The simple act of signing your name to an agreement is one of the most fundamental processes in doing business. The term “wet signature” originates from the concept of using wet ink or a seal imprinted into wet wax in order to represent oneself on paper.
In recent years, the digital revolution has provided people and businesses with an opportunity to replace the traditional wet signature with a digital counterpart. The eSignature technology provided by DocuSign offers significant advantages for businesses over the traditional handwritten signature.
Listed below are four problems that businesses encounter with wet signatures, and how they can be solved by using digital signature technology.
1. Slow turnaround times
The need for speed is fact of life in the business world, and wet signatures can make the process of completing documents painfully slow. Especially in instances where signatures are needed from multiple parties in far-flung locations, the time required to print, package, and send documents; make sure that signatures are given in all correct fields; and send the document on to the next signer becomes needlessly time-consuming.
DocuSign allows users to send or sign documents securely from a computer, tablet, or mobile device, cutting document turnaround time from days or even weeks to hours or minutes. DocuSign users are able to swiftly and legally sign from anywhere, at any time, adding flexibility to business operations and enhancing the experience.
2. Low security
Documents containing sensitive data need strong protection, especially in the health care field, which requires all those who work with personal information to comply with HIPAA regulations. Sensitive data is at risk when documents are transported between office buildings or passed around to multiple parties, who may only be authorized to view certain portions of the document. Confidential information can also be at risk of becoming lost and discovered by someone unauthorized to view a document after a contract or agreement disappears into a stack of papers on a desk, waiting to be signed.
DocuSign allows those who send a document to dictate which recipient sees which information, and has options for signatures that adhere to Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) protocol. DocuSign also has signature technology that meets more rigorous security standards, including 21 CFR Part 11. The company’s commitment to the highest possible security standards gives senders ultimate control over who sees sensitive information.
3. Increased risk of forgery
When relying on wet signatures committed to paper, a company exposes itself to a greater risk of forgery than it would if it used digital signature technology. A document may be fraudulently signed, incorrectly dated, or altered after signing—problems that can require legal action that incurs high fees and slows business down.
The variety of methods provided by DocuSign for verifying the identity of signers makes it simple for users to select the authentication options that suit their needs. These options include access codes, phone and SMS authentication, standard ID checks, and Live or Social ID checks.
Additionally, all DocuSign documents are tamper-sealed. The software also records every action taken by all signers to which the document is made viewable. This includes the actions of viewing, sending, printing, declining, or signing the document.
4. Unnecessary costs
Along with the cost of the time it takes to get a document where it needs to go, obtaining wet signatures in business generates unnecessary costs in a way that attaining digital signatures does not. Hardcopy documents require the purchase of greater stores of office supplies, including paper, printer ink, and postage. While a single instance of printing a contract or agreement isn’t much of a financial burden, the cost multiplies over time.
In addition, after a document has been signed, it needs to be stored securely, which can require business owners to invest in bulky filing cabinets that take up precious office space and are vulnerable to fire and water damage. Filing cabinets and other physical means of storing documents with wet signatures take up valuable space and may expose the document to a greater risk of theft.
DocuSign keeps all documents signed through its platform within servers in data centers that meet ISO 27001 and SSAE 16 standards. Data leakage prevention measures are in place, as is stringent malware protection for endpoint security. Cloud-based technologies like DocuSign not only offer more security, but reduce a business’s need to find on-site storage solutions for hardcopy documents.