The dual power of ASiC and Agrello: how to get people to actually read documents?
What is an ASiC container?
In Estonia, everyone is familiar with the DigiDoc4 application and hopefully knows how to digitally sign documents using it. The format used for digital signing in this case is an ASiC-E container, which is an internationally compatible (.asice) signature format, that allows multiple different files to be packed into it. However, opening and reviewing the contents of these documents is quite inconvenient and requires a laptop and the DigiDoc4 application. On the Agrello platform, there is a preview functionality that facilitates reviewing the contents of an ASiC container without additional programs on both computers and mobile devices. Read more about what is an ASiC container from our knowledge base article here.
Benefits of the ASiC container
Just as it's important to choose the right tool for any job, it's also important to use the right type of ASiC container for signing. There are different types of ASiC containers. As already mentioned above, the ASiC-E (you may also come across names such as BDOC-TS or ASiC-E LT, or AdES LT) container format is used in Estonia, as well as in Latvia and Lithuania. ASiC-E is generally considered to be the signature format with the best international compatibility.
The ASiC-E container allows several files to be easily packed into one, thereby facilitating digital signing and simplifying the handling of several document-related operations. For example, if you want to sign a PDF or Word document and an Excel file with it, this can be easily done using the ASiC-E container. Using an ASiC container also ensures the integrity and authenticity of signed content, promoting both trust and security in digital communications.
Using the ASiC format when signing documents helps to reduce the risk that the electronic signature is separated from the data (files) by combining the signature and the signed data into one container. Since both elements are protected in the ASiC container, it is easier to distribute the signature (and signed documents) and at the same time ensure that the correct signature and its metadata are used during validation. This process can also be used, for example, to associate evidence records or timestamps with their associated data.
Drawbacks of the ASiC container
A typical situation in digital signing is when an ASiC container, already signed by one party, containing several different documents is sent to the other party. For example, separate files may include a contract and various contract appendixes or different internal employment regulations and other organisational documents that require the employee's signature. However, the ASiC container format lacks a convenient option for previewing the documents. This means that each document needs to be opened individually to view its content. Additionally, these files may be in different formats, such as Word and PDF, which require different programs to open them on a computer. Another drawback of the ASiC container format is that it is rather inconvenient to open it on a mobile phone, and as a result, the signing process may take longer.
Let's take the example of updating or renewal of internal rules of work. The primary goal for all essential internal rules of work is to ensure that all employees are aware of and follow these rules. This is the only way to ensure the safety of all employees. If simply accessing the content of the files is time-consuming and requires a computer, in some cases, when a person doesn't have immediate access to a computer, the signing process may take longer. On the other hand, it can also happen that an ASiC container is signed without thoroughly reviewing the content of the documents, and this does not serve the utmost purpose.
ASiC container preview in Agrello
This is where Agrello comes into play. On our platform one of the signing formats is also ASiC container, which can be signed using any of the well-known qualified digital signing methods in Estonia, such as ID-card, Smart-ID, or Mobile-ID. Mobile-ID and Smart-ID are also available in Latvia and Lithuania. Agrello combines the preview option, convenient mobile view, and supports all common digital signature methods. Agrello combines the ability to preview documents, a convenient mobile view and supports all common digital signature methods. On the Agrello platform, you can conveniently view the files in the ASiC container and familiarize yourself with their contents. It also works successfully on a mobile screen, so it is possible without much effort to view all documents on the go on a mobile device and to sign immediately using, for example, Smart-ID or Mobile-ID.
The result is a fast and seamless digital signing process where all parties can conveniently review the contents of the documents. Furthermore, access to the document is retained for all signatories, and there is no need to send the document back and forth via email. Also for the company, all documents are immediately stored in one specific place, and the dashboard view provides a clear overview of who has signed the document and who may need a little reminder. Agrello makes the traditional ASiC container signing process even more efficient and significantly increases the likelihood that the counter-party will actually review the content of the documents sent for signing.