Documents stored electronically traditionally have no validity as masters due to the fact that they can be transmitted and printed by an unlimited number of parties, introducing an enormous risk of identity theft and document fraud. However, the latest technology makes it possible to digitally sign, barcode and seal a soft-copy document.

Leon Bouwer, product manager of Bateleur Software, says this technology is set to change the way organisations operate and play a crucial role in companies’ ability to comply with legal requirements such as those imposed by the Electronic Communications and Transactions (ECT) Act, Basel II and the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA).
“The ECT Act, for example, recognises all forms of electronic communication and transactions – including voice mail, SMS, email and instant messaging – as legal and binding. It also extends to fringe technologies such as web sites and portals,” Bouwer says.
Bateleur recently concluded a distribution agreement with xyzmo Software South Africa. xyzmo is a leading international technology provider of digital signatures with headquarters in Austria and subsidiaries in the US, Germany and South Africa.
Through its distribution agreement with xyzmo, Bateleur offers solutions which turn the signature process into a fully digital operation, rendering soft-copy documents completely secure. To sign and verify electronic documents digitally results in the optimisation of business processes and in extensive cost savings while assuring maximum security.
“The electronic xyzmo seal places a visible ‘stamp’ on a document in digital format to verify it as an unaltered original, much like a digital watermark,” Bouwer says. “The verification process is guaranteed in the long term and executed by one click on the digital seal. It is the only solution we know of which does not require the recipient to download software plug-ins or root certificates, making it much simpler and cheaper to deploy and maintain.”
The software sends a warning to the recipient if any changes have been made to an electronic document. Due to the registration process of the signatory by a ‘trusted authority’, the author of the document can also be verified. The verification process requires only access to the Internet, so integrity and authenticity can be proved with just one click.
Using the unique SIGNificant solution, a personal digital handwritten signature can be manually applied to any printable document without using a single piece of paper, so that the personal signature becomes an integral part of the digital workflow. The web-based application also facilitates the offline signing of a document.
xyzmo SA CEO John Anderson says the software allows for a handwritten signature to be captured and compared to a stored master signature, taking into account biometric data such as the pressure, speed and acceleration with which an individual signs. Even illiterate people can be identified as long as three or more marks are
made with the digitised pen.
Also, the signature cannot be forged or stolen as is the case with PIN (Personal Identification Number) codes. As a result, the PIN can be replaced with a biometric signature in any transaction requiring a PIN code for authorisation.
“Due to their ability to tighten security and eradicate paper, these xyzmo products are ideal solutions at the point of sales as well as for banks, pension funds and any company which administers contracts or offers in high numbers,” Bouwer says.
“xyzmo’s technology can go far in eradicating paper and thus increase the efficiency and security of business processes.”