Electronic signatures have been adopted by businesses large and small from a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, real estate, sales, legal services, engineers, information technology, and governments. Recent social distancing measures due to COVID-19 has spurred even more companies to incorporate e-signatures into their processes. However, people not familiar with electronic signatures may be concerned about signing documents over the internet. But electronic signatures are just as legally binding and even more secure than a traditional wet signature.
Are electronic signatures legal?
Electronic signatures are indeed legally binding. E-signatures are allowed in all 50 states and recognized all over the world as being a safe and secure method of signing documents. In 2000, the U.S. ESIGN and UETA Acts made e-signatures lawful, and similar laws have been enacted across the globe.
E-signature service providers must comply with laws guaranteeing the validity of signatures captured with their application. Digital signatures are more secure and have many more layers of protection against forgery and tampering than a traditional wet signature.
How do e-signatures work?
Digitally signed documents allow users to sign contracts and other legally binding documents from anywhere in the world. Using an e-signature creates an electronic record that shows every step the electronic document has taken, including who opened the file and when it was signed. The document also can be tracked using geolocation, making it possible to validate where the signee was in case of disputes.
While the terms “digital signature” and “e-signature” often are used interchangeably, a digital signature is a specific type of electronic signature that includes additional encryption and security capabilities.
Is using an electronic signature secure?
Security is one of the key benefits of using electronic signatures. Multiple security features are in place to ensure the validity of the signed documents. Documents signed online are required to meet security standards, such as ISO 27001, SOC 2 Type 2 and PCI DS. They also meet privacy regulations such as HIPPA, FERPA, and GLBA in the U.S. In addition, documents can be digitally sealed using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to ensure that no tampering takes place. While all these acronyms may seem confusing, the important thing for consumers is to know that there are laws and standards in place to protect them when using electronic signatures.
A variety of other multi-factor security methods can also be used to provide additional validation of the identity of the signee, including:
- Email address validation
- Providing special access codes
- Verification through a phone call or text message
- Answering of security questions
- Scanning identification cards to prove identity
When planning to sign documents using an electronic signature, the most crucial aspect is to ensure the service selected is reputable and has implemented the required security measures.
Electronic signatures are safe and secure, and can’t be intercepted or forged.
Simply put, e-signatures are very secure
Even though this technology is new to some, the most important thing to know is that it is safe to use an electronic signature as long as you are working with a reputable e-signature solution. The service provider should be upfront about their security measures and transparent about the type of encryption they use. Ensure that the company is compliant with the ESIGN and UETA acts before you use them to transmit your electronic signature.
You can confidently sign any documents online knowing that this is a safe, secure, and legal way to do business.