In today's fast-paced business world, everything has been digitized. From the way we communicate to the way we do business, everything is now done online. This digitization has ushered in newer and smarter ways of doing things, including the way we sign documents. E-signatures have revolutionized the way businesses sign and process documents, making it easier and more efficient to handle tasks that would typically take days or even weeks to complete. In this ultimate guide, we will explore everything there is to know about E-signatures.
What is an E-signature?
An electronic signature (E-signature) is a digital representation of an individual's handwritten signature. It can take many different forms, such as a digitized handwritten signature made using a stylus or a signature created by typing an individual's name, followed by an image of their handwritten signature. E-signatures are becoming increasingly popular as they allow individuals to sign documents remotely from anywhere, at any time, without having to be physically present.
How do E-signatures work?
When you sign a document digitally, an electronic signature software will record your signature using a unique encryption key. When the document is sent electronically, the signature can be verified using the encryption key to ensure that the signature is authentic.
There are several types of E-signatures. The three most common types of E-signatures are:
1. Basic Electronic Signature
This type of signature is the simplest form of an E-signature. It involves using a computer-generated image of a signature, which is placed onto the document. This type of signature is not very secure, and it does not provide any form of authentication.
2. Advanced Electronic Signature
An advanced electronic signature provides more security than the basic E-signature. It includes additional verification measures such as biometric data (fingerprint or retina scan), a secure PIN, or a digital certificate.
3. Qualified Electronic Signature
A qualified electronic signature is the most secure type of E-signature. It includes security measures such as biometric data, a secure PIN, and a digital certificate, which are issued by a trusted third party. A qualified electronic signature provides the highest level of legal validity.
Benefits of E-signatures
There are numerous benefits of using E-signatures, some of which include:
E-signatures eliminate the need for printing, signing, scanning, and resending documents, saving time and increasing efficiency.
E-signatures remove the need for paper-based documents, ink, and printing, which can be expensive. This results in a significant cost saving for businesses.
3. Remote accessibility
E-signatures can be signed from anywhere, at any time, making it easier for businesses to handle tasks remotely.
4. Increased security
E-signatures are secure and ensure that the signature is authentic and cannot be tampered with.
5. Environmental benefits
E-signatures reduce the need for paper-based documents, which ultimately leads to less waste and a reduced carbon footprint.
Legal Validity of E-signatures
E-signatures have legal validity, and in most countries, the law recognizes E-signatures as legally binding. However, it is essential to ensure that the E-signature that you use meets the legal requirements of your location.
In the United States, the ESIGN Act, passed in 2000, makes electronic signatures legally binding. This law ensures that electronic signatures are legally enforceable, just like traditional handwritten signatures.
In the European Union, the EU Regulation No 910/2014, known as eIDAS, defines and regulates electronic identification and trust services. This regulation ensures that electronic signatures are legally valid and enforceable.
Choosing the Right E-signature Solution
When choosing an E-signature solution, it is essential to consider the following factors:
Security is an essential factor to consider when selecting an E-signature solution. It is essential to ensure that the E-signature solution offers a high level of security measures to guarantee that the signature cannot be tampered with.
2. Ease of use
The E-signature solution should be easy to use, with an easy-to-understand user interface that is user-friendly.
It is vital to consider the cost of the E-signature solution, and that the pricing model is transparent.
It is important to check if the E-signature solution can integrate with other software that you may already be using in your business.
E-signatures have revolutionized the way businesses sign and process documents. They provide more convenience, speed, and security, making them the preferred choice for signing documents. E-signatures are legally valid, and the law recognizes them as equivalent to handwritten signatures. When choosing an E-signature solution, it is essential to consider various factors such as security, ease of use, pricing, and integrations. With the right E-signature solution, businesses can save time, money, increase efficiency and streamline their document workflow.
Check out HelpRange
Check out our product HelpRange. It is designed to securely store (GDPR compliant), share, protect,
sell, e-sign and analyze usage of your documents.