By: Jenn Wei

For those of you that have struggled to implement electronic signature solutions in the EU, we are about to make your life a lot simpler.

Up until now, the EU had been a difficult place to deploy electronic signature solutions. For multi-nationals doing business in the EU, EU electronic signature laws were complicated, fragmented and confusing. Electronic signatures were accepted for certain use cases in some EU countries but not for others, making universal electronic signature implementation in cross-border transactions nearly impossible. But that all changed on July 1st, 2016, when the new eIDAS regulation replaced the former, outdated 17-year-old Electronic Signatures Directive in the EU.

The new eIDAS regulation has legally validated electronic signatures for most business use cases, including in the most regulated industries of financial services, insurance, healthcare and life sciences. And unlike the former Directive, the new eIDAS regulation mandates adoption by all 28 EU member states. This means that companies outside the EU will have an easier time than ever electronically transacting with their European divisions, customers and partners.

The new eIDAS regulation divides electronic signatures into three types: Standard Electronic Signature (basic signer ID proofing requirements), Advanced Electronic Signature and Qualified Electronic Signature (highest signer ID proofing requirements). Different types of transactions require different type of signatures, as determined by each EU member state’s national law. For example, a temporary worker agreement requires a Qualified Electronic Signature in Germany, whereas a Standard Electronic Signature suffices for a lunch catering invoice.

Many electronic signature vendors claim that they are “eIDAS compliant” or “works for all use cases in the EU”, but that is when you should dig a bit deeper beyond the marketing lingo. Does the vendor offer all 3 types of eIDAS-defined signatures so that all of your transactions are covered? Does the vendor offer their solution in the cloud or mobile so that your signers are not required to plug in cumbersome USB sticks? Does the vendor offer all of the end-to-end workflows you need beyond just the electronic signature? Often times, these areas are where vendors will fall short.

DocuSign has been investing in our platform and EU data centers in anticipation of the eIDAS regulation since 2013 (read more about DocuSign’s “Invest for Europe” initiative here). DocuSign Standards-Based Signatures is the first and only global electronic signature platform to natively provide all three types of electronic signatures (Standard, Advanced and Qualified) under eIDAS.  This means that you can now use DocuSign’s powerful workflows, from prepare to execution to management, for your company’s use cases in the EU. Best of all, DocuSign’s solution is completely cloud and mobile-ready and requires no cumbersome software downloads, desktop plug-ins or USB sticks.

For those of you that prefer to use a local EU Trust Service Provider digital certificate, worry not. We have integrated dozens of Trust Service Provider partners’ digital certificates and services seamlessly into DocuSign Standards-Based Signatures, so that you have a choice of how you sign.

Changing regulations means changing technology.  At DocuSign, we constantly innovate to make sure your life keeps moving forward too.