If you’re a fraudster you can easily obtain a fake driver’s license or passport. You can create a fake social media profile complete with fake friends. It’s difficult to confirm the actual identity of someone without a DNA profile or finger print on file with the FBI. And that is for confirming someone in person much less remotely.
The widespread use of electronic signatures has taken longer than some people expected and that is partially due to the ability to verify the signers. If we could feel as comfortable with the validity of the electronic signature as we do with a wet signature, electronically signed documents would become the norm. But electronic signatures come in varying degrees of authenticity so which one do you use?
Electronic signatures can include a simple, dropped in jpg of a signature on a document, maybe suitable for internal memos. Other forms of electronic signature include one that the recipient adds the signature to a trusted list in Acrobat or Word for instance because they know the senders email and have talked to them on the phone. That would be perfectly acceptable for many types of B2B or B2C contracts.
However, the ultimate electronic signature is known as a Digital Signature and that includes obtaining verification of the signer from an unaffiliated third party. The third party first must confirm the identity of the signer, which is not quite an FBI review, but does practically eliminate risk. The signer pays an annual fee for the initial verification and to generate the unique encrypted code that ties to the signature. If you don’t have a password to the code, then you can’t use the signature – it’s not you.
When the somewhat complex and costly initial setup process for a truly verified Digital Signature has been simplified, it is likely that the percentage of contracts signed electronically will explode. The trusted third parties might turn out to be a function of banks which could bring cost down. Video cams are being used to add a virtual notary component to the process, which further reduces risk. Seamless integration with applications is happening now. The impediments are quickly fading.
The prospect of both parties to a transaction having trust in the digital signature can provide many benefits for both sides. There is the cost savings of not producing and sending paper copies. There is the time savings from not having to involve a notary or to wait for the paper delivery. One of the most significant benefits is the ability to transform old processes into efficient digital workflows, which provide tracking, reminders and mobility.
Look at the processes in your company that involve contracts or signing documents, even internal documents. Understand the need, chose an appropriate solution and start reaping the benefits of electronic signatures.
Millennia Group, LLC provides workflow and document management solutions – Information [Found} is Power. www.mgdocs.com, firstname.lastname@example.org