Are you looking to ditch your pen in favor of electronic signature technology? The days of the pen being mightier than the sword are over now that pretty much everything can be completed online. This includes signing your name on important documents.
It’s natural to have concerns about electronic signatures. It might feel similar to the worries that you had about online shopping and internet banking. However, as long as you’re using a trusted provider, you shouldn’t have any fears about using this technology.
But what if you want to read all of the fine print and learn more about electronic signatures? Then take a look at these key points before you dot your I’s and cross your T’s.
1. What Is an Electronic Signature?
There is a legal definition for an electronic signature that comes from the Federal Esign Act of 2000. In short, it refers to a process, symbol, or electronic sound that gets associated with a record or contract that a person intended to sign. It’s important to know that the definition does differ in other countries.
Just like with a physical signature, an online document signature completes the same function. The key difference is that your electronic signature adds some extra security to protect you.
2. What Are the Various Types of Electronic Signature?
There are three different types of electronic signatures that are currently available. The most basic electronic signature works similar to a username and password and identifies you as a signer.
The advanced electronic signature is more specific to you. It not only identifies that you have signed the document, but it can also recognize any changes to the way you sign your name.
The legal equivalent to your handwritten signature is referred to as a recognized electronic signature. It can only be issued by a Certification Authority. This ensures that you’re signing on a secure device.
3. What Is an Electronic Signature Used For?
Electronic signatures are commonly used in both the corporate world and also for personal use. Anything that requires a physical signature can be replaced with an electronic.
The most common uses that exist today include the following:
- Purchasing contracts
- Hiring new staff
- Tax documents
- School forms
- Permission slips
- Sales proposals
- Leases and rental agreements
Choosing to use an electronic signature can speed up processes as it doesn’t rely on you visiting a physical site to sign something. It’s also better for the environment.
4. What Are the Advantages of Using Electronic Signatures?
In addition to being a great green initiative, there are many other advantages to using electronic signatures over physical ones. Especially if you work in a company that utilizes a lot of paper to do business.
Some of the other benefits of making the switch include the following:
- Increased security and integrity of documents when using recognized electronic signatures
- Greater confidentiality as documents can get locked down so only authorized parties can access them
- Cost savings on paper, pens, and other office expenses
- Decreases process times as documents can get emailed instead of posted
- Reduction in storage as physical copies don’t need filing
There are several other advantages to using electronic signatures. Most of these benefits make them much more secure and safe compared to the physical alternative.
5. How to Sign Documents Online
Currently, there are two common ways to create an electronic signature to sign documents online. The first is using software such as Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word to scribble one out. This is known as self-signing and is not the most secure electronic signature.
Most organizations prefer to use an eSignature solution as they have the required certifications needed to authenticate a person’s signature. Programs like ApproveMe’s signature tool are immediately ready to use and have the necessary compliance protections built-in. These offerings make it a lot easier to implement electronic signatures rather than attempting to self-sign in a Word document.
6. How Secure Are Electronic Signatures?
When choosing to use an eSignature solution, the level of security is high to ensure that it’s safe and compliant with the necessary rules and regulations. Often, this involves your own private key, a secure certificate, and a password to guarantee that the electronic signature belongs to the right person.
If you are signing any online documents, it’s important to ask what security measures are used for your signature. If they’re using a software solution, then you can expect it to contain the necessary measures to ensure that everything is safe.
7. Can You Forge an Electronic Signature?
It isn’t easy to forge an electronic signature. The software used to enter it will recognize the slightest difference and deny the request if it’s not verified.
The addition of a security certificate and password provide extra measures to ensure that it can’t be falsified. Before signing your name, you can ask what levels of security the company uses to protect your signature.
Are You Trying to Stay up to Date With Technology?
It won’t be long before electronic signatures become commonplace in offices and when doing business with a company. Thankfully it’s easy to get started, and choosing to use an eSignature solution makes sure that everything is safe, secure, and compliant with the appropriate legislation.
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