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Please see our Work from Home guide for you to share with your teams. We hope you find this useful.
Are e-signatures a safe way to conduct business in today’s COVID climate? Or, should companies still be finding ways to get contracts signed in ink? Our clients ask about this on a regular basis. They’re trying to continue doing business – get commitments for sales, production, development contacts. Everything from real estate transactions to intellectual property agreements are subject to the unexpected if the stakeholders part ways… We’ve all gotten a lesson in the unexpected this year.
E-signatures had a rocky start – legal challenges and security breaches resulted in laws that made this alternative to face-to-face signing, or using couriers to shuttle documents back and forth, seem less appealing.
But now, they have the potential to be a more secure option than a written – or “wet” – signature.
Why weren’t businesses using e-signatures sooner?
We’ve all been forced to navigate commerce in ways that couldn’t have been anticipated in 2019.
Every business expects to suffer setbacks in their operations due to conditions beyond their control. But, a global pandemic presents challenges that have taken all but essential face-to-face encounters off the table. A current or potential customer or business partner can’t necessarily visit an office across town, let alone fly to another country.
However, many businesses were ahead of the curve. They used e-signatures for routine transactions, just like they used other integrated, cloud-based solutions for tasks like document sharing and collaboration.
Their customers appreciate the convenience of signing legal documents, purchasing or service agreements, investment orders, without having to leave their home or office. It saves time, reduces expenses, and speeds up the process.
E-signatures have an exceptional level of security
Since their first introduction, programmers and software designers have refined e-signatures through trial (in some cases, literally) and error. They’ve arrived at the point, though, where they are practically safer than a wet signature.
Documents couriered to a home or office for signing can fall victim to forgery. Copying someone’s penmanship is an art form, but it can also take very little effort to copy someone’s initials on a multi-page legal document.
A great deal of damage can be done before the forgery is detected…and it’s usually during a costly court case. Even if the deceit is proven, time and money have been wasted.
Electronic signatures have layers of security that make tampering and forgery extremely difficult.
They have a range of features that a wet-signature can’t replicate, such as:
- Proof of identity tied to documents only the signatories would have access to, such as a driver’s license or other personal government identification.
- A unique key that only the signatory can use to verify their identity, and a public key that allows them to share documents. Each public key is unique to a particular document.
- The ability to track the exact location of the signatories, their IP address, and the hardware they were using to review and sign the document.
- The ability to track the receipt and review of the signed document, confirming that both parties acknowledged the agreement.
This is an especially valued quality in contract law and has been upheld in court on several occasions already.
E-signatures strengthen staff and client relations
You want to keep your business operating smoothly, but most of your team is working remotely, and you can’t meet your clients in person.
You still have to share sensitive documents internally, and walking down the hall to a colleague’s office isn’t an option.
Your customers still want to purchase a home, a car, proceed with a construction project or finalize an acquisition or merger…all without having unnecessary personal contact.
Looking for safe, affordable, and reliable e-signature software? We recommend Docusign!
By adapting your business practices to digital solutions, including e-signatures, you’ll create a secure and efficient pipeline of information and functionality for your company.
We can help you design cloud-based systems to keep your business running smoothly without sacrificing security. Your staff and your clients will appreciate the convenience and simplicity of doing business remotely…and safely.
As Microsoft Gold partners, we have the expertise to design and implement powerful, affordable, integrated systems for your business. Contact us to find out more about how we can support you in this challenging business climate.
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