Leveraging technology has proven to be a rewarding decision for many businesses that choose to adapt to today’s digitized realities. Whether it’s for marketing, operations, or accounting purposes, there are now many innovations that are changing the way we do business, and it pays to catch up in many respects.
One use case that has grown over the years is using electronic signatures for digital documents. The digital signature market grew to $2.8 billion globally and could grow to $14 billion by 2026.
However, just like any other digital tool, digital signature applications have their share of concerns, but there are ways to address them.
Here are five of the most common concerns related to adopting digital signatures at work and how to work around them.
Inertia remains a common theme in any digital revolution, and digital signatures aren’t exempt. People will still prefer the old ways of signing documents for various reasons, whether it concerns electronic signature forgery, unwillingness to learn new tools, or challenges with adoption.
The way to address the slow adoption of new practices at work is to sell the idea internally to all users and stakeholders. Talk about the many benefits of using digital signatures, such as the saved costs and time when using digital versions of our scribbles. Studies show, for instance, that implementing digital documents can help save up to 85% of document handling costs.
Fraud and reliability
Some people might ask questions like, “Can a digital signature be forged?” And the answer is a resounding yes. However, so can non-digital ones.
What digital solutions provide that its traditional counterpart does not, is added layers of verification such as an assigned PIN or password when authorizing electronic signatures.
Keeping an audit trail is yet another good practice, such as keeping track of chat conversations with someone who requests an e-signature. There are many other ways of dealing with signature forgery, such as keeping a legal advisor at bay in case there arises a problem with signatures, but again, these are problems we could potentially face with non-electronic documents too.
In some countries, electronic signatures might have approval limitations. Some governments understandably have concerns, understandably, such as the question of “Can digital signatures be misused?” Naturally, people will doubt the safety of anything that happens online, given the reality of digital security issues.
Government approval plays an integral part in public documents. But in cases where your government doesn’t honor e-signatures, it’s mostly for legally binding documents between third parties.
Most countries have no problem with documents for internal use like getting budget approvals or employee sign-offs on projects and reports. The best way to curb these concerns is to use authorized tools that provide an added layer of protection. Looking for the best e-signature tool is like looking for the best online degrees—try looking for a provider with a good track record and that fits your budget.
Also read: Transforming SMBs with Digital Signatures
Just how secure are digital signatures for internal purposes? One will find that they’re actually very secure. Some companies might have concerns with unauthorized approvals at work, but digital signatures offer enough layers of protection.
The best way to avoid unauthorized approval is to use one central digital signature provider, as these usually require authentication before signing any document. Roll out an internal policy that states that any document signed outside of that provider won’t be honored.
One other feature to look for in a digital signature provider is a layer of intention, which will take a signer through a few steps to validate their intention to sign. Ensure that the internal document signing software has enough steps to indicate one’s intention to sign the said document.
Challenge to validity
Once a document gets signed, there’s a chance that someone might challenge its validity when it goes out. This challenge to electronic signature security might come from a financial institution or government agency.
When there’s a challenge to validate whether or not a document has the permission of the said people, it’s good to have additional proof to support the claim of the document’s validity.
In most cases, an authenticated timestamp should do the trick. But for more serious documents, such as contracts worth a lot of money or legally binding contracts of a grave nature, you can also keep a copy of a video of the signing parties signing the document digitally.
Is the Risk and Trouble Worth It?
When going paperless with your contracts using e-signatures, some might ask if it’s worth all the trouble to get it done. And the answer depends on a company’s priorities. For those that want to save resources and time, switching to digital signatures could be a great solution. And there is also the option of keeping a hybrid policy where some might need actual signatures, and some will be fine with an electronic version.