A quick guide on eSignature and legality
eSignatures have been commonplace for many years now, and the advent of COVID-19 has meant that many people have not signed a form with a pen and paper for over a year. The move from traditional ‘wet signatures’ to eSignatures makes sense, as we have moved to an increasingly digital world and the concept of faxing someone a contract to sign seems archaic in 2021. Although eSignatures are used more often than wet signatures, there is still confusion surrounding the specifics of the technology and how they differ from traditional signatures. We have compiled some of the frequently asked questions.
What is an eSignature and are they different to a digital signature?
Electronic signatures are a category of methods for signing a document. This includes Simple Electronic Signature (SES), which is a basic method of signing with weak authentication, often for everyday transactions. Similarly, a digital signature is also an electronic signature, but it complies with strict legal regulations. The act of signing is a recorded transaction and uses a Public Key Infrastructure for a higher level of security. Digital signatures are required for higher-value transactions and the signer must produce a document to confirm their identity. An example of when a digital signature must be used is for a job offer. The technology and compliance of a digital signature is complex, but thankfully there are software solutions that make this much easier.
Are eSignatures legally valid?
eSignatures are legally valid in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the EU. They are both court-admissible and valid for general business use. This includes HR documents, commercial agreements, consumer agreements, certain real estate documents, and certain securitization documents.
Are eSignatures as secure as traditional signatures?
eSignatures are typically more secure than traditional signatures. It is nearly impossible to forge or tamper with a digital signature as it is a recorded transaction using a Public Key Infrastructure. It should be noted that not all eSignature solutions are created equally, and it is important to choose a provider with strong data encryption and security certificates, such as DocuSign.
Why use eSignatures?
Using an eSignature solution provides a host of benefits for both a business and the signer. For a business it increases productivity as it can replace slow, manually intensive contract workflows and reduce the time spent preparing and ending contracts for signatures. It also decreases costs and is better for the environment as it means less paper and negates the need to send documents through the post. For the signer it makes the process of signing much faster and streamlined. It also makes it easier to keep all important documents as they are stored digitally so there is not risk of losing the original document or contract.
Can eSignatures integrate with Microsoft 365?
Not all eSignature solutions integrate with Microsoft 365, however DocuSign integrates with multiple Microsoft applications, as well as over 350 other products. DocuSign has integrations for Teams, Word, Outlook, SharePoint, Dynamics 365, Power Automate, Document Management System platforms and Windows. All of these integrations enhance productivity by allowing signatures from the Microsoft Apps that everyone knows how to use and streamlines the process for customers as they can sign from anywhere on any device.
Should I be using an eSignature solution?
For most businesses, moving from traditional wet signatures to eSignatures will bring many benefits and support their digital transformation. Many business processes are already completely digital and moving to an eSignature solution saves both time and money whist improving governance and compliance.
Want to find out more?
For a simple concept, there are many options for eSignatures, and they can be used in nearly every industry for different use cases. If you want to find out more on how your business could benefit from moving to an eSignature solution, contact us today: firstname.lastname@example.org