My mom loves getting mail from me, so she sends stamps periodically to me so that I’ll address little cards to her and my dad. I have to be honest, I hardly know where to purchase stamps other than the obvious post office. (Do grocers still sell them? I honestly don’t know.) Despite my ignorance of where to buy a book of stamps, many water purveyors require backflow prevention test reports to be mailed the old-fashioned way, stamp and all.
Why are backflow reports mailed via snail mail?
Two weeks ago Jeremiah wrote a blog about document security, and how important it is to us. Several months ago, a customer first brought up the fact that his water purveyors required PDF-signed backflow reports, or they needed to be mailed the ordinary way. The Syncta Team got together to discuss the value in having PDF-signed documents, how we could implement such a security feature, and how much of a pain in the neck we could save some of our customers from needing to print every single report form to send to the water district. (You know that I’m always preaching cutting paperwork!) Mostly though, we talked about how exciting this aspect of the application could be. I’m still excited about it!
The Cost of Security
Building out the PDF-signed documents typically costs quite a bit; it’s such a niche-expertise that companies are forced to hire expensive experts to do it. A typical company does not have the expertise internally. I guess you could say we might have gotten lucky–a couple Syncta team members have years in developing in high security environments. Jeremiah has 10+ years in the security side of financial industry, from keeping bank websites running to being part of a small start-up focusing on high-functioning ATMs. Needless to say, he gets that security is important.
Signed and all Signatures are Valid
While I don’t understand the technical side of creating the pdf-signatures, I understand the importance of having them. As of last week, our application now supports pdf-signed reports–this is the same type of signature that you can take a bank loan on or buy a house with. They are as valid as they get: secure, and functional. Now, if your water districts require it, we’ll make sure they receive a pdf-signed version of your backflow tests. When they open them in their PDF reader, they’ll be greeted with a confidence-inspiring green bar, with the the words “Signed and All Signatures are Valid.” These 6 short words hold a lot of value to us. To date we are the only company of our type to do this. If we hadn’t had the expertise, it likely would have taken us a lot longer to figure out, but when a customer requests something, we discuss things–and we find ways to make them happy.