Before the coronavirus pandemic, you most likely used your favorite pen to sign documents. Fast forward to today, things have drastically changed, and electronic signatures are now the norm in place of more traditional methods of signing documents. This change happened because many companies have adopted remote working setups, and employees no longer need printers or scanners to use electronic signatures.
The need for electronic signatures is mainly caused by the global workforce being interconnected more than ever. It has become more challenging for vendors, clients, and other stakeholders to meet in a specific place to sign a document. Luckily, electronic signatures come in handy, serving as an excellent no-contact solution that helps businesses reduce operational costs and speed up business processes. If you think adopting this tech would suit your business, here’s a guide highlighting tips on creating safe electronic signatures.
What’s An Electronic Signature?
It’s best to explain what an electronic signature is before diving deeper into how you can safely create one. The electronic signature, also referred to as e-sign or e-signature, is a digital format of your handwritten signature. It comes in different forms, such as creating a digital form of your signature, a photo, or your name.
Because the electronic signature is a digitized duplicate of your standard handwritten signature, it’s considered enough proof that the signer has approved the signed document. After all, it does include all the small nuances and accents found in a conventional signature. Companies love E-signatures because they can be used to easily and quickly sign important documents such as purchase orders, contracts, and other papers. In addition, they have a more consistent look, which helps boost a company’s image.
What Are The Useful Tips To Know When Creating A Safe E-Signature?
Before you learn how to fax from a computer, it’s advisable to learn useful tips on creating a safe electronic signature. This way, you get to enjoy the numerous benefits of using electronic signatures such as;
- Ease of collection, as e-signatures typically gets done within a couple of minutes
- Enhanced security of the signed documents, thereby safeguarding them from falling into the wrong hands
- Easier filing of signed documents because there’s no need for manual filing and because all the info is stored in a cloud-based storage
Without further ado, here’s a look at the helpful tips on how to create a secure e-signature:
1. Use An E-Signature Software
An electronic signature software helps automate and simplify the process of signing an e-sign. Another advantage of e-signature software is that it helps minimize human blunders when signing documents. Because of this, the document signing process happens a lot faster as there are fewer chances of errors and erasures being made. This could help you save on time and resources by eliminating do-overs that can cause delays in your operation.
There are many e-signature software options you can decide to use when signing electronic documents. The most popular ones include AdobeSign, and jSign to name a couple, and they aren’t costly, making them appealing choices even for small scale companies.
2. Define Electronic Signature Software Criteria
Due to the availability of many e-signature options, it’s easy to be overwhelmed when choosing which one to pick. To help you identify the right software for creating electronic signatures, you should consult a specialist to help you examine the features that each option has to offer. Standout features to consider include the following:
- Document location during the process
- Signature workflow for driving automation and process
- Ease of integration to a line-of-business application including CRM and ERP systems
- Record management, archiving, and long-term storage services
- Hold delay times, number of documents in the queue, and documents in line to be signed
Ideally, it would be best to get an e-signing software with many of these features as it can better help you create a secure electronic signature.
3. Confirm The Software is Secure
Due to heightened cybersecurity concerns, it’s important to confirm that the e-signing solution you use incorporates advanced security features, for instance, AES 256-bit SSL and document encryption. Such security features are also adopted for banking transactions and are an excellent way of confirming that e-signatures remain secure.
4. Define Electronic Signature Governance Framework
The use of electronic signatures to sign documents comes with certain risks. Because of this, it’s recommended that you work alongside a legal team to better familiarize yourself with the dangers involved before placing your electronic signature on a particular document. When doing this, there are certain considerations you must point out, and this include;
- Determine the approved signing authorities and the correct order to be followed
- Determine the industry, country, company, and restrictions in the state
- Identify candidate documents to be used during the preliminary stages to reduce your company’s financial loss in the event of a dispute
- Find out the kind of electronic signature permitted that can be a signature written by finger or mouse on the touch screen, scanned signature, and typed name.
Once you’ve come up with an electronic signature governance framework, creating a secure e-signature becomes an easier task.
5. Create An E-Signature Using The Traditional Method
Old is gold, and the traditional and handwritten signature is an excellent way of ensuring the subsequent signature you create is secure. And the best part of it is that all you need is a paper, pen, and a smartphone to create your electronic signature. Here’s a quick rundown on how to create an E-signature with this method:
- Write your signature on a piece of paper
- Take a picture of your signature using your smartphone
- Use a photo editor app to crop the picture bearing the signature while ensuring image clarity
While some people consider this approach rather old-fashioned, many still use it when placing electronic signatures on documents because it doesn’t require purchasing E-signature software.
6. Authenticate Users
How can you authenticate that a user is legitimate who they claim to be? This is a question you must ask yourself when creating a secure electronic signature. Doing this is essential to certify beyond reasonable doubt that it’s the signer once they enter the e-signature welcome page. How you can verify customers will vary depending on several elements, and these include the following factors:
- The risk involved
- The type of transaction being carried out
- Whether it’s an existing or new client
An example that best illustrates this is the use of credentials being the go-to option when dealing with existing clients. For transactions that involve new customers, you need to use a different authentication method, and numerous options are available. Some of the best options to consider are SMS authentication, smart cards, dynamic knowledge-based authentication (KBA), and email authentication, to name a few.
7. Communicate With Clients
Because customers are the backbone of your company’s success, you need to involve them in any changes, such as the adoption of electronic signatures. This is crucial because some of your customers might be oblivious to the fact that they can sign your documents using their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile gadgets. Therefore, you should prioritize ensuring that all your customers know of this electronic signature option either through emails or other appropriate communication channels.
After adopting the electronic signatures, you save yourself unwanted issues such as late contracts or hunting for errant signatures. As a result, you don’t need to constantly email your clients or call them often, which besides being time-consuming, is quite frustrating.
8. Use Templates Right From The Start
Another useful tip to have in mind when creating electronic signatures is using templates instead of preparing new documents from scratch. This way, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of recreating a document each and every time to get a customer’s electronic signature, as this is quite time-consuming. Instead, you could recreate the paperwork, be it an agreement, contract, or any other document that’s been signed before and use it as basis for collecting signatures from other customers.
With this in mind, you should always create a template of any non-digital forms you get, so you can repurpose them later. This is a feature commonly integrated into most electronic signature software today, allowing you to quickly start recreating templates for the most frequently issued forms and documents.
For company templates, it’s best to include your company’s fonts, branding, logos, and colors into electronic documents that have to be signed. This way, it’ll be much simpler for your customers to recognize your company’s identity, letting them who they’re working with.
Today, streamlining company operations and boosting productivity is the main goal of most businesses, something that electronic signatures help accomplish. But to get maximum value from e-signatures, it’s advisable to learn the tips on how to create a safe electronic signature. This guide has explained how to accomplish this in detail, making the document signing process a lot more efficient.