Even though documents have increasingly transformed from paper-based to digital, many still need signatures. Whether your business documents take the form of a PDF, a Word document or something else, very often they still need your John Hancock. Enter the electronic signature.
Let’s look at e-signature law and exactly how this technology can benefit your business.
What is an e-signature?
Electronic signature technology allows you to insert a pre-saved signature into a digital document. You are, in effect, signing the document — digitally.
This is especially useful in finance, real estate, and legal services, all industries with an abundance of contracts and other documents that require signatures. But electronic signature technology can be valuable in virtually any industry.
Regulations have been signed off
Because a signature has such an important legal purpose, it’s important to know how they’re regarded in the eyes of the law.
In the US, it’s important to know about two e-signature laws:
- The United States Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) made eSignatures valid in contracts used in interstate and foreign commerce.
- The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) is intended to harmonize state laws regarding the retention of paper records such as checks and the validity of e-signatures.
Throughout the rest of the world, regulations vary from country to country. Yet, as we move into a globalized future, it’s inevitable that consensus will increase to keep pace with technological advancement and globalization.
One thing we can all on is that e-signatures are here to stay. And, as all organizations and industries move toward digital transformation (or risk being outpaced by the competition), even some of the most stubbornly paper-based and technologically lagging businesses are incorporating e-signatures into their business processes.
The bad old days
Remember how often this used to happen?
Someone creates a document. They print it, then chase down a colleague to sign it and another to countersign. The document is then either faxed elsewhere or scanned back into the computer system to be emailed and/or stored electronically.
The next day, the document needs to be amended. So, it’s printed again, and the entire process must be repeated. And we all know how many times some documents require amendments.
The result? A lot of unnecessary printing, a lot of time wasted chasing signatures and a lot of business inefficiency.
Electronic signatures in your workflows
Thankfully, much of the world has moved on from situations like this (although surprising numbers of businesses still use fax machines).
Organizations now use digital workflows for many of their processes. Nintex Workflow is one tool that helps streamline and automate document creation, approval/signing, and transmission.
Consider the flow of a standard contract. The document is created based on a template, with personalized data automatically inserted. The relevant employees are electronically prompted to sign the contract, and the document is automatically forwarded to the next person in the process.
With Nintex Sign powered by Adobe Sign, industry-leading digital signature technology is embedded within these workflows. The signature process is seamlessly and quickly completed, which eliminates bottlenecks.
It’s also simple for anyone to create workflows using our easy-to-use, no-code, drag-and-drop interface. You don’t need the IT department to create or modify digital workflows that include e-signatures.
Staying on the right side of the law
Because it’s powered by Adobe Sign, Nintex Sign is certified compliant with ISO 27001, SSAE SOC 2 Type 2, FedRAMP Tailored, and PCI DSS. It also helps you meet industry-specific compliance requirements such as HIPAA, FERPA, GLBA, and FDA 21 CFR Part 11.
Nintex Sign can also impose stringent signer authentication policies to ensure credentials are provided for signatures, if necessary, all while securely tracking and recording data in an audit trail. Nintex Sign also helps you document intent and consent, allowing you to prove that the signer wanted to sign and that they had the chance to opt-out.
Ready for on-premises or cloud usage
Nintex Sign works across a variety of platforms. For businesses using on-premises computing environments, Nintex Sign is now available for SharePoint 2013, 2016 and 2019.
And it’s also available for Nintex for Office 365, allowing organizations further along in their digital transformation to take advantage of e-signatures in their digital processes.
Pick up a (digital) pen
With clear benefits, ease of implementation and regulatory acceptance, the e-signature has moved from an emerging technology to one widely adopted across the business spectrum.
And just like with other technology advances, organizations are faced with the same choice as always — get on board or risk getting left behind. In this case, it’s an easy decision, because the benefits far outweigh the costs.
This is why, when it comes to digital signature technology, more and more businesses are asking, “Where do I sign?”