What is it?
An electronic signature, or eSignature, refers to data in electronic form, which is logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign. This type of signature provides the same legal standing as a handwritten signature as long as it adheres to the requirements of the specific regulation it was created under.
It’s also important to note that an electronic signature is distinct from a digital signature, which is a cryptographic mechanism used to implement electronic signatures.
The objective of an electronic signature is to quickly authenticate a document with a uniquely identifiable mark that doesn’t require the use of paper and pen.
The digital signature that seals the document also keeps a record of any changes that were made after the document was sealed. In doing so, electronic signatures can prevent documents from being tampered with and keep a record of who last made changes.
Why is it important?
In an increasingly technologically dependent and global market eSignatures are expected in most business transactions. eSignature technology can increase convenience, save time, help track workflow, enhance security, centralize documentation, and help eliminate paper use. Having a secure eSignature solution built into contract workflow will modernize signature execution that will be beneficial to all parties.
What to look for in eSignature Solutions?
Consider what tools you want the eSignature solution to integrate with and whether those integrations are custom or off the shelf. Additionally many eSignature tools have workflow capabilities which can add value to process design. Work with your IT team to decide on a solution that could be expanded to the entire organization if there isn’t a standard solution in place.