When electronic signatures are compared with traditional signatures, a common concern that comes up is the security of online signatures. The fact is that wet signatures can be very easily forged and even tampered with, but the e-signatures online have multiple layers of security and authentication along with the court admissible transaction proof.
Hence, it can be easily said that electronic signatures are completely safe and in this blog, we will cover why we say so.
What are Electronic Signatures?
Similar to the inked signature, signing documents on the internet is a way of signing the documents, except for the fact that the e-signatures are pretty multi-dimensional. There are multiple ways in which this can be achieved.
You can use a good electronic signature in word tool that enables you to sign the documents on a digital document. The presence of such a signature on a document might not give it legal status based on various factors that you might read later in the guide.
Working of Electronic Signatures:
The signing process differs based on the online signature provider that you work with. However, the underlying workflows of more robust solutions are pretty similar. The person who is sending the document can upload it, tag all the sections that require initials, select the methods of signer authentication, and send the file via the service of a designated recipient email.
Once the receiver gets an email notification, it is time to review and see the document. You can verify your identity before signing the document, read the disclosure documents while agreeing to the use of the electronic process, review the documents and complete any unnecessary fields, adopt the signature style that you wish to use, and sign the document.
Once all of the recipients have signed the document successfully, they get notified and the document is stored electronically where it can be viewed and downloaded. This entire process is carried out very safely and with in-built security features that the electronic signature providers follow.
Electronic Audit Trail
As opposed to traditional signatures, electronic signatures also come with an electronic record that serves as an audit trail and proof of the transaction. This trail includes the history of actions taken on the document including the details of when this document was opened, viewed, and even signed.
Based on the provider and the fact if the signer has agreed to allow access to a location, the record can show the geolocation where the document was signed. In case any one of the signers disputes the online signature or even if a question arises about the transaction then the audit trail is always available. All the participants can check the audit trail and resolve any kind of objections.
In addition, there are certificates of completion to support the authenticity. A detailed certificate of completion can include specific details about each signer on the document including the consumer disclosure which indicates the signer’s agreement to use e-signature, the signature image, timestamps, and the signer’s IP address.
Right after the signing process gets completed, the documents can be sealed with a Public Key Infrastructure. This is a technology that indicates that the electronic signatures are completely valid and that the document has not tampered with ever since the date of signing.
Electronic Signatures are Legally Compliant:
In the year 2000, the U.S. government passed an act called ESIGN which was meant to simplify the adoption of electronic signatures. This act ushered in an entirely new era of document streamlining in the US locations where federal law is applicable.
According to this act, an electronic signature is known as an electronic sound, process, or symbol that is either attached to or logically associated with a contract or another record. The e-signature must be executed or adopted by a person with a clear intent to sign the record.
The ESIGN Act makes sure that electronic signatures can be used in a court of law as tangible evidence. They are legally viable options such as traditional signatures. In addition, the effect, validity, and enforceability of electronic documents are not denied. Even after the passing of this law, so many businesses do not understand the legality of electronic signatures. Many people who are doing their business wonder if they can ensure that electronically signed documents can be held up in a court of law.
In addition, the ESIGN Act is not the only enforceable regulation. Other than the ESIGN Act, the UETA or the Uniform Law Commission Act drafted in 1999 offers a legal framework for the use of electronic signatures per state. The UETA Act helps in outlining the legalities of e-signatures relating to almost everything from transferrable records to automated transactions and the retention of records.
The UETA has been officially adopted in many US states and the ones that haven’t adopted this act, have their own e-signature validating regulations. Both the ESIGN Act and the UETA grant electronic signatures the status of conventional or wet ink signatures in the United States.
Both of these acts establish any law with a signature requirement that can be satisfied with the help of an electronic signature. They also help electronically executed agreements to be presented as evidence in court. In addition, they also prevent denial of enforceability or validity of an electronically signed document only because it is in electronic form.
Choosing the Right E-Signature Provider:
While implementing the online signatures use, one must keep in mind that the level of e-signature security differs with the provider. Hence, it is important to choose an online signature platform that can offer great security and protection in each area of business.
The security measures should have physical security, platform security, and security certifications as well. This will ensure that all the online signatures that you do and request are carried out in a completely safe environment.
You must always remember that an effective electronic signature solution not only allows you to create a document and manage it effectively but it also enables to ensure easy management and quick processing of documents.
It will offer many searching tools while helping in finding old contracts. There is also a dashboard where you can find all the old contracts and sort them into pending, sent, or active contracts. In case you are looking to streamline your business in a remarkably safe manner then an e-signature solution is right for you. It will ensure that put your signatures on the internet in a safe and legally compliant manner.