Everything you need to know about e-signatures

E-signatures have become commonplace within businesses over the last few years. If you are unsure about what e-signatures are and whether they are right for your business then this guide will help you make up your mind.

Author: Daniel Moore | Last Updated: 03/09/2021
Everything you need to know about e-signatures

What is an e-signature?

An e-signature is an easy way for users to sign a document electronically, without the need to make a printed physical copy. You can sign an electronic document with a click or by writing on the document with your mouse. E-signatures can be used on a wide variety of documents including quotes, contracts or deliveries.

How do electronic signatures work?

Different providers have different ways or verifying if a document has been signed. Generally, once a document has been signed a certificate with a private key is created that is bound to that document verifying that a signature has been added. Other information can be added to that certificate, such as an IP address or geographic location as part of an audit trail.

What makes an electronic signature legal?

E-signed documents are legally binding in various countries around the world and are just as legally binding as a traditional paper document signed with a pen. The legal status of a signed document depends on the ability to prove:

  • Who has signed the document
  • What was signed
  • Whether or not the document has been altered after signing

How do I create an electronic signature?

There are various ways to create a digital signature, but this depends on the device that is being used, as well as the file type of the document that is being signed.

  • Use your finger or stylus – This can be done on touch screen devices such as tablets or mobile phones
  • Upload an image of your signature – Write your signature on a piece of paper then take a picture of it with a camera and upload it to your computer ready to use on an e-Form
  • Use your mouse to draw your signature – You can drag the cursor across the signature line to create your electronic signature
  • Type in your signature – The easiest way to sign a document electronically is with your keyboard. You can type in your name and in some cases select a font to best match your signature

How secure are the documents once they are signed?

Once a document is signed, they are sealed with a Public Key Infrastructure or PKI, which is an industry-standard seal. This seal indicates that the signature is valid and there has been no tampering or alterations made since the document was signed.

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