10 Questions to Ask your Electronic Signature provider

Are you in the process of choosing an electronic signature provider? If you are wondering what you need to know before you choose an electronic signature provider, here are 10 questions you should ask before making a final decision. Your e-signature solution should help you automate manual tasks and propel your business forwards. Every buyer should ask the key things:

Does your electronic signature company follow best-practice security standards?

You could be tempted to simply scan and upload the image of a hand-signed document and call it a day, but if you do - you might be missing out on important layers of security and authentication that protect your agreements and contracts. With some electronic providers, your contracts come with audit trails and proof of transactions that can make it easier to show they were legally executed should they ever be challenged in a court of law. Check if your provider meets global security standards and uses strong data encryption technology. 

What type of electronic signatures does your provider offer? 

Not all electronic signatures are the same. Some agreements require a higher level of security and authentication than others. While many documents are legally binding with an SES (simple electronic signature), others require QES (Qualified Electronic Signatures) or an AES (Advanced Electronic Signature). Discover more about SES, QES and AES types of signatures. A QES offers the highest level of trust through a face-to-face ID verification process by a Qualified Trust Service Provider.

Will your electronic signature be safe?

Electronic signatures can be more secure than wet signatures. An electronic record serves as an audit trail and proof of the transaction. The audit trail includes the history of actions taken with the document, including when it was opened, viewed and signed. If one of the signers disputes their signature, or if there’s any question about the transaction. Detailed certificates of completion can include specific details about each signer on the document, including the consumer disclosure indicating that the signer agreed to use e-signature, the signature image, key event timestamps, the signer's IP address and other identifying information. Documents are digitally sealed using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), an industry-standard technology. This seal indicates the electronic signature is valid and that the document hasn’t been tampered with or altered since the date of signing. Discover more about keeping your electronic signature safe?

Will the electronic signature platform integrate with the systems you already use?

Employees are more likely to adopt electronic signatures if they integrate with the systems they already use. It’s an advantage if they can take action directly from applications like Microsoft, Google, Apple and Salesforce. Check what systems your electronic signature provider integrates with.

How does the platform verify and validate signatures?

E-signature technology can use multiple options for verifying a signer’s identity before they can access the document and sign, including email addresses, access codes and ID verification. For situations where additional levels of signature validity are necessary, some providers offer two additional levels of e-signature. The QES and AES digital signatures as mentioned earlier. Your provider should also provide a chain of custody and audit trail.

What other customers does the electronic signature platform have, and are there any in your industry?

It’s always a good idea to check if the electronic signature platform you plan to use has other customers of your size or in your industry. You can see if they already have experience creating similar workflows to those you wish to automate. 

What benefits have existing customers received by using the electronic signature platform?

Seek out what other customers are saying about using the electronic signature platform you are considering. Most providers should share customer testimonials and case studies. They should be able to share the benefits their customers have experienced. Try and find out if customers often start in one area of their business and then continue to roll out to other areas after successful testing.

What support and training can the provider offer your team and users?

If you are looking to integrate an electronic signature solution across several users, teams or departments, it’s crucial that proper training is provided to increase adoption. It’s good to ask if your electronic signature provider offers online tutorials and videos and if it has support teams and instructor-led training for complex workflows. 

How many documents are signed using the electronic signature platform provider?

Asking this question will allow you to establish how often this provider is used for electronic signatures, a simple way of establishing trust. 

Which areas of business does your electronic service provider support?

Do you work in legal, finance, HR, marketing or sales? Find out which area of business your electronic service provider supports and if they have experience creating workflows related to your business function before selecting them.

There are several things to look out for when you are choosing an electronic signature provider; companies using blockchain technology provide additional confidence regarding audit trails and also be sure to look out for those providers that comply with industry-recognised standards, such as SOC 1, SOC 2, and ISO 27001. Want to find out more about electronic signatures? Here’s almost everything you need to know about electronic signatures.

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