5 myths that need to be busted for anyone struggling with eSignatures

E-easy. Picture: Getty Images

eSignatures always sound like a great option, until you actually try to use one.

There are certainly a lot more services out there these days, which doesn’t help, and they all seem to work in different ways.

And for one reason or another, most people just can’t get their head around signing a document by clicking a mouse button or tapping a pad.

Is it secure? Why do I have to pay for it? Is it legally binding?

They’re all valid questions and they’ll have to be answered sooner rather than later. Adobe has just completed an industry-first report that shows the e-signature market will grow five times in three years.

It says 100 million electronic signature transactions are projected to be made annually in Australia by 2020, but less than 20% of Australian businesses are currently prepared for this outcome.

That’s great news for Adobe – it’s just rolled out an updated eSignature service aimed at giving you that single-click-and-it’s-done service.

To complement it, Adobe has also answered the five big questions about eSignatures that make most people wary in a way that scribbling their name down with a pen doesn’t.

And they’ve let us share them, so here they are – debunking the myths on eSignatures:

1. The internet is full of scams, so eSignatures can’t be secure

Yes, companies get hacked and it’s a worrying trend. But eSignatures are highly secure and trusted by many companies like Salesforce as a safe way to sign documents, limit waste and speed up processes. To keep your information protected, different digital methods are used to secure documents such as SSL encryption and passcodes.

A good eSignature provider will protect your data with industry-leading security standards and provide a signature certificate to verify the audit trail. The signature certificates provide unique document fingerprints, IP addresses of the signers, and time stamps indicating when the document was signed.

2. eSignatures aren’t as legal as pen on paper in Australia

Thanks to the digital revolution we’ve changed the way we work for the better. The Australian government has been quick to enshrine eSignatures in law. eSignatures are a completely legal way to sign documents in Australia and the law recognises a digital contract just the same a paper contract.

3. eSignatures are hard to use

If you’re used to receiving a contract by email, printing, signing, scanning and then emailing back contracts, you should find eSignatures a breeze. The best eSignature services only take a couple of clicks. Once the contract is ready to be sent to signatories, automatic workflow software should make sure the correct document is signed in the correct order by the right people.

4. Even if someone signed a document, I can’t prove it wasn’t forged

There are numerous ways of ensuring signer identification and document validation. For most transactions, a standard eSignature is enough as it can be authenticated via methods such as email, text message, or password, without involving a certificate. Other transactions require more advanced forms of authentication. In these cases, each signer is issued a digital ID by a trusted Certificate Authority (CA), and signing is backed by public key infrastructure (PKI) technology.

5. This is just another digital trend – eSignatures won’t last

Along with Facebook, internet banking and online shopping, eSignatures are just another part of our everyday lives. All Australian businesses surveyed in Adobe’s recent research report said they will invest in an eSignatures solution within the next two years.

By 2020, Australians will perform 100 million eSignatures transactions indicating that we are at the cusp of a high uptake. Just like any piece of software that improves the way your business operates, eSignatures should be viewed as an investment.

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