Over two years ago, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and adhere to public health and safety guidelines, many businesses had to hastily transition to remote and online work. Digital and automation technology was growing prior to the pandemic, but the sudden shift to remote working arrangements supercharged it. Since then, adoption of digital and automation technology has only progressed, with one McKinsey study showing a leap equivalent to several years of development.
Electronic signatures may not have started with the pandemic, but their use was certainly supercharged by it. While the necessities of the pandemic have led many to incorporate digital and electronic signature options, many businesses and individuals still rely on physical signatures.
Why use electronic signatures?
Electronic signature platforms give you better visibility and transparency to online interactions and develops trust between customers, business partners, and vendors. These tools can also help significantly speed up processes, as documents are submitted, signed, and returned nearly instantaneously across even vast distances. You can use your electronic devices to access files quickly, read through, and authenticate them instantly, eliminating any need to print, mail, and scan documents.
If you’re still on the fence about using e-signatures for your important business documents and approvals processes, let’s go through some of the most common concerns regarding e-signatures so you can start taking advantage of all the benefits they offer.
One of the main concerns preventing people from adopting electronic signatures is compliance. There are regional and international electronic signature laws in place, as well as rules and regulations regarding presenting documents, disclosures, and other information. It’s important for organizations to remain in compliance with all of them. Luckily, competent electronic signature service providers take all of this into consideration, and stay up to date with the necessary credentials and certifications to ensure that your signatures are compliant.
The laws and regulations regarding e-signatures vary across countries and industries. For example, electronic signatures have been given the same legal status as handwritten signatures under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) in the United States. In the U.K., e-signatures are legally binding under U.K. eIDAS regulations, shorthand for 'electronic identification and trust services’. In India, the IT Act 2000 grants electronic signatures a legal status whereas in the Philippines, e-signatures are allowed under the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000.
E-signatures service providers should make it clear which laws and regulations they adhere to in each locality where they operate.
Fear of forgery or fraud
New technologies always invariably come with new risks and dangers, which is a major reason some people wait to fully adopt them. Security concerning signatures is of particular importance.
The truth is, most e-signature solutions are secure, as they are backed by digital signature technology that encrypts and protects your online paperwork through a slew of systems like audit trails, PKI technology, etc. This ensures that document processes are 100% encrypted and sealed against tampering or forgery. They are based on asymmetric cryptography, generated through a public key algorithm with two unique keys - a private key that is unique to a signatory, and a public key, which is available to everyone and used for decrypting the online signature. When users want to sign a document, their private, unique, non-transferable key is used, ensuring the veracity of the signature to others.
When selecting an e-signature solution for your business, it’s always a good idea to check that the compliance and certifications of the software are up to date and meet your standards.
Risk of unauthorized signing
Today, many electronic signature platforms come equipped with multiple layers of security to prevent compromising sensitive information. For instance, you can adopt an extra anti-fraud element such as multi-factor authentication protocols.
E-signature platforms not only allow users to sign a document, but also enable detection of changes made to the document’s contents, ensuring legitimacy. This equips you to make decisions faster, have more control, and better visibility into your document and approvals processes, allowing you to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. You should spend some time comparing various e-signature platforms out there to make sure you find a suitable match for your requirements.
Exela’s DrySign is a legally compliant and secure digital signature platform that helps you digitize the internal and external sign-off process while offering a wide array of features that make for a smooth online signing experience. It works on all internet-connected devices and operating systems, allows for multiple signatories to review a document simultaneously, improves workflow efficiency, is environmentally friendly, and reduces costs related to printing, shipping, and storing documents.