Wet Signatures vs. eSignatures | Which is more secure?

eSignatures have been around for over two decades, but many businesses have yet to make the switch from paper signatures to electronic ones. One of the main concerns is that eSignatures lack the security necessary to ensure that the document’s contents are kept confidential and the signatures coming back are legally valid. Let’s see if this is true by doing a side-by-side comparison of paper signatures and electronic signatures.

Wet Signatures

Physical or “wet” signatures are the traditional pen-and-paper signatures that are physically applied to a document. For these types of signature, the document to be signed may be sent to the signer via mail or other method to be signed privately. At other times, the document is signed in the presence of one or more other people. Paper signatures are a physical representation of a person’s identity and serve as proof of their consent to and acknowledgement of the contents laid out in the document. More often than not, a paper signature’s validity is based on trust. As the person who requested the signature, you must trust that the person who signed the document is who they say they are. As a signer, you must trust that your signature is not being forged to sign documents without your consent. Since wet signatures don’t come with a report that tells you what happened to a document prior and during signing, there is no way to directly trace the signature back to where and by whom it was signed.

In addition, with wet signatures, if the documents are not scanned and uploaded to the cloud, there is a risk of a natural disaster occurring and destroying the contents. This is another risk that businesses must face if they opt to continue to sign papers using paper.

eSignatures

An eSignature is an electronic piece of data that is created by an individual. The application of this piece of data to a document represents the signer’s identity and consent to and acknowledgement of the contents in the document. It serves the same function as a wet signature. However, since all the signing activity is done in the cloud, eSignature applications can track and observe a signer’s actions during signing. Signority’s eSignature solution tracks the name,  email address, IP address, and time of date of every action performed by the signer during signing. This allows document senders to have a full traceability report for each of the documents they get signed. Compared to wet signatures, this makes verifying a signer much easier, and can save businesses legal headaches down the line. For a signer, as long as you have full ownership over your email address, only you will have access to the documents you should be signing. If someone does try to impersonate you and eSigns a document without your consent, all their activity will be logged through the document’s audit trail. This information can be used to show who really signed the document. Furthermore, the use of SMS 2-factor authentication, and other authentication methods helps ensure the identity of the signer.

In terms of document storage, digitally stored documents are backed up in the cloud, so in case of a disaster, you won’t lose your documents. In addition, almost all eSignature providers have industry best-practice security certifications such as SOC I and SOC II certification and ISO 27001:2013 certification. These certifications verify that the company handles their customer data securely, protecting it from outside attackers, and can effectively recover from incidents that would otherwise lead to loss of data.

Finally, documents signed with eSignatures often come with a digital signature applied to the document by the eSignature provider. This digital signature can act as a type of tamper-proofing mechanism to detect whether or not a document has been tampered with. You can learn more about what digital signatures are here.

With all this information, it’s clear that eSignatures are a good choice for many companies. They provide superior security and traceability for signed documents. Not to mention they also cut down on the time you spend on each document that needs to be signed!

If you want to learn more about eSignatures and how they can benefit your business, download our free eBook titled “Introduction to eSignatures”.

A Brief Introduction to eSignatures | Benefits and the Future (Part 2)

This is the second part in the series, A Brief Introduction to eSignatures. In the first part, we answered the question “What are eSignatures?”. We talked about the legal definition of an eSignature, the components of an eSignature, and the difference between an eSignature and a Digital Signature. If you missed it, check it out here.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll go over the benefits that eSignatures have for businesses, and where the industry is headed.

Benefits of eSignatures

Legally-binding eSignatures have a number of important benefits for businesses:

  1. Easy to use. Signing electronic documents is super simple for all involved. In fact, most eSignature software is intuitive even to complete beginners, which means less time spent learning how to use new software.
  2. Save money. Paper isn’t cheap, especially when you account for purchasing, copying, scanning, and printing costs, among other paper-related expenditures. Needless to say, these costs add up quickly. Moving to a paperless system can reduce expenditures and instantly increase your profit margins.
  3. Save time. Printing, copying, and scanning takes time. Preparing documents for signature takes time. Tracking down (and waiting for) signatures takes even more time. eSignatures can shorten the turnaround time by as much as 90 percent.
  4. Improve accuracy. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for a signed document only to realize the recipient forgot to fill out a required piece of information. eSignature software allows you to specify mandatory fields, which, as you probably guessed, require the recipient to complete all such fields before the document can be signed.
  5. Stay organized. Keeping track of paperwork (regardless of how efficient your filing system may be) is often burdensome. eSignatures create an easily sortable, organized filing system by which you can easily store and retrieve important documents.
  6. Add an extra layer of security. Electronic documents can be protected by a variety of methods, including passcodes, encryption, two-factor authentication, and even biometric authentication methods. These methods instantly make your important documents more secure.
  7. Make things easier for customers and/or vendors. While eSignatures provide some obvious benefits for your own business, they also make things much easier for your customers, partners, suppliers, or other vendors (for many of the same reasons we’ve already covered). Customers prefer eSignature software not only because it is more convenient, but it brings a number of important advantages, including: eliminating unnecessary back-and-forth (saving time), simplifying internal processes, facilitating quicker onboarding, and increasing operational efficiency, among a laundry list of other benefits.

The Future of eSignatures

According to a report from MarketsandMarkets, one of the largest market research firms in the world, the eSignature market is expected to grow from USD $2.8 billion in 2020 to $14.1 billion by 2026. In another five years, the market will quintuple in size. So, what’s driving this incredible growth?
There are three primary factors driving the growth of the eSignature market:

  1. Online business continues to explode: More online business is good for the eSignature market. As more and more businesses move online, more legally-binding documents will be required, in order to govern and accommodate this transition. eSignatures are a necessary part of online business. As one goes, so does the other.
  2. Online security is more important than ever: It should be relatively easy to see the relationships forming here. As more business moves online, there’s more reason to protect that business. More importantly, Digital Signatures make it incredibly easy for business owners to protect their most important documents. Digital Signatures use a combination of public and private keys to encrypt and secure important documents, further reducing the risk of online fraud.
  3. Businesses will always be in the business of making money: And eSignatures can drastically reduce operational costs, thereby increasing profit margins. For example, it costs U.S. businesses nearly $8 billion each year to manage their paper documents. Going paperless brings drastic (and nearly instantaneous) cost benefits. In the end, money talks.

Even still, eSignatures simply make sense for nearly all businesses, regardless of size or industry. It simply makes business easier while saving companies time, money, and unnecessary headaches. When it’s all said and done, it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to see the global eSignature market outperform its five-year projections.

Ready to use eSignatures for your business? Take advantage of Signority’s 14-day free trial!

A Brief Introduction to eSignatures | What are eSignatures? (Part 1)

Making sense of electronic signatures (eSignatures) can be intimidating. In addition, the eSignature industry is still relatively young (less than 25 years old), which means it can often be more difficult to find reliable, easy-to-understand information to address all of the questions a business owner might have.

This blog post is the first in a multi-part, educational series in which we will examine a number of important eSignature-related topics in greater detail, including: eSignature basics, the history of eSignatures, laws governing the use of eSignatures, when to use eSignatures, and how to implement eSignatures in your own business, among other topics.

In Part 1 of this series, we’ll review the basics of eSignatures (components, advantages, etc.).

Understanding eSignatures

As defined by the ESIGN Act (more on this foundational piece of legislation shortly), an eSignature is “any sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

If that definition sounds vague or unclear, don’t worry. That’s sort of the idea; it is, after all, “legal-ese”. In plain English, however, the above definition simply “states” an eSignature as a legal concept. That is, its legal definition simply means that it is possible for an eSignature to carry the same sort of legal “weight” as its pen-and-paper equivalent.

That probably doesn’t make too much sense at this very moment.

So, let’s take a closer look.

First, there is one critically important point you should understand:

In a strictly legal sense, the term “electronic signature” does not refer to an actual signature. Instead, the term refers more broadly to the process requirements (we’ll call them components) that must be met in order for an electronically signed document to be considered legally binding in a court of law.

As far as the law is concerned, a signature is simply one component of an electronically signed document. By itself, it carries no legal authority. In order for an electronic document to stand up in a court of law, all of the components must be present.

The ESIGN Act (again, more on this shortly) explicitly outlines these components in an attempt to standardize, well, the process by which an electronic document must be handled so that it carries full, legal authority.

Let’s take a quick look at the basic components of an eSignature.

Components of eSignatures

As we just reviewed, the signature itself is only one component of a legally-binding electronic document. However, there are four, primary components that you should care about most:

  1. Consent: Basically, any individual who signs an electronic document must explicitly consent to do so in the first place. Should an individual choose not to consent to an electronically signed agreement, a non-electronic option must made available.
  2. Intent: In the simplest terms, this means that the signer clearly understands his or her intent to sign the document, and the process by which the individual signed the document was clear and understood from beginning to end.
  3. Verification: For an electronic document to be considered legally binding it must be signed by the same person whose signature appears on the dotted line. In turn, most eSignature solutions have built-in verification methods.
  4. Auditability: This is the electronic equivalent of a “paper trail,” whereby each party involved in an electronic agreement (or a legal entity, for instance) can, if necessary, easily access each step of the eSignature process at any time. So, we’ve covered the legal definition of eSignatures and reviewed some of the most important components of eSignatures.

Before we go any further, though, we need to make an important distinction.

The Difference Between an eSignature and a Digital Signature

Yes, there is a difference.

In fact, if you Google “eSignature vs. digital Signature” you’ll find nearly two million search results that will tell the same story. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they are not one in the same.

So, what’s the difference then?

Remember the intentionally vague definition we reviewed earlier?

An eSignature is “any sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

Remember that one?

Like we said earlier, that’s because “eSignature” refers to a broad category that encompasses many different types of electronic signatures. As you’ll learn shortly, this definition was created back in 2000, way before eSignatures became a widely popular, legally-binding entity.

This language was intended to be vague from the start.

But, why?

Well, lawmakers wanted to leave themselves some “wiggle room,” understanding that at some point in the future there would be many different methods to electronically sign a document. So, they wrote the law to be intentionally inclusive. What’s a digital signature then?

A digital signature is one of these specific types of eSignature. It has its own set of legal rules, standards, and governances. We won’t go into the specifics right now (but may do so in a later guide in this series). That’s an entire guide in and of itself.

For the purposes of this guide, it’s enough to simply understand that there is, in fact, a difference between the two terms.

Now, let’s take a quick look at how an eSignature works.

How to get Signed Electronically

Illustration of a Signority eSignature workflow

Thankfully, eSignature software like Signority is easy to use—even for the most inexperienced users. In fact, it’s ease of use has been one of the contributing factors to its sky-high adoption rate. Though the exact process may vary depending on software solution, the basic workflow is virtually the same.

Here’s how a basic eSignature works:

  1. A document is uploaded to a website (usually a third-party software).
  2. The document is tagged to pinpoint exactly where a signature is required.
  3. The document is then emailed to the participants who are required to sign.
  4. The signer(s) completes all required fields, then signs the document electronically.
  5. The completed document is then automatically emailed back to the original sender.
  6. The document is automatically stored for safe, secure, and easy access.

Now that you understand the basics of how eSignatures work, stay tuned for the Part 2 of this series where we talk about the benefits and history of eSignatures.

Ready to use eSignatures for your business? Take advantage of Signority’s 14-day free trial!

The Breakdown: eSignature vs. Digital Signature

Overview

An electronic signature is information in electronic form (can be sound, symbol, process, etc.) that is associated or attached to a document. This means that so long as we can demonstrate that the signature is associated with a person and that there was intent to sign, everything is legally binding and accepted (all of this can be seen in Signority’s audit trail).

A digital signature is actually a form of electronic signature that uses an encryption algorithm that helps validate who the signer is. It also ensures that the document cannot be tampered with, as the signature becomes invalid if the document is changed after signing. This helps prevent repudiation by the signer, making it almost impossible to deny having signed the signature. Essentially, these issues are some of the biggest challenges to electronic signatures, and digital signatures are able to help overcome these issues.

Electronic Signatures: An Overview

You may be wondering how electronic signatures even work in the first place? Before we can get to the difference between digital signatures and electronic signatures, let’s discuss what an electronic signature is first.

According to the Canadian Uniform Electronic Commerce Act (UECA), an electronic signature “means information in electronic form that a person has created or adopted in order to sign a document and that is in, attached to, or associated with the document.” The American equivalent is the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA) and the Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN). Their definition is “an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

At the heart of both definitions is the capture of the intention with which a signature is added. What that implies is that the electronic signature doesn’t have to look anything like your handwritten signature when it’s applied. It can be a symbol, a typed text, or even an image or sound. So long as the intention is present, then it is legally accepted and binding. In this sense, if the association with a person is demonstrated and the intent to sign is also demonstrated, the signature will meet the signature requirements stated above. This is done through the audit trail and by authenticating and determining who the signers are and what was signed.

Signority’s e-signature solution is able to capture all of this data through its detailed audit trail with time stamps, multi-factor authentication methods to validate the signer’s identity, and by securely storing the data to prevent tampering.

Digital Signatures: An Overview

We’ve explained what an electronic signature is in the previous section. The digital signature further improves the security and authenticity behind each electronic signature, acting like a digital “fingerprint” for a signer of a specific document.

The biggest challenges with regards to secured signatures have always been:

Is the signer who they say they are?
Is the signature valid and hasn’t been forged?
And has the document been tampered with?

In history, to counteract these challenges, the existence of notaries were introduced and played a key role in assuring authenticity and trust of a document.

Similar problems still exist today for the electronic world. However, digital signatures were created to help serve the purposes of notaries in the past. Certification Authorities (CAs), a trusted third party, now serves as the notary in terms of verifying a signer’s identity. Rather than being present at the time of signing, like a notary would, a CA acts as a trusted third party organization that ensures the security of the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and providing digital certificates for signers, both of which are necessary for a digital signature transaction.

The technology behind secured Digital Signatures

A digital signature is unique to each individual signer. To ensure this, electronic signature solution providers follow a protocol called the PKI. The PKI uses a mathematical algorithm to generate two keys for the signer, a public key and a private key. The two keys together make your digital certificate, which help validate the signer’s identity.

When a document is electronically signed and completed, a unique “fingerprint” of a document (called a hash) is generated by using a mathematical algorithm. This hash is, then, encrypted by the signer’s private key. The encrypted hash and the document certificate issued by a trusted CA are both attached to the digitally signed document, thereby completing the digital signature transaction.

To validate the signer’s identity and verify the signature, the signer’s public key is used to decrypt the document hash. During decryption, a new hash is calculated and matched with the original encrypted hash. If the two are the same, the signer is validated, as the two keys must match and create the same hash.

Benefits of Digital Signature

All of this finally brings us to the question, what’s the point of all of it and how will it benefit my business? As stated at the beginning, an electronic signature captures the intent and also helps prove who the signer was and what was signed in the first place.

The key benefits of digital signature is that it works with the electronic signature rather than replacing it. When you apply the digital signature to a document, the cryptographic operation helps bind the digital certificate and the data being signed into one unique digital “fingerprint”, the uniqueness of the certificate and the data is what makes digital signatures so viable.

As a result, you can be assured of 3 things:
Signer identity is valid – you will know that the signers are who they say they are
Tamper-proofing – you can be ensured that the document hasn’t been tampered with, otherwise the signature would be invalidated
Non-repudiation – the signer cannot deny having signed the signature and is possible to prove in court HSM or Hardware Security Module

For Signority to have digital signatures available for users, it uses a Notarius Hardware Security Module (HSM) to help store and manage the digital keys that are used in the digital signing process. It also acts as the key generator for the digital certificate.

Adobe AATL Certificate Policy requires that digital certificates are stored on FIPS-compliant hardware. HSM is FIPS-compliant, which allows Signority to provide digital signatures.

Ready to use eSignatures and Digital Signatures for your business? Take advantage of Signority’s 14-day free trial!

The 4 Biggest Emerging Insurance Trends and Its Implications

Top 4 Emerging Insurance Trends

Emerging trends, such as driverless cars, P2P insurance and electronic signatures, have disrupted the usually steady world of insurance. But how exactly have these emerging insurance trends affected and changed the industry?

Let’s take a look at some of the emerging insurance trends!

Driverless Cars

Since the emergence of Tesla’s electric cars and the way they took the automotive market by storm, competitors and disruptors, and Tesla themselves, are looking into introducing fully autonomous cars as soon as two years time. Naturally, this changes things significantly for the insurance world. As this market continues to develop, insurers will need to consider potential risks to drivers, passengers and cars, as well as who (or what) is ultimately held responsible.

Driverless Cars Explained

Driverless cars sense their surroundings through integrated circuits and advanced technology, without the help of human input. As such, they provide users with a safer and more convenient means of transportation. Their way of operation includes different levels of autonomy:

  1.     Driver only – self-explanatory
  2.     Driver assistance – automated only for steering, acceleration and braking
  3.     Full autonomy – the car can travel on its own without a human present in the vehicle
  4.     High autonomy – requires human control only periodically during the trip, but are otherwise automated
  5.     Partial autonomy – drivers can interfere only in the event of an emergency

Implications for the Insurance Industry

The whole point of auto insurance is to protect people from human or mechanical error, but what happens when human error is eliminated? The main issues the insurance industry needs to tackle are as follows:

  1. Personal Insurance – Since the drivers essentially become passengers, who will be held accountable in case of an accident? The driver, car manufacturer, or both?
  2. Commercial Insurance – With companies such as Uber or Lyft using driverless cars to take their passengers’ places, how will these vehicles be insured if an accident occurs while on duty?

Driverless cars transitioned quickly from a radical idea to a very real product, with a very fast adoption rate. The insurance industry needs to adapt to these new changes just as quickly.

P2P Insurance

When Lemonade entered the insurance market this past fall, everyone with at least minimal knowledge in insurance knew things were about to change. The implications for the insurance industry were very deep, even though they only operated in New York. Unsurprisingly, requests for expansion into other states were made as soon as it launched. What will this mean for the insurance industry long-term?

P2P Insurance Explained

Peer-to-peer insurance is simpler than it sounds. It’s when a group of people with a mutual cause gather their money in one place, which is then used to pay the claims of any of the members in case of an accident. Usually, companies offering this type of insurance have a backup top-insurer supporting them in case the sum is too big for them to cover. Lemonade uses unpaid claims to support causes close to the heart of the insured. As such, customer trust in their company is bigger, and the tendency to find ways to circumvent the system is considerably lower. Since the company’s profits do not depend on what claims they can and can’t deny you.

Implications for the Insurance Industry

Even though the insurance industry has started to shift, P2P companies have not yet completely and irrevocably disrupted the market. P2P insurance exploits one of the biggest flaws of traditional insurance companies, by inspiring trust and a sense of community with their customers. However, when P2P companies go to traditional insurance companies for help in controversial cases, this newly placed trust in P2P companies will wear off. With that being said, the fact that this new model emerged at all, and has the success it has had so far, existing companies will rethink their stance on insurance going forward.

Drones

As the number of private drone enthusiasts increases and a growing number of commercial drones take flight, so do the risks associated with them. Aside from providing insurance to drones or unmanned vehicles, they hold large potential for changing the insurance game, from fighting fraud to increasing accuracy in risk-management and tailored pricing.
According to Dean Anderson, National Aviation Practice Leader, Wells Fargo Insurance, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that approximately 2.5 million drones/unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will be sold this year, with almost 600,000 used for commercial purposes. The trend leaves a vast unknown in the aviation insurance sector, one that presents excitement, new product development, and a changing underwriting mentality. With widespread US-potential, industries such as industrial inspection, agriculture, real estate, aerial photography, government, and others are investing considerable amounts of money into this emerging industry.”

Drone insurance explained

Drone insurance acts like any other insurance policy. If a drone is damaged in an accident or lost, the loss is covered to an extent by the insurance company. 
There are primarily two types of insurance coverages, UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) insurance provided to the all:  Manufacturer, Owner and Operator Coverage.
And non-owned UAV / UAS Liability Coverage: coverage to companies or individuals that use or hire UAVs that they do not own and that are operated by third parties.
Some of the pre-requisites for these type of insurance are:

  • Buyer or operator’s proof of training
  • Maintenance of drone operational logs
  • Parts or add-ons purchased so far

Implications for the Insurance Industry

Increasing accuracy during catastrophes
During catastrophes, drones can play a critical role in surveying the damage of the insured property. The flexibility of drones allows for immediate surveying and reporting, allowing for a speedy insurance process.
Risk-management
According to PWC’s recent report “Clarity from Above”, drones could be used for instantaneous data collection and risk monitoring. With immediate access and improved quality of data. Insurance companies could easily assess high-risk areas and notify customers of those high-risk areas, ultimately helping them avoid those risks.
Tailored pricing
By often performing hazardous work, drones access and collect critical data sets that effectively allow for insurance companies to provide their customers custom pricing.

eSignatures

Initially frowned upon by lawmakers for its perceived poor cyber security and the consequences of having important legal information stolen, eSignatures are the new norm. The advancement of technology pushed insurers and the laws governing insurance companies to catch up with the times and start using eSignatures as part of their daily work.

eSignatures Explained

Like we mentioned in our previous post “Quick Reference Guide: Electronic Signatures & the ESIGN Act. According to the eSign Act, an eSignature is “any sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” If that definition sounds vague or unclear, don’t worry. That’s sort of the idea; it is, after all, “legal-ese”. In plain English, however, the above definition simply “states” an eSignature as a legal concept. That is, its legal definition simply means that it is possible for an electronic signature to carry the same sort of legal “weight” as its pen-and-paper equivalent.
Let’s take a quick look at the basic components of an electronic signature:
Consent:
Basically, any individual who signs an electronic document must explicitly consent to do so in the first place. Should an individual choose not to consent to an electronically signed agreement, a non-electronic option must be made available.
Intent:
In the simplest terms, this means that the signer clearly understands his or her intent to sign the document, and the process by which the individual signed the document was clear and understood from beginning to end.
Verification:
For an electronic document to be considered legally binding it must be signed by the same person whose signature appears on the dotted line. In turn, most electronic signature solutions have built-in verification methods.
Auditability:
This is the electronic equivalent of a “paper trail,” (popularly know in the electronic signature industry as an ‘Audit Trail’) whereby each party involved in an electronic agreement (or a legal entity, for instance) can if necessary, easily access each step of the electronic signature process. You can read more about the anatomy and importance of an audit trail in our post titled “The Anatomy of an Audit Trail: Electronic Signature Simplified”.
While the most known type of an eSignature is the drawn signature, there are other types as well:

  1. Click to sign – these include tick boxes, e-squiggles, scanned images, and typed names. However, they are not considered as a functioning signature. As such, they are commonly used in addition to other types of eSignatures
  2. eSignatures – These typically involve the signer applying their hand-signature mark on the document, which is then protected with a cryptographic digital signature
  3. Advanced and Qualified eSignatures – AES and QES use unique signing keys for every signer, as such, they provide the highest level of trust and assurance. These unique signing keys directly link the user’s identity to the signed document, so anyone is able to verify the signature using an industry standard PDF reader

Implications for Insurance Industry

eSignatures makes life much easier for insurance brokers. eSignature companies like Signority revolutionize document signing and management by creating seamless digital transactions for your customers. Experts agree eSignatures close sales quicker, are more secure and traceable than paper and can be easily integrated into already existing business processes. You are able to securely maintain legal electronic copies of every document, keeping your documents safe from any harm. Communication is also simplified, so much so that it only takes a few minutes to set up, draft, sign and file any necessary documents… no more long days waiting for documents to arrive by mail! Everything is automated and digitalized and at your disposal. To learn more about the habits of highly effective insurance brokers, click here.
While driverless cars and P2P insurance have both positive and negative effects on the insurance market, eSignatures and drones impact looks to be solely positive. We will see in later years how each one of these trends will change the way insurance works, but for now, we can safely say things are looking up!
Disclaimer:
This post focuses on technology and its impact on the North American insurance sector, specifically. It’s important to point out that Signority is not an insurance company, nor are we the expert authority on the subject. However, we have referenced experts often in this post. It would be equally wise (and perhaps a bit obvious) to point out that the insurance industry is incredibly complex. Admittedly, this post is a brief, simplified look at a complex topic.

Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get a 14-day free trial to a Signority eSignature Plan.

The Benefits of eSignature

the-business-benefits-of-eSignature

Thankfully, most eSignature software (like Signority) are easy to use—even for the most inexperienced users. In fact, it’s ease of use has been one of the contributing factors to its sky-high adoption rate.
Though the exact process may vary depending on the software solution, the basic workflow is virtually the same.
Here’s how a basic eSignature solution works:

  1. A document is uploaded to a website (usually a third-party software)
  2. The document is tagged to pinpoint exactly where a signature is required
  3. The document is then emailed to the participants who are required to sign
  4. The signer(s) completes all required fields, then signs the document electronically
  5. The completed document is then automatically emailed back to the original sender
  6. The document is automatically stored for safe, secure, and easy access

Now that you understand the basics of how eSignatures work, let’s look at some of the benefits of eSignature.

Benefits of eSignature

Legally-binding eSignatures have a number of important benefits for businesses:

  1. Easy to use. Signing an electronic document is super simple for all those involved. In fact, most eSignature software is intuitive even to complete beginners, which means less time spent learning how to use new software.
  2. Save money: Paper isn’t cheap, especially when you account for purchasing, copying, scanning, and printing costs, among other paper-related expenditures. Needless to say, these costs add up quickly. Moving to a paperless system can reduce expenditures and instantly increase your profit margins. You can access our post ”A Paperless Business and 5 Ways You Can Achieve It Now”.
  3. Save time. Printing, copying and scanning take time. Preparing documents for signature takes time. Tracking down (and waiting for) signatures take even more time. eSignatures can shorten the turnaround time by as much as 90 percent.
  4. Improve accuracy. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for a signed document only to realize the recipient forgot to fill out a required piece of information, eSignature software allow you to specify mandatory fields, which, as you probably guessed, require the recipient to complete all such fields before the document can be signed.  
  5. Stay organized. Keeping track of paperwork (regardless of how efficient your filing system may be) is often burdensome. eSignatures create an easily sortable, organized filing system by which you can easily store and retrieve important documents.
  6. Add an extra layer of security: Electronic documents can be protected by a variety of methods, including passcodes, encryption, two-factor authentication, and even biometric authentication methods. These methods instantly make your important documents more secure.
  7. Make things easier for customers and/or vendors. While the benefits of eSignature can be obvious for your own business, they also make things much easier for your customers, partners, suppliers, or other vendors (for many of the same reasons we’ve already covered). Customers prefer eSignature solutions not only because it is more convenient, but it brings a number of important advantages, including eliminating unnecessary back-and-forth (saving time), simplifying internal processes, facilitating quicker onboarding, and increasing operational efficiency, among a laundry list of other benefits.

Planning to take your business paperless? Check out our recent guide “A Brief Introduction to eSignatures”, you can download if for free here.