In normal day-to-day activities, the authenticity of an official document is ascertained by the signature. In recent years, the world has gone digital, and it seems the era of pen and ink signatures is dying. As electronic documents are mainly taking the place of paper documents, there is a dire need for the implementation of electronic signatures.
What are e-Signatures?
An electronic signature (e-signature) is a symbol, sound, or process which is attached to an electronic document and is adopted by a person who has an intention to sign the document.
In simple terms, an e-signature is data in electronic form, which can be as simple as a name, and is logically associated with other electronic data. An e-signature is the equivalent of a standard written signature in the electronic world and has the same legal standings if created under a specific regulation.
An e-signature might be an insignificant activity carried out without much thought, such as:
- Typing a name on an electronic form
- Clicking a box on a website
- A recording of a user’s voice
- Digitized signature, which involves writing a signature on a signing pad
Conditions for a Valid E-signature
An e-signature is perfectly legal, and will not cause any legal issues. However, there are a few conditions an e-signature must satisfy before it’s legally binding.
- The e-signature should be attributed. This is done by indicating the full name of the signer, email ID, or timestamp. This creates higher attribution for the signer, and subsequently, more credibility.
- The signer must clearly show the intention to sign the electronic document. This should be indicated on the document.
- There must be proof that the signer of the document wants the business conducted electronically. For this, an e-signature should provide an option to complete the form on paper.
- The e-signature should be directly connected with the document being signed.
Common E-signature Uses
In day to day activities, there might be a need for forms and agreements. Sometimes, e-signature proves the best way to sign these forms and contractual agreements, for convenience and speed. E-signatures are flexible and can fit into any legal framework.
However, this doesn’t mean electronic signatures can be used on every document that comes into the way. These are a few ways of instances where e-signature proved to be the best solution.
In a government setting, there may be a need for collecting thousands, if not millions of signatures. Collecting signatures in a government became relatively easier and faster since the introduction of e-signatures.
The introduction of e-signatures made it easier for people with visual disabilities to participate in corporate agreements and better manage their businesses. Electronic devices can enlarge the font size for readability –a feature absent on paper correspondence. With e-signature, documents can also be signed with sound!
The introduction of electronic signatures made the processes of financial transactions easier. It has become relatively easy to get a signature loan, without leaving the comfort of one’s room.
Healthcare is very critical and may require great urgency sometimes. Doctors might have no right to treat a patient until a legal document is received from a family member. Utilizing e-signatures helps to speed up these processes.
How to Avoid E-signature Scams?
As e-signatures come with a lot of forge risks, knowledge of working techniques to avoid the scam is essential.
For the absolute safety of an e-signature, it is essential to make use of a secure e-signature app. An e-signature app is responsible for signing soft copies of document files. Before use, users save their signatures to the app by writing or uploading a picture.
When the need for an e-signature arises, the user opens the document and indicates where the signature should appear. The app does the rest of the work.
However, not all e-signature apps are secure. Some apps will expose the user to the risk of information leakage. Before choosing an e-signature app, many factors should be considered, which include:
1. Encryption of documents
As hackers may try to steal an e-signature, the encryption of e-signature documents in transit is necessary. Encryption makes it impossible for a third party to access information sent between the parties in a digital conversation.
2. Legal Validity
The documents signed by an e-signature app should be useful if the need to show in court arises. To be valid for any legal proceedings, an e-signature app should follow the best practices for signing an electronic document; otherwise, it will be useless.
3. Awareness of tampering
An e-signature app should detect if a document has been tampered with. Choosing an app with this capability might come at an extra cost, but is a wise investment for anyone who doesn’t want their signature, forged.
Choosing an e-signature app with these capabilities might cost a little more than usual, though.
Extra security tip
If an e-signed document is to be transferred over the internet, using RitaVPN is vital to ensure the security of the document. RitaVPN is a VPN service provider that encrypts the information transferred over the internet, so hackers and other third-parties will have no access to the data.
Unlike most other VPN, RitaVPN is speedy with many servers around the world. Its availability at an awesomely cheap rate with responsive customer support makes it a top pick among hundreds of other VPN services.
E-signature is gradually taking the place of the pen-and-paper signatures people are used to. For this reason, it is necessary to employ the best security techniques to ensure documents signed with the technology are entirely secure and not prone to hijacking.