Most businesses and organizations will distribute and receive documents that must be signed or have been signed. This has been the case for at least a century, and probably longer.
However, the way in which these documents may be signed has changed in recent years. For example, it’s become increasingly common for companies to resort to and accept e-signatures instead of traditional pen-and-ink signatures.
An e-signature serves the same purpose as a traditional autograph. It’s simply a digital alternative. Though many have embraced this solution, some have remained reluctant to do so.
This is often the case because someone worries that an e-signature may not be secure. This is an understandable concern, but not a justifiable one.
E-signatures are actually highly secure, and arguably more secure to a substantial degree than ink signatures. The following points illustrate why.
E-Signatures Are Difficult to Forge
Forging a traditional ink signature isn’t terribly difficult. Someone might not have the skills necessary to forge a signature on his own, but with a little effort, he could probably find someone who does.
Or the aspiring forger could develop the necessary skill over time. In addition, a range of tech tools can make the task of forging a traditional signature much easier.
Forging an e-signature is far more challenging. It requires access to your computer. The forger must also have your signing certificate password.
It’s crucial to understand that an e-signature isn’t just an image that resembles a traditional ink signature. It’s actually more of an algorithm that creates a “digital footprint” unique to the signer.
E-Signatures Offer Greater Control Over Documents
E-signatures are also convenient for many reasons. One is the simple fact that they allow organizations and individuals to process documents much more quickly than they used to.
For example, instead of mailing a new client a contract and waiting for them to return it–again, through the postal service–with their signature before work on a lucrative project can begin, you could send the contract as an attachment to an email, obtain the e-signature, and start work in a matter of minutes.
This also increases the safety and security of critical documents. Although it may be fairly rare for the postal service to lose mail, it does happen. Sending a physical document by mail also increases the chance of it falling into the hands of someone you’d prefer would not see it.
That’s going to be far less of a concern when you send it by email. Unless you’re the target of a cyberattack at precisely the wrong time, it’s highly unlikely the wrong person would intercept an email you just sent.
This is another reason e-signatures are secure. They allow you to send and receive documents that must be signed in a manner that’s much safer than traditional mail.
E-Signatures Have Electronic Records
When transactions involve signing multiple documents, perhaps over a somewhat long span of time, disputes can arise. Luckily, e-signatures provide an electronic record of a transaction.
They establish an “audit trail” that can be used to solve disputes more readily. Because such disputes often overlap with security concerns or issues, this is one more way in which e-signatures are more secure than you might have recognized.
Having concerns about security issues when new technologies become available is entirely rational. If you’ve relied on traditional signatures for years, you might wonder why you should switch to a new solution if you don’t know it’s just as safe.
Nevertheless, it’s become increasingly accepted by industry observers that if security is a concern, using e-signatures is likely the wisest option.