers to print out their signatures and fax the document in.

MySignatureBook, on the other hand, enables signers to route the document around via a common Web server and collect multiple signatures, each of which can legally verify the identity of the signer and the date and time of the signature.

"You do need to be on a common credentialing infrastructure, so we expect this technology to take off more in the enterprise environment than in the consumer space initially," says Brody. "But we've already seen a lot of interest in the pharmaceutical space, and we're seeing some interest in financial services, such as mortgage brokers."

MySignatureBook starts at $37,000 for up to 500 users and can cost as little as $5 per user in higher volumes. The solution works with existing third-party smart cards or TriCipher’s credential system, the company says.

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Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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