Nowadays, it seems as though every important piece of documentation has made its way to the virtual space. From contracts to invoices, early everything can be signed, sealed, and delivered online.
Is that safe? Should we stick with paper for our most important documents? Or is paper going obsolete?
By no means are these ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. Keep reading to uncover answers to these complex, digital-era dilemmas.
FAQs for Print Management and Documentation in a Digital World
Are electronic signatures safe? Or should I stick with printing?
It’s not just in times of self-isolation that e-signatures are needed in the business world. Sales departments can use them to speed up the order process, HR for faster on-boarding, and administration for the signing of important contracts.
Many people wonder if their digital signatures can be forged. In truth, wet signatures (AKA pen and paper signatures) can and have been tampered with—it’s not that difficult if your documents end up in the wrong hands.
E-signatures are protected by layers of security and authentication. They leave behind an electronic record of who has signed the document, and the date and time they signed it. Depending on the software used for the e-signature and upon the signer’s consent, this record can include the location and IP address where the signing took place. Plus, the electronic document itself has a record of edits made.
This audit trail is crucial in case anyone raises questions or disputes about a transaction or contract.
Although it has been proven that e-signatures secure and that anyone can use them, some people will always be more comfortable with signing with ink and paper—and that’s okay. It's all about taking the necessary security measures, no matter what medium you use.
Are printers going obsolete?
Despite all the advancements in cloud-based storage and the amazing capabilities of our smartphones, nothing can replace a printed document. Just like we’ll always need air, we'll always need printers.
There are many reasons for this. Imagine that, sometime in the future, you’re boarding an airplane. Instead of printing your boarding pass, you have an electronic version on your phone. It seemed like a great convenience since you’re much less likely to lose an expensive tech gadget than a piece of flimsy paper.
The problem is, you’ve lost your phone charger and your battery is dead. Where’s your boarding pass now?
We rely on power and electricity for dozens of tasks and decisions every day. What many people often forget is how steadfast paper can be. With paper, you don't need to be charged or plugged in to continuously read or edit important documents, power. You don’t strain your eyes with blue light, causing headaches and mild insomnia. You can edit with ease, without worrying if your changes will save.
Still, as our world increasingly demands digital adaptability, our printers need to do more. Multi-functional printers bridge the gap between the virtual and paper-based communication, as they allow you to digitize paper documents via scanning.
Having digital and analog copies of every file you own—for work and your personal life—is how you balance the security of online communication with the guaranteed longevity and ease-of-use that paper offers.
Cybercrime has gone up. How can I send my scanned documents safely?
Print machines are changing year by year to match the complexity of our computers and smartphones. Plenty of today’s MFPs have cybersecurity features that prevent hackers from intercepting your digital documents or using your printer as an entry point for attacks.
Some of those features include:
- Code-signing — The printer uses a cryptographic key and digital signatures to ensure the code that runs the printer hasn’t been tampered by anyone.
- Hardware root of trust (secure boot) — Once installed and every time you power it on, the printer performs a series of inspections on the integrity of the firmware code.
- Run-time code integrity — This is much like the Hardware Root of Trust, but it prevents code alteration in the printer’s memory while the firmware code is running. If an intrusion is detected, the printer automatically restarts and loads the original, untampered firmware code.
Get More Answers (and Help) from Managed Print Experts
If you need to achieve that digital-paper balance in your home office, don’t be afraid to ask for help. CBM can bring the office to your doorstep, easing your workflow with scanning solutions, automatic toner replacement, and quick service call response time.
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