In today’s business world, technology is making everything easier, more efficient, and less expensive. By cutting fax machines and old-fashioned postal mailings out of the cost of doing business, a small business is able to do much of its work virtually. However, one large obstacle still stands in the way of businesses completely automating much of its work: the need for signatures. While many businesses have heard of electronic signatures, many questions still remain. Is a digital signature truly legal? Will it hold up in court? And are cloud-based digital signatures secure? What choices do I have for e-signing documents?
Sites like e-SignLive™ are helping make small businesses more comfortable with the notion of electronic signatures. Trusted by the U.S. Army for its electronic signatures as well as many major banks, e-SignLive™ provides users instant access to signatures from anywhere, thanks to its Cloud-based solution. You’ll even be able to access your signature from your smartphone or tablet PC.
Security is one of the biggest concerns for businesses of all sizes. Once you’ve created your online signature, you’ll want to make sure you’ll be the only one who can access it. Be sure the site requires passwords as well as a secret question and answer authentication, and change your passwords often.
The good news is, many electronic signature sites are well aware of the security concerns your business has and great measures have been taken to address them. Unlike old-fashioned signatures, e-signature sites have digital audit trails of every transaction, allowing you to track all activity on your account. This gives you an added layer of protection, both in security and legally if an issue should arise.
Legally, the 2000 ESIGN act will likely protect your digital signatures in court. ESIGN, short for the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, legalized the validity of digital signatures on contracts and other legal documents. The law says that a contract signed in digital form can not be legally denied simply because it is in digital form. Basically put, ESIGN says your electronic signature is just as valid as a paper signature. While some states have their own laws when it comes to digital signatures, the Federal law governs interstate commerce. No matter your state, however, electronic signatures are becoming much more commonplace.
For some websites, a simple check mark serves as your signature. “I accept these terms” or “By checking here, I certify that…” are examples of the verbiage you might encounter in this type of situation. This is called a “click to sign” e-signature and it is used often. Another form of digital signature is the hand-written signature. Signers can either write the signature in with a stylus, mouse, or finger (on touch-screen devices). In some software, a signer can upload a scanned copy of his or her hand-written signature to always have it on hand when reviewing documents.
With postal mailings becoming more expensive and fax machines becoming obsolete, businesses are looking for new ways to fully automate day-to-day processes. Thanks to cloud solutions, you can address all of your security and legal concerns while saving time and money.