January 2021 has become a significant milestone for the digitization of the Russian business. The use of a cloud electronic signature, capable of putting an end to the era of printing, sending and re-sending paper, has finally been fully legitimized.
For most entrepreneurs, a digital signature is a guarantee of secure and entirely licit contracts with remote partners – including those based abroad. To ensure the safety of the procedure, the contract may acquire a ratification by an independent legal entity, also referred as TTP, or a Trusted Third Party.
However, what makes a cloud electronic signature different? Unlike a standard digital signature that operates in the “close” environment of a personal computer and plugged-in dedicated devices (microchip card and card reader), a cloud-based one involves network data exchange between signer and signing-enabled cloud environment and thus facilitates signing a contract from wherever the signer is. The TTP in turn acts as a digital notary assigned to review the contract and to verify the e-signature.
As of now, the involvement of a TTP is voluntary; however, in the close future its participation in import & export-related contracts may become compulsory. In case a cloud e-signature finds recognition in other countries, a TTP is expected to operate as a full-fledged watchdog of the document flow between Russian and foreign entities.
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