eSigning for Businesses - An In-depth Guide

In a world where digital transformation is not just a trend but a business-critical goal, eSigning and e-signatures have become essential tools for corporations, huge-scale companies and companies in the enterprise segment.

Consequently, we have put together this eSigning guide to explore how eSigning can streamline your business processes, ensure your legal compliance, enhance your document security, and speed up processes. All while providing you and your company with a competitive edge in today's fast-paced market.

Top Advantages of eSigning

eSigning, or electronic signing, offers a range of benefits for businesses and individuals alike. These benefits span from increased efficiency to enhanced security. 

Here are some of the top advantages of eSigning:

☑ Streamlines the process of document and contract signing. It allows for the instant sending and signing of documents, significantly reducing the time taken compared to traditional paper-based methods and follow-up.

This speed is especially beneficial for time-sensitive agreements and contracts.

☑ Eliminates many costs associated with traditional signing methods, such as printing, paper, ink, postage, and courier services, to name a few. 

This reduction in physical resources can easily lead to considerable savings - particularly for businesses that handle a large volume of documents.

☑ They can be done from virtually anywhere, at any time, as long as the signer has internet access. 

This flexibility is crucial for remote work environments and for conducting business across different geographies.

☑ Electronic signatures come with security features like encryption and unique digital identifiers, further enhancing your company documents' safety and integrity. 

They also provide you with a clear audit trail - which helps in tracking who signed the document and when - reducing the risk of forgery and tampering.

☑ eSignatures are also legally binding in many jurisdictions worldwide under laws such as the eIDAS in the European Union, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (eSign) in the United States, and others.

This legal recognition ensures that eSigned documents are, therefore, valid and enforceable.

Table of Contents

  • Top Benefits of eSigning

  • Understanding eSigning and e-Signatures

  • What is an eSignature?

  • Is eSigning Legally Binding, and Can They Be Used International?

  • How to Implement eSigning for Your Business

  • How Secure is eSigning?

  • Can eSignatures be Used for All Types of Documents?

  • How does eSigning work?

  • Is eSigning environmentally friendly?

  • Do eSignatures expire?

  • Can eSignatures be forged?

  • How do I know if an eSignature is valid?

  • Are there different types of eSignatures?

  • How can I ensure my signature is legally compliant?

  • How do I get started with eSigning?

  • Can I use eSignatures on mobile devices?

  • Where are eSignatures stored?

  • Do I Get Notified Upon a Document Being Signed?

  • Can I see Information About When it Was Signed at a Later Date?

  • What is the difference between a digital signature and an eSignature?

  • Related eSigning Articles

  • eSigning Overall

Understanding eSigning and e-Signatures

First, let us demystify what eSigning actually is. An eSignature - or electronic signature - is a legal way to obtain consent - or approval - on digital documents, contracts, and forms. It’s not just a digital version of your handwritten signature. 

It is a much larger, broader concept encompassing various electronic signing methods.

What is an eSignature?

An eSignature, or electronic signature, is a legally recognised way to consent to or approve a digital document. 

It represents your, or the person you are sending it to - intent to agree to the contents of a document or a set of data to which the signature relates.

eSignatures can also take various forms, like a scanned image of a handwritten signature, a typed name, or a click on an "I accept" button.

Is eSigning Legally Binding, & Can They Be Used International?

If you are thinking, "Can I use eSignatures for international agreements?" then the answer is a pure Yes; eSignatures are legally binding in many countries worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and many others. 

This legal standing of eSignatures is supported by specific laws and regulations in these jurisdictions. 

Here's a brief overview of some of the leading jurisdictions when it comes to legally eSigning the law:

United States

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (eSign, 2000) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) establish the legal validity of electronic signatures across the U.S.

These laws help to ensure that eSignatures cannot be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because they are in electronic form.

European Union

The E.U. regulation known as eIDAS (Electronic Identification and Trust Services) provides a clear framework for electronic identification and eSignatures across E.U. member states.

This regulation ensures that eSignatures have the same legal standing as handwritten signatures and are recognised across the E.U.

United Kingdom

Despite Brexit, at the time of writing, the U.K. continues to recognise the legal validity of eSignatures, as established under the Electronic Communications Act 2000 and further supported by the eIDAS Regulation.

The Law Commission of England and Wales also confirmed that electronic signatures can be used to sign formal legal contracts under English law, as well.

eSigning in Other Countries

Many other countries worldwide have also enacted laws and regulations that recognise the legal validity of eSignatures as well.

How to Implement eSigning for Your Business

When choosing the correct eSigning platform for your company, you must look for solutions that offer compatibility with your processes, ease of use, robust security, and legal compliance.

For instance, does the eSigning platform, like ours, offer you other complimentary features - such as high-grade encryption, branded legal document templates, the ability to track and validate the signature, and more?

How Secure is eSigning?

This entirely depends on the eSigning platforms. Many need to be more secure, while ones like Pocketlaw's employ our own team of dedicated developers to make sure the platform remains secure. It offers you high-level security measures like SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, and audit trails to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of documents. 

We always comply with international security standards to safeguard against unauthorised access and tampering with electronic signatures and documents as well, and we know this inside and out.

Can eSignatures be Used for All Types of Documents?

You can use eSignatures for lots of various documents, including contracts, agreements, employee onboarding forms, NDAs, sales documents, and many more. 

Some examples of these can include for instance:

However, certain documents like wills, court orders, and some types of legal filings may require a traditional handwritten signature, depending on the jurisdictional laws these documents are being signed in.

How does eSigning work?

eSigning involves you selecting a document, choosing the signature type (like a drawn signature, typed name, or a pre-deSigned style), and sending this to the person whom you need to fill in the document or contract. 

The process occurs all within our secure eSigning platform, which also then verifies the signer's identity and records the signing process for auditing purposes for you automatically.

Is eSigning environmentally friendly?

Yes, eSigning is highly environmentally friendly. For instance, due to this, it reduces paper usage, printing, and waste - all of which decrease the carbon footprint associated with traditional paper-based signing processes. 

By digitising your documents, eSigning supports your sustainable and eco-friendly business practices.

Do eSignatures expire?

eSignatures themselves do not expire. However, the document's or contract's validity and content can be subject to expiration or specific terms within the agreement.

It's essential to consider the context and content of each document before you send them.

Can eSignatures be forged?

eSignatures are generally more secure against forgery than handwritten signatures. 

They are often accompanied, for instance, by digital trails and encryption, which provide additional layers of security and traceability - making forgery more difficult to occur than traditional signing.

How do I know if an eSignature is valid?

An eSignature is valid if it complies with the relevant laws and regulations of the jurisdiction in which it is used.

Our eSigning platform's compliance standards can further help you affirm the validity using secure authentication methods and an audit trail.

Are there different types of eSignatures?

Yes, there are several types, including simple electronic signatures - like a scanned image of a signature; advanced electronic signatures - which offer higher security features and require identity verification; and qualified electronic signatures - the most secure - requiring a qualified trust service provider.

How can I ensure my signature is legally compliant?

To ensure legal compliance, our eSigning platform automatically adheres to the regulations in many jurisdictions - such as eSign and UETA in the U.S. or eIDAS in the E.U. 

On top of this, the platform provides you with correct records and an audit trail of the signature as well, for you to fall back on later if required.

How do I get started with eSigning?

Why set up an account and try for free, upload the document to be signed and follow our platform’s process to send it to the signatories? 

Alternatively, why not book a demo where we can show you through the platform?

Training and support from our team can streamline your entire company adoption process with ease as well.

Can I use eSignatures on mobile devices?

Yes, our eSigning platform offers you a very mobile-friendly solution for when it comes to mobile devices.

These allow the person who is going to sign documents straight on their smartphones and tablets - adding convenience and flexibility for on-the-go signatories. 

This on-the-go ability will enable you to process signatures quickly and get to the market with your products and processes much quicker than by traditional means.

Where are eSignatures stored?

After a document is signed electronically, the signature, along with the signed document, is securely stored on our platform's secure servers. 

Our platform uses advanced encryption and security protocols to protect documents and signatures from unauthorised access and tampering.

You can then access the documents and signatures via cloud (internet) access connection via your browser when you require to see it.

Do I Get Notified Upon a Document Being Signed?

Once a document is signed, our eSignature platform will send real-time notifications to all relevant parties.

These notifications can be received via email or our platform notification system.

Consequently, this feature ensures that all parties are promptly informed once the document is signed or if there are any updates in the signing process.

Can I see Information About When It Was Signed at a Later Date?

Yes, of course. Our eSigning platform provides you with an entire, detailed audit trail for each document. 

This audit trail includes information on who signed the document, when it was signed, and the I.P. address or device used for signing.

We also allow you to track the document's progress, showing who has signed and who still needs to sign if it's a multi-signature document.

This level of visibility is crucial for transparency and for legal purposes, ensuring you get a reliable record of the entire signing process.

What is the difference between a digital signature and an eSignature?

A digital signature is a type of eSignature that uses cryptographic techniques for security and authentication. 

It ensures the integrity of the signed content and verifies the signer's identity. 

While all digital signatures are eSignatures, not all eSignatures are digital signatures. Digital signatures are also often used for more secure and legally sensitive documents.

Related eSigning Articles

eSigning Overall

Embracing eSigning is about keeping up with the technology and staying ahead in a competitive business environment. 

By adopting our eSignature solutions, your business can reap significant benefits in terms of efficiency, cost savings, security, and legal compliance.

Ready to transform your document signing process? Contact us to explore the best eSigning solutions tailored to your business needs.

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