In this fast-paced digital world, people need to do business electronically. The global pandemic only heightened the need for remote authorizations since people couldn’t meet in person. It’s essential to stay on top of your technological game if you want your organization to keep pace with the competition.
That’s why Revv is taking you on a deep dive into electronic signatures and how they can help secure document workflow while maximizing daily efficiency in the workplace.
What are electronic signatures?
In the simplest terms, electronic signatures use virtual verifications of a user’s identity to sign documents.. With the proper tools, ensuring that the right people are signing particular documents without putting pen to paper in person is possible. While there are plenty of concerns about online security risks, software vendors have taken steps to ensure the integrity of electronic signatures.
Most tools offer multi-factor authentication to keep people from faking their identities to sign documents. These protections can also keep people from viewing documents that they haven’t been authorized to see.
The benefits of electronic signatures
Plenty of businesses have already started implementing electronic signatures since they offer so much value, regardless of your industry. There are plenty of benefits when utilizing electronic signatures, which we’ll explore in more detail in the following sections.
It saves time
Convenience and time-saving strategies are both excellent reasons to implement electronic signatures. When your employees or clients can simply log in to their documents through their phones, tablets, or computers to verify their signatures, it means that business never needs to come to a standstill.
Electronic signatures optimize business operations by eliminating the need to be there in person to sign documents. When people can sign on the go or from the comfort of their own homes, it speeds up the process and helps increase efficiency. Teams anywhere can collaborate efficiently with every document being created, reviewed, and signed in one central place.
The overhead costs associated with printing out documents and signing quickly add up. As does routine maintenance for printers, buying new ink cartridges, and paying employees to take the time to meet with clients to sign their documents in person.
Even paying for new pens and maintaining a physical filing and storage system greatly affect your overhead and make a huge difference to your bottom line when they are no longer part of your budget.
However, the main benefit of electronic signatures is that your files are all stored digitally and can easily be backed up onto the cloud – which leads us to the next benefit.
One of the biggest issues with in-person signatures is the possibility of tampering or damage. When people mail their signed documents, there is the chance they will get lost or could be tampered with. But, with electronic signatures, there’s no chance for tampering once a document has been signed.
Plus, when your files are digital, you never have to worry about misplacing something, filing it in the wrong cabinet, or losing important documents through natural disasters.
Our advanced toolset offers multi-factor identification with email authorization and text message authorization for an added layer of security for our legally binding signature process. We even have an option to attach signer videos of consent for highly sensitive documents.
Here’s how secure documents with electronic signatures factor into your document workflow.
The first step of the workflow process is to decide who needs access. Frequently, you need multiple signatures for a document, but it may contain confidential information, so you wouldn’t want everyone to see it.
Once you’ve decided who has access, there are many ways to invite signers to the document.
Primarily, companies turn to emailed invitations for electronic signatures. This is because most people check their email multiple times per day when working and aren’t likely to miss the email. This email will provide a link to the document through your management tool and will require the person to either log in to their account or create a new one.
If your company has a web portal or other preferred means of communication, these also work well. For example, it could come up under “Notifications” or a “To-Do” list for the signer in a web portal.
Verify Signer’s Identity
The next step is to verify the signer’s identity and prevent unauthorized users from accessing the document. All signers must prove that they are who they claim to be before they’re allowed to view the encrypted document or add their electronic signature. How intensely a signer is vetted can depend on the nature of the document, but they’ll need to prove their identity first.
If your employees are logging in, they can simply put in their badge number, employee number, or other confidential identifying information your business has assigned them. However, if you need signers from outside of your organization, things get a little bit trickier.
There are plenty of ways to authenticate your signers, although some of the most common include:
- Text messaging with an OTP to verify a known phone number
- Email authentication to verify a known email address
- Electronic keys assigned to the signer from your organization
- The use of a pre-designated answer to a secret question
- Biometrics, including fingerprint or facial scans
- The use of one-time passwords generated from a fingerprint or assigned PIN
- Dynamic knowledge-based questions generated spontaneously
- Digital certificates generated by third-party companies at the time of login
However you choose to authenticate your signers, once they have verified their identity, they’ll move on to the next step in the workflow.
Viewing the document
The majority of businesses keep their documents online, so authenticated individuals can view them in their browsers. Typically, after entering their verification, their browser will automatically open a new window with the document they need to read. This is the most convenient method since signers won’t have to download any special software.
However, it may not be the safest way to keep confidential documents confidential. Some companies prefer to require decryption software for signers to access high-risk documents that need to be kept confidential.
This step is optional and depends on the nature of the documents. In some cases, signers will need to add more documents as supplements to further demonstrate their identities (or other reasons). If so, you’ll need to allow changes to the document or have a place for them to put addendums.
Many forms ask for additional information, so you’ll need to ensure that your e-signature document solution provider has a way to designate specific fields where signers can input their information. Our solution allows signers to upload documents and fill out information fields before signing.
Signing the document
The signature can happen through a variety of methods; often in a single click. The click to sign method works best when you have a rigorous verification process at the beginning of the workflow.
For businesses, this might involve inputting information from authorized credentials or adding a digital signature.
Digital signatures can be challenging since you need to awkwardly drag the mouse across the screen to approximate their normal handwriting. On a tablet or phone, this might be avoided by using a pen, but signing with your finger can sometimes be even more illegible than using a mouse. Once the document has been signed, it is verified and sent to the appropriate parties for review.
With your understanding of how important electronic signatures have become in the modern world, it’s time to update your system to save time and money while ensuring that you have the top security for your important documents. Get started with Revv today by contacting us here and see how we can help you enhance your workflows.