Is your electronic signature safe?

Is your electronic signature safe?

Are electronic signatures safe? The number of electronic signing options to choose from has multiplied in the past few years. There are many reasons why you need an electronic signature in your business. But the use of different solutions may cause you to question if your data, your documents, and your signatures are safe.

It is essential to make the right selection when choosing a provider, so read on to discover what makes DocuSign eSignature safe, compliant, and legally binding.

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Electronic Signature Security

It is important to use an electronic signature solution that protects you and creates documents that you can trust. Our electronic signature solution permits a range of methods for identifying and authenticating signers. This range of different signature types meets international electronic signature law and EU directives.

DocuSign follows a compliance process to keep documents and electronic signatures safe. 

On 1 February 2022, the expert Industry Working Group on Electronic Execution of Documents published their interim report, which sets out their analysis of the current state of e-signatures in England and Wales.

The report detailed how individuals and businesses can and should safely use electronic signatures, because electronic signatures are in many ways better and more secure than traditional methods, and should be the norm rather than the exception. 

According to Lord Justice Birss, Deputy Head of Civil Justice; “there’s every reason to adopt these methods now. Both the legal framework and the technical framework already exists - and there’s no reason to wait”.

You can read the fully report here. 

How does DocuSign keep electronic signatures safe?

  • DocuSign authenticates the signer’s identity, so electronic signatures are not forged.
  • DocuSign eSignature documents are linked to the signer via an email address, an IP address, or other information. You can click the signature to validate.
  • You cannot change the contents of the agreement after it has been signed. Any changes are flagged for all signing parties to see.
  • There is an audit trail generated for each document that captures everything that happens to the document with time and date stamps.
  • ISO 27001 certified, DocuSign provides bank-grade security and assurance.
  • DocuSign’s Certificate of Completion is court-admissible and contains an audit trail of signee’s email addresses, timestamps and IP address.

Beware of non-compliant electronic signature apps

We have tested other applications and many simply ‘paste’ an image into a PDF. Why is this a problem? This creates a document that has no real value. It is unsafe because the document is not linked to any assurance that it was signed by a particular person or any ‘proof’ to make the signature legally binding.

Even worse, you can modify the content of the document after it has  been signed and nobody else would be able to tell. This process could put you, your team and your agreements at risk.

Consider this example:  A bad actor could take a photo of your signature on a paper document or an email and simply ‘upload’ that image into one of these apps. He can then create a contract, say you agreed to pay them £5,000 and try to collect it. What evidence is there that you did or did not sign, or that this bad actor created the agreement fraudulently? Now, what do you do?

Using apps like these is dangerous because you cannot claim that one document should be deemed reliable. These apps do not offer sufficient protection to the signer or the content.

Electronic signature vs handwritten signature

Wait a minute--why not just write a signature on paper by hand? Nowadays, an electronic signature is more widely accepted than a handwritten signature because there are layers of security and authentication. Electronic signature carries layers of information about who signed what and where and when they signed it. A handwritten signature can be easily copied or tampered with, but an electronic signature that follows security protocols such as those used by DocuSign cannot. Find out more about the differences between an electronic signature and a handwritten signature.

What makes an electronic signature legal?

The ‘eIDAS regulation,’ which came into force on 1 July 2016 ensures electronic signatures are legally binding. This EU regulation means that any electronic document you send between two EU countries is safe, legally compliant, and regulated. The regulation EU No. 910/2014 allows members of the EU to conduct seamless transactions across countries.

Experience the benefits of eSignature for yourself

Register for a 30-day free eSignature trial.

Are electronic signatures legal in the UK?

The short and simple answer is ‘Yes.’ The Law Commission of England and Wales has formally ruled that electronic signatures can be used to sign formal legal contracts under English law.

Law Commissioner Stephen Lewis said,

“Contract law in the UK is flexible, but some businesses are still unsure if electronic signatures would satisfy legal requirements. We can confirm that they do.”

The Law Commission published an electronic document report on September 4th 2019 confirming that electronic signatures are legally binding across the board including for deeds and for government documents. Many law firms and company legal teams use electronic signatures for their work as well, including Womble Bond Dickinson, a leading UK law firm. 

Which electronic signature solutions are safe?

If you care about the security of your signature, be sure to use an electronic signature solution that protects you and creates documents you can trust. A good solution will protect you from unwanted changes after you sign. It will also ensure there is an audit trail and will authenticate a signer’s identity to offer vital security and protection. DocuSign provides all of these attributes, and more.

To discover the benefits for yourself, sign up to try DocuSign for free.

Mangesh Bhandarkar
GVP, Product Management