It’s Time To Do Away with Paper Forms: Leveraging Secure Web Forms

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Despite their shortcomings, paper forms continue to be used to collect all sorts of information including highly sensitive data for a host of purposes from legal to financial to healthcare. Collecting confidential client information by having clients fill out forms is a simple and efficient way to gather information with a low “barrier to entry”. Anyone with a pen, the information at hand and the form can complete the task.

There is little question however that paper-based forms have a number of shortcomings. In an age where privacy, accuracy and efficiency have never been more top of mind, filling out forms by hand leaves significant room for error and increased risk of lost or stolen data, not to mention the enormous amount of physical space they take up. In many countries the shift from paper to electronic records is now legislated in industries such as healthcare. Even where it is not legislated, it is quickly becoming the reality of the digital world in which we live.

The ability to securely fill out and share electronic forms offers enormous competitive advantages in addition to greater security and in regulatory compliance. The entire process of showing up 15 minutes early to fill out a client-intake form before the initial appointment with a healthcare provider, financial advisor or legal professional could be all but eliminated. Service providers capable of sharing these forms in a secure electronic format before the appointment would save their patients and clients valuable time and would avoid having to decipher ineligible handwriting after the fact.

Enter the era of the secure web form

While forms are here to stay, innovation has arrived through secure web forms so they no longer have to be paper-based. Secure web forms make it very easy for clients who have access to a computer and the Internet to fill out and safely share sensitive information with a service provider.

Secure web forms are an extension of secure messaging technology that is on the market today and can replace any paper or PDF form. As more organizations adopt secure messaging services such as email encryption and data loss prevention, they will also be able to leverage the same technology to benefit from secure web forms.

The actual process of turning a paper form into a secure web form is a relatively easy one. The first step is to design the form in HTML (or any other programming language). It’s no different than creating any other web form. Once the form has been created, it can be made secure by leveraging the application programming interface (API) of an encryption or secure messaging solution.

Secure web forms powered by API integration with a secure messaging platform provide encrypted web fields that can be routed directly into an employee’s inbox for processing or directly injected into another system without any manually typing in the information.

With Cirius, for example, encrypted emails with secure web forms can be sent, received, indexed, searched and archived for future retrieval. The end result is a win-win for organizations and clients: secure and efficient communications where confidential information is protected without added complexity for the sender or receiver.

To read more on secure web forms as an extension of secure messaging technology, click here.

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