The number of electronic signatures at Fingrid has clearly increased during the state of emergency
The coronavirus crisis has increased the use of electronic signatures at Fingrid, Finland’s transmission system operator: in April, 250 signatures were made with Deltagon secSigned whereas the corresponding number in September 2019 was 80. Safe online communications and customers’ information security should always be a priority, but even more so in a crisis.
“Electronic signatures improve information security. Practically anyone can sign a paper, but Deltagon’s secSigned makes strong authentication mandatory for all users. This kind of protected process is a good example of a practice that we hope becomes more common in other systems as well,” says Specialist Pauli Laine from Fingrid’s Service Production and Architecture unit.
The needs of Fingrid’s business unit and the company’s responsibility objectives impacted the decision to implement the electronic signature system. The company has been using the secSigned solution from Deltagon, part of Erillisverkot, since 2018.
More efficiency with customisation
Fingrid and Deltagon have been working on various customisations to the secSigned solution together. At first, they focused on smaller details, such as a document’s complete circulation in the signature system. The document moves automatically to the next person in line and, at the end of the process, to the archive according to an acceptance process that was already in place. The document also includes the information about its storage time.
“At the procurement stage, we got to know the various options and decided on Deltagon rather early on. The good customisation possibilities had a big impact on our decision. Some of the available systems are cloud solutions from large corporations. However, large corporations only see us as a minor actor, and it would hardly have been possible to implement these kinds of company-specific solutions quickly,” Laine says.
Even larger customisation needs have been implemented successfully through collaboration.
“At Fingrid, we frequently issue guarantees of origin for our electricity supplier customers. Together, we were thinking about how we could automate the process so that the decision is clearly made by a human, not a system. We came up with a solution where one person verifies all certificates and signs them all at once with the help of secSigned and a third-party interface. The process became significantly faster: without this customisation, the verifier would have needed to log in separately for each certificate,” Pauli Laine explains.
High-quality service supports international operations
Fingrid has approximately 380 employees around Finland, all of whom can use the secSignes solution when needed. Most employees have been able to use he service with the help of instructions without separate guidance.
Pauli Laine is particularly impressed by the quality of Deltagon’s services.
“Deltagon’s developers always take our wishes seriously, they figure out how they can be implemented and test the solution carefully before giving their own suggestion. I appreciate the fact that they know their responsibility and produce consistent quality. This means that I can fully trust them to provide me with a solution that will work in practice.”
Laine estimates that the coronavirus pandemic will cause electronic signatures to become more common even internationally. Fingrid has international operations where electronic signatures could be useful as well.
“Expanding the electronic signature to, let’s say, the Nordic countries could be the next step for us. We have not yet signed a contract with any foreign signatories, but we are monitoring the need. Our transmission service is already prepared or this expansion,” Laine says.