When we initiate a conversation about electronic signatures and digital signatures, most people instantly think about that last parcel they signed for. They remember using a poor-quality stylus in an attempt to sign on a POS-styled machine. And the outcome is even more startling – a signature that seems like a four-year-old's hearty scribble.
With limited exposure and knowledge on the subject, digital signatures and electronic signatures might scare away innocent minds. But, electronic signature platforms supported by digital signature technology are legally binding and have an extensive use case application. They are considered the equivalent of traditional handwritten signatures. Even business transactions involving vast sums of money are being conducted digitally with digital signatures boasting high-security standards and extreme convenience by expediting the entire process.
Of course, some people are still skeptical and shy away from reaping the benefits of digital transformation. But, remember, the lockdown and the entire post-COVID phase have been kind only to those that embraced change. Businesses are no longer conducted the same way, and the ability to attest or authorize documents, seal deals, and fulfill similar other obligations flexibly by being location-agnostic and contactless is well appreciated across industries. All you need is an internet connection, and the possibilities with such technology are endless. But, for those who aren't entirely convinced and wish to analyze the pros and cons with all cards on the table, here is a list of mistakes to avoid while signing documents electronically:
- Not teaming up with Tamper-Proof e-signature Platforms:
To safeguard yourself and ensure security when exposing your company, clients, and sensitive data to digital platforms, you must always opt for reputable brands providing such services. Businesses that team up with substandard vendors or poor-quality systems cannot assure the protection of confidential documents. While this may appear to be a cost-saving step now, later, these businesses may pay a heavy price for such a compromise. Digital signatures are created using the sender's private encryption key, ensuring it stays possible to identify the message source. Hence, both the sender's and receivers' interests are protected as all parties' details are traceable if a dispute arises. Additionally, the document's contents stay safe when it is digitally sealed using PKI (public key infrastructure) technology validating the electronic signatures within a document affirming that the file has not been tampered with or modified since all parties signed it. Such cryptographic safety standards are essential to attain legal clearance for a particular document. Therefore, always ensure the software you choose has such advanced technology embedded because if ever the need for legal clarity arises, you must have a dependable audit trail to safeguard your interests.
- Awareness of the Legality Status of Electronic Signatures:
It is essential to make it explicitly clear to all recipients that the electronically signed document shall be legally binding. All parties must have full awareness of the validity of e-signed papers for possible legal implications that may arise later. Thus, by e-signing documents with clear and legible disclosure, the sender's interests are not at stake.
- Unable to Load a document or Time-Out Error Status:
This problem is consistent with most applications. Such mistakes arise when you attempt to upload large files. You may even get a time-out error notification. However, once you have ascertained that the issue is not due to poor connectivity, recheck the size and format of your file. Ensure it is compatible with those offered by your digital signing software. In any case, as a rule of thumb, it is a good practice to keep the file limit under 5 MB. But, partnering with an electronic signature company that offers advanced solutions is always a good idea when you anticipate transferring large documents. Linked Blog:
Also Read: The Benefits of Using Electronic Signatures
- Software with poor UX/UI:
You and your team may be tech-savvy and perfectly capable of navigating through a digital labyrinth. But, bear in mind, you will be sending many of your documents to external customers. And, in all likelihood, they are not accustomed to this mode of signing. Simplifying tedious processes is one of the main reasons corporates shift to e-signatures. But, if you choose software with a complicated user interface and a user experience that siphons the ease of maneuverability out of technology, you might as well stick with obsolete processes that cause the exact amounts of frustration while consuming valuable time and simultaneously reducing productivity.
- Software Not Mobile Friendly:
In today's digital world, considerable work happens off the office desk. Employees are busy reading emails even as they commute and corporates finalize and reject budgets, pitches, deals, and proposals while simultaneously attending to many other functions, all from the convenience of their smartphones. Investing in e-signature software incapable of mobile access could make all that effort and investment to streamline and simplify attestation workflows redundant. Steer away from such amateur mistakes and team up with a service provider that permits syncing the application with multiple web-enabled devices.
- Lock-In Trap by Deceitful Vendors:
Here's one you have to be careful about. Just like it is with many products, vendors who are uncertain of their outcome and wish to secure a long-term customer create loopholes that restrain and prohibit naïve clients from disengaging. It is a known sales and marketing strategy that companies of repute seldom use. In the electronic signature industry, they make the verification process app-specific. This means you cannot switch vendors once your subscription with a particular vendor has expired. If you attempt to verify your electronically signed documents on another application, you will be unable to do so. Consider this: you may be required to store certain documents for decades and probably even beyond. What happens if you choose to switch to a more efficient brand? And, what if your service provider shuts shop? With something carrying such heavy weightage, it is best to seek the services of a reliable brand that will stand the test of time without attempting such lock-in tactics.
Because safety comes first!
Just as you are careful and alert while signing the traditional way with paper-and-pens, you must be equally vigilant while electronically signing any document. Your signature carries significant weightage, and the risks are proportional irrespective of your chosen method. Of course, digital signatures make tracing and verifying possible hence they are safer. But, you must be alert and verify every document you intend to sign. Also, always team up with a respected brand that provides security. It is a lot more cost-effective than the old meet-in-person or mail-and-wait methods. Besides, it promotes contactless workflows, an essential criterion for many businesses operating amidst this pandemic. They are also paperless and the most environment-friendly way to conduct your business responsibly. Let's avoid these common mistakes and pave the way for improved e-signing!
Exela is a NASDAQ-listed market leader in Business Process automation and digital transformation. Serving 60% of the Fortune® 100 companies with decades of expertise, Exela is a trusted name globally. A long-standing firm with the expertise, technology, and experience to handle the varied demands of modern businesses, Exela DrySign is the most secure way to sign electronically. Find out more about what DrySign can do for your business today!
DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly, and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.