An electronic signature or e-signature can be as simple as typing your name. But, quite understandably, this may not be legally enforceable as it does not ensure security and integrity of the undersigned document. Hence, to make it legally acceptable, an electronic signature, just like a handwritten signature has to be unique to the person and nobody should be able to forge it. Thanks to the advancement in technology, using several electronic security measures, the authenticity of the signature can be achieved.
Why do you need an Electronic Signature?
Discussed here are the many benefits associated with using an electronic signature –
1) Go Green – You avoid printing papers, which is good for the environment.
2) Cuts down Operating costs and Expedites business processes – Communication become much faster as instead of sending documents by post or courier, you can e-mail them by signing electronically. Contracts can be executed much faster as concerned parties no matter how far they are located geographically, can sign the document electronically in a little amount of time. You save significant money on paper, photocopying, scanning, courier and printing.
3) Legally Binding – Electronic signature when implemented using due security measures have legal validity. The E-signature law mandates that for the purpose of evidence, electronic signatures should be treated no differently from hand written signature.
4) Easier to Handle Large Volumes– Quite often there would be millions of documents that may need to be signed and in such cases an electronic signature makes the task much simpler and faster.
5) Saves Costly Real Estate Space – You may be able to securely preserve documents on the computer, without having to create a physical file, thus saving your real estate space,
6) Ensures security and authenticity in online transactions – With a growing importance of e-procurement, e-tendering, and e-taxes, you may need to submit several documents online. A digital signature ensures that the documents submitted are authentic.
Are Electronic and Digital Signatures the Same?
A digital signature is a type of electronic signature, which ensures highest security and is also more acceptable. Digital signatures guarantee the signer’s identity, his intent and since they cannot be copied or tampered with, the integrity of the document is well assured.
An electronic signature is therefore a broad term that encompasses all forms of signatures which are not handwritten, and a user can have a proprietary way of signing documents electronically. This could either be as simple as a scanned copy of your handwritten signature or a voice stamp or even a proprietary symbol created electronically. The security of an electronic signature that is not digital, is considered to be low and also may not be legally binding.
How to Select the Right Solution for your Electronic Signature Needs?
1. Versatility – An end user of a digital certificate may have to work on different browsers while they submit documents, hence it is important that the digital signature solution works on multiple platforms and also has multi-lingual capability. The electronic signature solution should also allow users to sign a document in any format, whether it is a PDF or Microsoft Word or XML.
2. High performance and scalability – A person may be required to sign millions of documents in an automated manner and in such a scenario the digital signature solution should be effective and working.
3. Should offer high security- A solution that is based on Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology, guarantees document integrity and legal compliance.
4. Multiple signatures – Not all solutions would allow multiple signatures on the same document, so ensure this before you buy one for your need.
5. Verifiable in the long term – Even if you migrated to an upgraded solution for digital signature, it should be possible in the future for you to trace or verify the ownership and authenticity of the signature on a document that was done using an older version of the solution.
With a little change in your hardware of software, you can adopt implement e-signatures in your business processes. E-signatures not only save you time and money but also help you contribute towards a greener environment. To implement electronic signature in your business, talk to your IT Services vendor today.
Author Bio : Mrunal Khatri works with Signder, a cutting-edge mobile sales documentation solution. Signder combines different features and functionalities of digital signature, electronic signature, workflow management software, mobile sales, POS system and document management solution to smoothly resolve the problem of online documentation.