If you regularly work with contracts, the chances are you routinely do business on the basis of assumptions. There is a better way.
 
There is a well-published story of how David Geffen, the multimillionaire driving force behind Geffen Records and DreamWorks, got his first break. He was given a job at William Morris, a showbiz agency, as a new graduate of UCLA. The company duly wrote to the university to confirm the applicant’s bona fides. This left Geffen with a problem: he wasn’t. Undeterred, Geffen used his position in the company’s mailroom to intercept the letter from the university and alter it. The company got their confirmation, and a few years later Geffen was managing Crosby, Stills and Nash.
 
When executing agreements on paper, we make assumptions that the signatures are authentic and that the document is unaltered. We make these assumptions because we have to: in most cases, we’re simply not in a position to witness the signature of the document, nor do we have specimen signatures for comparison. In effect, no authentication of the signatures or verification of the integrity of the document is carried out until something goes wrong in the process, usually when someone says “that’s not what I signed” or “that’s not my signature.” When that happens, of course, the damage has already been done.
 
Electronic signatures allow you to secure your document and authenticate signatories before they sign, reducing contract risk and making it possible to initiate and complete your transactions without leaving the digital world. 
 
Transacting in the Cloud requires you to entrust sensitive data to another organisation. Ten years ago, this might have seemed unthinkable, but particularly with the success of Salesforce.com, there has been a realisation that a secure vendor infrastructure combined with sound internal security policies can make the Cloud the preferred option. 
 
Standards such as ISO 27001 and SSAE 16 allow like-for-like comparison of vendors and show that all are not created equal. Your choice should be based not the security of the service, but on the vendor’s ability to provide authentication methods that are suitable for the type of transaction. eSignature should streamline the contracting process, not hinder it.
 
Thousands of businesses have come to the conclusion that not only are they not introducing risk by using eSignature in the Cloud, they are, in fact, greatly reducing it. Now, the question is “what’s holding you back?”
 
 
 
Kevin Boyle is Head of Professional Services at DocuSign EMEA. Read his blog or connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Are you in Bristol? Stop by the MShed for our Signature City Tour. Click here for more information on your Digital Transformation!
 
 
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