5 questions on electronic archiving with probative value

Ensuring the long-term preservation of electronic documents, while guaranteeing their integrity for the duration of legal obligations is a major challenge for law professionals. 

This requires the implementation of an electronic archiving system (EAS), which enables digital documents to be stored, organized, and easily retrieved. Data security is also a key aspect of electronic archiving. 

With Arkhineo’s electronic archiving system provided through the Closd platform, companies can secure their and their customers’ original and sensitive documents in an ultra-secure electronic safe, creating new levers for growth and development opportunities.  

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about electronic archiving here. 

5 questions about Arkhineo’s electronic archiving solution provided Closd  

How to choose the length of my archiving period? 

The duration of archiving depends on regulatory obligations and the type of document, as not all documents have the same retention period, usually from 3 to 10 years, sometimes more for more sensitive documents. Law professionals and accountants usually recommend that you keep business records, contracts and invoices, including digital copies, for at least 7 years. This duration usually allows you enough time to defend against possible dispute or claim.  

Very often, the mandatory retention period corresponds to the prescriptive period beyond which there can be no further dispute, particularly for contracts. At Closd, 90% of our clients open 10-year safes.  

For customers who have a lot of documents to archive, or who need to archive them for a longer period, 2 options are available: 

  • Open a safe for a longer period, 20 years for instance. If certain documents need to be archived for a shorter period, they can be removed at a cost.  
  • Get a second safe if the documents are different and need to be archived for different lengths of time. 

Closd is a legal transaction management solution that has integrated Docaposte Arkhineo technology, enabling its customers to archive and consult their electronically signed documents and contracts via DocuSign and Certeurope technologies (Qualified Trust Service Provider under the eIDAS regulation). Customers can thus benefit immediately from one or more vaults, without any IT development. This is a turnkey solution: your safe is ready to use in just a few days. Closd is available in SaaS (Software As A Service) mode, which means you simply need to log in to your Closd account and search for your documents on the platform. No in-house installation or training is required. 

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What information does an archiving certificate contain? 

The electronic safe allows you to meet your legal archiving obligation, secure your data and obtain an archiving certificate, including the document itself and a certificate of compliance. It designs the evidence file associated with each archive (PDF file). It contains metadata and information on the depositor, on which platform the deposit took place and at what time, information on the person requesting the attestation, the document’s fingerprint, and timestamp, etc.  

This is a particularly important security feature, which makes it possible, for example, to legally validate that a document signed 15 years ago does indeed still have a probative value, thanks to its attestation being valid all those years later. The certificate guarantees the legal security, traceability, and certified conformity of the archived document. 

Can my customers access the archives?  

You can share your archived documents externally with your customers and colleagues. They obviously do not have direct access to your document vaults. 

Why should I archive my documents using an EAS if I already own a DocuSign certificate? 

Whenever a document is signed, a digital fingerprint is generated; but after 5 or 10 years, the document may present alterations. Simply signing a document does not prove that it has not been altered, nor that its integrity has been preserved, in the absence of a recalculation of the fingerprint. Every time a user of an Arkhineo vault on Closd consults a document, its fingerprint is recalculated, even after several years, to ensure its integrity against technological obsolescence. 

Another concrete example is that when a document is signed, it is usually backed by a signature certificate. These certificates have a lifespan of 3 years. However, if a dispute arises once this 3-year period has elapsed, it will not be possible to prove that the signature and certificate were valid at the time of signing, as the certificate will be revoked. With qualification, and thanks to the eIDAS regulation, Arkhineo has access to a list of active and revoked certificates. This provides a complete validation report, proving that the document is complete and that the signature and certificate are valid.  

The integration offers an extremely easy-to-use interface, which is similar to a simple document management tool. You can classify your documents as you wish and tag them for easy retrieval and instant access. 

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How can you guarantee that archived documents will still be legible in ten years from now?  

In view of current standards, certain formats should be favored to guarantee document legibility.  

Arkhineo accepts any format of documents, and guarantees the fidelity, integrity, durability and traceability of archived documents so that they retain their original value. Some of them, such as PDF, are considered permanent. If you archive a document in this format, Arkhineo  can guarantee that you will be able to read it later. 

However, if you wish to archive files in Word format, for example, these are proprietary formats that are not considered persistent. In this case, the customer must be able to keep the necessary tools to be able to re-open the document in the decades to come.  

Arkhineo’s electronic archiving provided by the Closd platform guarantees the integrity of all your documents. In the event of a legal dispute, it will be possible to prove to a judge that your document was signed at the time it was archived, and that it has not been modified during the entire period of its storage, thanks to the certificate provided. 

To learn more about Arkhineo’s archiving vault, or Closd’s legal transaction platform? Schedule a demo now

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