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Understanding the Importance of Electronic Signatures

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Generally, people use the terms “electronic signature” and “digital signature” in a similar way. Many people don’t realize that these two things are completely different. Electronic signature is a common term used to cover all aspects of signing a document electronically. E-signature can be anything as simple as a scanned image or as complex as a cryptographically-encoded image. Electronic signatures can be created by various e-signature software providers using different technologies, and they can be executed in different ways.

electronic signature

An email signature is the most common type of electronic signature. It’s not an official form for signing documents, but it is recognized as a piece of correspondence which came from your email account. A scanned image of a real “wet” signature attached at the bottom of an electronic contract is another type of e-signature. The more complex methods include logging into a web-based or internal portal and entering a password or code number prior to your signature being affixed to the document.

On the other hand, an electronic digital signature is generated through software. The users have to access public key cryptography to affix their “signature” on the document. These type of e-signatures are the ones used by most businesses, as they are as legally binding as the handwritten signatures. These type of e-signatures are widely used for e-commerce transactions.

Security is a matter of great concern to users. E-signature software providers have taken necessary steps to address concerns regarding the security and integrity of these signatures. The data gathered from users in the database is saved in an encrypted manner. The more secure types of electronic digital signature software provide users with a special passkey, serial number, or certificate upon capturing their profile data so that only they can access the account.

Not all e-signature software providers provide a very high level of security. Therefore it’s necessary to check the feedback and credibility of e-signature providers before signing up with them. Electronic signatures are of immense help to companies where frequent document signing is required. If used properly, e-signatures can help in streamlining your document processes. Use of electronic signatures helps in cutting down time and expenses and also contribute towards a greener environment with the elimination of paper in document signing.

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About Kevin Moore

  • I had no idea. Thank you for clearing up the difference between an electronic signature and a digital signature – and for the warining about security.

  • Kevin Moore

    Thanks Holly.

  • adl88

    Hi,

    Exactly and I must say majority of users out there don’t know he different and they feel that merely putting their hand signature image on a piece of document is rock solid. It might serve the purpose but it can’t match the security of Digital Signature. I am sure many of online electronic signature services out their e.g. DocuSign, EchoSign & right signature follow the first approach. I came across Ascertia Docs which seems to be one of the few which provide the capability to add online digital signatures. I would wish to see a comparison of these services wrt security, ease & management prespective so that end-users can make best judgement.

  • Kevin Moore

    Thanks adl88 for making a valid point. I will work on the input provided by you and come with a post comparing the ease and other features of some leading providers.

  • Reo

    Hi All,

    I had to upload my signature on a website. I got it scanned however I had to increase the file size and hence sent it to a person to increase its file size as I could not do it myself.

    He did the needful and mailed me back.

    My question is that is it safe to share the scanned signature. Can it be risky in any way?

    Please suggest!!