Adobe pushes new open standard for cloud-based digital signatures

The Cloud Signature Consortium will aim to build a global network of industry contributors who will work together to create new standard specifications for cloud-based digital signatures.

Adobe says it processes more than six billion digital and electronic signature transactions each year through Adobe Sign and Adobe Document Cloud. So it's no surprise that the creative software giant is backing a consortium of tech providers in a push to bring about industry-wide open standards for the way documents are signed on the internet.

Like other standards-driven initiatives, the Cloud Signature Consortium will aim to build a global network of industry contributors who will work together to create new standard specifications for cloud-based digital signatures. These specifications could then be used to build secure digital signature functionality across a range of cloud applications and mobile devices.

According to Adobe, standards-compliant digital signatures (not to be confused with e-signatures) require a more advanced verification process that sometimes can make using them cumbersome and time consuming.

"And, while some cloud-based digital signature solutions exist, they are proprietary and fragmented, rather than an open approach that offers a choice of certificate providers." explained Adobe.

The consortium is initially focused on Europe, as a new European Union signature regulation (eIDAS) will go into effect on July 1. Initial consortium members span EU cloud-based digital signature providers, trust services providers, academics, and standards and security focused organizations.

If all goes well, Adobe expects the consortium to have a global impact due to the rapid rise in demand for digital signature technology.