The Internet has changed everything about how people do business, including how they sign contracts and other documents. The technology behind electronic signatures is no longer in its infancy, as it has been around for a while, but many consumers and business professionals have been slow to embrace it. The good news is that, as long as they work with reputable companies, digital signing is actually quite safe. Those who are still on the fence about whether to embrace this trend can read on to find out about five things everyone needs to know about electronic signatures.
1. Digital Signatures Offer a Lot of Legal Evidence
Some business professionals worry about whether an electronic signature will hold up in court. In fact, digital signatures usually offer more legal evidence than a person’s actual signature on a physical document. Just be sure to find a digital signature service that follows the American Bar Association (ABA) guidelines for choosing a vendor. These include:the ability to prove a signer’s identity the use of disclosures and documentation of informed consent creating tamper-proof documents providing access to the document for all signers maintaining comprehensive audit trails.
2. Signers Must Prove Their Identities
In order for a digital signature to be valid, signers must prove their identities. This removes any question about issues like fraud. Vendors can take a few steps to authenticate signers’ identities, including requesting and confirming social security numbers and birth dates, sending secret authentication codes to verified cell phone numbers, or requiring signers to answer personal questions based on information derived from public databases. Requiring identity authentication adds extra legal protection to all parties signing the document, so it’s important to work with a vendor that takes at least one of the steps above to avoid fraud.
3. Digital Signature Vendors Take Security Extremely Seriously
There’s no way to create a 100% hack-proof system, but reputable digital security vendors take every possible precaution against data breaches and other intrusions. In addition to using identity authentication to prevent fraud, providers also encrypt documents both at rest and in transit and have intrusion detection systems built in to ensure that any potential vulnerabilities can be identified and addressed before they lead to problems.
4. When Companies Use Digital Signatures, Everyone Benefits
Digital signatures benefit both companies and clients. They save time, allow for the remote signing of documents, and have a much faster turnaround time than traditional paper documents. Since vendors keep audit trails, they also provide more extensive legal protections for all signers.
Industry-leading digital signature vendors often offer additional services that allow them to make unique value propositions. Some offer document templates, while others feature built-in admin features that make it easier for companies to keep track of everything. It’s worth the time to find a secure, reliable, and comprehensive provider.
5. Audit Trails Can Be Used as Evidence in Court
Concerned about worst-case scenarios? Extensive audit trails provide proof that all signers did, in fact, officially sign the document. When they work with reputable vendors, companies can use this evidence in court.
The Bottom Line
Digital signatures provide a level of convenience that goes far beyond that of traditional paper signatures. Business professionals and clients alike will love how easy it is to create documents, authenticate signatures, and more.