It is believed that ‘wet’ signatures date back thousands of years. Stamps, marks, signs, and seals are examples of these. But in today’s digital age, electronic signatures are becoming commonplace as more and more legal documents, from government filings to company contracts, are completed digitally.
What Are Electronic Signatures?
Simply put, an electronic signature is an electronic version of a handwritten signature. It functions similarly to standard or wet signatures in that it lets signatories show their approval or agreement with the provisions of a document. Computers are used in the process of creating an online signature, verifying the identity of the signatory and the authenticity of the document,
Documents like mortgage and legal agreements can now be signed online with relative ease. Electronic signatures have made it possible to sign complex transaction documents like leases, insurance policies, bank account opening forms, eCommerce documents, and employment offers with the click of a button.
Electronic Signatures Vs. Digital Signatures
While electronic and digital signatures are useful, they serve entirely different purposes. The signer’s signature is irrefutably represented by the electronic signature. The digital signature acts as a digital lock, protecting the document and any sensitive information contained in it.
An electronic signature’s authenticity can be verified with the use of a digital signature, which records the signing event’s time, date, and even the signing computer’s IP address. It will also keep track of the document’s history, including any revisions made after the initial signing.
What Are The Benefits Of Electronic Signatures?
Compared to their ink-based signatures, electronic signatures are far more convenient. The other advantages of using e-signatures are as follows:
- Legal Validity. They’re legally binding, meaning they can be enforced and followed in most countries.
- Efficiency. They’re remarkably efficient, as they facilitate transactions and other processes at a rapid speed.
- Cost Savings. They save money in the long run because ink, paper, and shipping are no longer required.
- Space Efficiency. The filing cabinet is usually stuffed with file folders and other paperwork. Electronic signature software is a game-changer because it allows for central storage of all documents that can be protected against disasters like fire and flood.
- Security. The authenticity of the signature is verified by technological means.
Are Electronic Signatures Secure?
Electronic signatures are reliable and secure for all types of transactions. Nonetheless, people still ask: Can e-signatures be copied or forged, and how safe are they? This is a prevalent concern among many people, such as entrepreneurs, investors, and mortgage lenders.
The use of electronic signatures can relieve unnecessary stress and anxiety. Compared to handwritten signatures, electronic ones are more difficult to falsify. Because an e-signature is tied to the person who signed it, it prevents fraudulent documents from being passed off as genuine.
Additionally, they include audit reports that may be used in court. Each document has an accompanying audit trail that can be used to verify its authenticity by tracing its changes over time.
How To Use Electronic Signatures
The specifics depend on the electronic signature technology being used. In practice, they’re essentially similar. To get someone else to sign off on something, you may just send them your document, indicate where they need to sign and move on with your business.
As the signatory, all you have to do is open the document, sign in the right place, and hit ‘submit.’
Choose The Right Electronic Signature Provider
Since the security of e-signatures differs from provider to provider, it’s essential to choose one with specific protections built into every facet of its operations. These security measures should consist of the following:
- Physical Security. This refers to the protection of hardware and the physical location of systems.
- Platform Security. Data and procedures contained in the systems make up the platform’s security.
- Security Certifications. Certifications and protocols for security help guarantee that the service provider’s staff and partners adhere to data protection standards.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, you should evaluate the e-signature provider based on the processes it uses to detect and prevent data breaches. Learning about the vendor’s security policies, accreditations, history, and audit processes is crucial.
Evaluating a provider’s security policies and procedures might reveal problems like unreliable cloud security expertise and the occurrence of privacy breaches or data loss/leakage.
Electronic signatures will streamline the signing of any papers and ensure their security. They allow you to do administrative tasks more quickly, freeing time to focus on what really matters.
Today, e-signatures are essential for businesses because they allow documents to be authenticated, which promotes security, improves productivity, and decreases overhead.