What is it?

The preservation of IT documents is a process which, based on certified regulations, procedures and technologies, allows documents to be stored in digital format, guaranteeing their authenticity, integrity, reliability, legibility and availability.

Storing digitally therefore, means carrying out operations which, respecting specific rules, allows to keep the value of a document unchanged over time, blocking it in its form, its content and its uniqueness.

In Italy, digital preservation is governed by the Digital Administration Code and by specific secondary legislations.It is mandatory for some types of documents and strongly recommended for native digital documents.

Often the process of “electronic archiving” is confused with that of “digital preservation” however, there is a substantial difference between the two processes:

  • Electronic archiving is a process that allows the storage of a document on a digital medium (in fact it is a process similar to paper archiving with the only difference that a different medium is used)
  • Digital preservation through a process that uses IT tools, ensures authenticity, integrity, reliability, legibility and the availability of a document. Therefore it is not limited to the “simple” archiving of electronic documents but ensures that it is legally valid and legible over time.

The eWitness digital preservation service

Our Storage System fully adheres to the conceptual model defined by current legislation, ensuring the usability of digital objects stored for the entire period prescribed by law, regardless of the evolution of the technological context.

We are certified 27001: 2013 and we offer digital preservation services by outsourcing both Public Administration and private individuals.

The main difference of the eWitness Preservation System is the presence of a Notary as a Public Official who holds the role of Head of the Preservation Service and who guarantees, in addition to the characteristics of authenticity, integrity, reliability, legibility and availability, the following advantages:

  • opposability to third parties until proven otherwise
  • date validity
  • certainty of valid operations in the Preservation System

In addition to documents, the Storage System also receives a series of metadata that allow the documents themselves to be indexed and subsequently found in the System, in order to ensure their full availability over time.

Digital documents, whether they are digital natives or obtained following a dematerialisation process, are transferred into the eWitness digital storage system via a secure channel made available by eWitness.

It is important to emphasise that the eWitness digital storage system remains external to the customer’s IT system, thus reducing the technological and organisational impact.

The eWitness Preservation System generates evidence of the operations carried out on the documents deposited in the System itself.

The evidence is represented by a storage receipt which is digitally signed and contains in particular the HASH code of the document, which is an alphanumeric code that uniquely identifies the content of the document itself.

The storage receipt is generated and made available for the Customer in PDF or XML format.

A temporary stamp is attached, in detached mode, to the retention receipt generated in XML format.

The Storage System also generates daily logs, i.e. the index of Payment Packages (POs), which highlight all the operations carried out by the System on paid documents.

The Notary, as Head of the Preservation Service, signs the daily logs by attaching his digital signature and a temporary stamp, thus freezing all operations regarding payment of documents in the Preservation System, certifying their existence and their date.

Upon completion of the storage process, the Archiving Package (PdA) will be prepared in compliance with UNI 11386 SinCRO (Support for Interoperability in the Preservation and Recovery of Digital Objects) in the current version at the time of the completion of the operation.

To find out more, consult our preservation manual.

The eWitness solution for the digital preservation service

The technology made available by eWitness allows documents and / or data to be deposited into the Storage System through the use of one of the following communication channels:

  • FTP via VPN
  • Rest API via HTTPS

These communication channels allow to establish a secure connection within an encrypted connection, using asymmetric encryption (SSL / TLS), providing key requirements:

  • authentication
  • privacy protection (confidentiality)
  • integrity of the data exchanged between communicating parties

The transmission on the Web Service channel, made available by eWitness, is based on HTTPS protocol and occurs via API (Application Programming Interface) REST, which is a set of resources, that allow integration with the eWitness Storage System in response to business needs.

In particular, they make it possible for:

  • the transmission of documents and / or data into the eWitness Storage System
  • the association of related metadata
  • the recovery of preservation receipts

Authentication on the HTTPS communication channel is managed through an SSL certificate issued by eWitness, approved by the customer and signed by an acknowledged Certification Authority.

Solutions that take advantage of the eWitness digital preservation system

The eWitness digital preservation system is the base of all digital trust services offered by eWitness and can be used both natively, to achieve long-term digital preservation, as well as, in addition to other services.

Here is a list of services that can use digital preservation.

Proxy management in digital format

Platform that allows the digitization of a production process and the signing of proxies by all interested parties.

Dematerialization with notarial certification

Switching to digital management of document flow, offering the same guarantees of authenticity and security as paper while maintaining legal and evidential value unaltered.

Notarial extracts from digital documents

Solution that allows companies that carry out digital preservation corporate and accounting records to prepare notarial extracts to be used in any situation including those of litigation with full evidential effectiveness

Digital storage of company records

Solution that gives full legal and evidential value to corporate books (compulsory or not) kept in digital format, with a more efficient management in all security aspects in comparison to paper management.

PEC / certified mail archiving

Integration with Pec Organizer, a leading solution that certifies the path of messages within an organisation. PECs / emails are stored in the eWitness System.

Escrow source code and graphometric keys

Fiduciary deposit service of digital objects with significant economic or strategic value, by a Depositor in his own interest and in the interest of a Beneficiary with a third-party Super Partes Trustee (Depositary, Notary).

Web Freeze

Service of capturing and freezing web content and generation of a copy of the same with a certificate of conformity made by a Public Official containing the references of the date and time in which the freezing took place.


Which documents can be kept in accordance with the law?

The ever-increasing amount of IT documents produced, with the need to give them the correct legal and fiscal value, over the years, has given rise to progressive updating of Italian regulations regarding digital preservation.

Below is an example (non-exhaustive) list of documents that can be kept digitally:

  • Non-electronic invoices
  • DDT – Transport Documents
  • Tax receipts
  • Financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, explanatory notes, management report, report of the statutory auditors and reviewers)
  • Fiscal declaration
  • Payment forms (e.g. models F23 and F24)
  • Accounting records(e.i: general journal, VAT registers, ledgers, inventory book, etc.)
  • Single Labor Book (LUL)
  • CUD
  • Offers
  • Contracts
  • Correspondence
  • Corporate books
  • Health documents
  • Protocolled documents produced by Public Administrations or by companies subject to mandatory computer registration
  • Payment and reversal mandates

For some types of documents, digital preservation is directly provided for by corresponding legislation.

Below is an exemplary (non-exhaustive) list of documents for which the law foresees digital preservation:

  • PEC – Certified electronic mail messages, receipts and correspondence
  • Electronic invoices for the Public Administration (PA)
  • Electronic invoices
  • LUL
  • Corporate Books and Accounting Records