Switching from paper-centric workflows to digital ones always brings up questions of document security, especially when it comes to signatures. Whether you’re signing or requesting signatures, you want to know that your documents are protected and that the signatures are authentic and legally-recognized.
The short answer – thankfully– is yes, electronic signatures are secure and legal as long as you’re using eSigning tools that comply with relevant legislation. Here’s what you should know:
US & EU eSignature legislation
In the U.S. eSignatures are regulated by the United States Electronic Signatures Act in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA).
While these laws don’t spell out security requirements for electronic signatures, they do require intent to sign, logical signature attribution, and record retention.
In the EU, the Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services (eIDAS) Regulation defines three different types of electronic signatures – standard, advanced, and electronic – each with different degrees of security.
The best eSigning solutions meet and exceed these legal standards, ensuring that your documents and signatures are secure and accepted around the globe.
Signature security features
User verification To comply with eSignature legislation, secure signature solutions must be able to “logically associate” a signature with the person who signed. User identities can be authenticated through multiple tools including IP addresses, access keys, and user IDs, and digital certificates.
Document locking With document locking, users will be unable to change a signed document unless they clear or invalidate all signatures.
Audit trails Audit trails or histories record any actions a user performs in a document, including signing, editing, or commenting. This allows you to see who interacted with a document and when.
Multi-factor authentication When you need even more security for your eSignatures, multi-factor authentication protects your documents with access codes, ensuring that only the right people can see and sign them.
Secure storage Properly securing paper documents is far more difficult and expensive than securing electronic documents. Paper documents pass through more hands, take up more space, and get lost more easily than their digital counterparts. Document verification Signatures are only as secure as the documents they live on. That’s why document verification is essential for any secure electronic signature solution. Document verification ensures that a document remains unchanged after being signed. If any edits are made to the document, all signatures are rendered invalid.
Are electronic signatures legally valid? Absolutely. Under the ESIGN and UETA acts in the U.S. and the eIDAS regulation in the EU, eSignatures are equally as legally binding as handwritten signatures.
Need a secure document signing solution? In these challenging times, businesses need secure eSignatures more than ever to stay productive while working from home. Whether you’re US based, or international, Nitro Sign is compliant with both the US and the EU eSignature legislation.
That’s why we’ve launched Better Together with Nitro Sign. Our industry-leading eSignature solution is available to all via a free trial – no complications, no catches, no limits, and no credit card.