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Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Keeping Documents Secure

March 10, 2015

“Signed, sealed, delivered.” An expression we have heard many times and one that we often equate with the good-old-days, when important documents were manually prepared and delivered through the post office. The expression portrays finality and trust:  signed – the author has been identified and the document is genuine; sealed – the document has not been altered and its contents can be trusted; delivered – the document has arrived at its destination.

While the expression may be old, the message is actually very timely. The digital age has created a desire for instant gratification, thus the secure delivery of authentic documents has never been more challenging. Technological developments have a profound impact on how important academic documents are signed, sealed and delivered. But this same technology has introduced security and authenticity issues. Are the risks reduced with the arrival of new and faster methods of doing business? That’s a difficult question to answer. As professionals working in the higher education sector, we must take advantage of technology to become more efficient and effective and deliver services that exceed student expectations. 

Academic transcripts have traditionally been formatted as printed documents. Two decades ago, the sector experienced a sea-change with the introduction of secure and tamper-resistant paper.  The intent of this technology was to eliminate fraudulent printed documents and strengthen the brand of the originating school. Both goals were achieved to a measurable degree, but left something to be desired. The availability of low cost, high quality color copiers has voided some or allowed other secure paper features to be replicated. The availability of desktop publishing software has enabled the reproduction of the original transcript, where at times the fraudulent document looks better than the original document! Security improvements of transcript paper are mitigated by the fact that postal delivery gets slower and more expensive every year. But in today’s world, paper is still king. Institutions can streamline their print and mail process by outsourcing its operations to Credentials eScrip-Safe. We use advanced, high-speed technology to print, fold, stuff, and mail thousands of transcripts on behalf of client schools each year. 

In the past several years, hundreds of schools have adopted PDF technology to format and electronically deliver transcripts.  Credentials eScrip-Safe provides the largest trusted network of senders and receivers serving Higher Ed. Delivery through our network is completely secure, with no opportunity for the delivered transcript to be fraudulently altered. PDF documents may also be securely delivered to recipients outside of the trusted network. Credentials eScrip-Safe uses multiple technologies that ensure the received transcript is authentic and unaltered. The electronic delivery of PDF documents is secure, fast and trackable.

Through the dedicated efforts of professional organizations and standard setting bodies, there are established international transcript standards for both EDI and XML. While these two data technologies have different characteristics, they both give the receiving institution the ability to accept the transcript content as data and thereby eliminate manual processing. Course detail can be uploaded into the applicant’s record and immediately processed through external course articulation tables to determine course equivalency and acceptance. Credentials eScrip-Safe supports multiple national transcript exchange networks and also provides direct delivery through our trusted network. 

Transcript senders and receivers each have their own needs, requirements and challenges.  Credentials eScrip-Safe provides an array of products and services to securely initiate, package and deliver transcripts using paper and PDF, EDI and XML formats. Signing, sealing and delivering have never been easier.

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