- April 5, 2022
- Karolin Koestler, Senior Marketing Manager EMEA
Some people worry about the cost and time involved in adopting eSignatures, especially if they’re using an existing software solution. However, they need not be.
That’s because there are many affordable solutions that work with existing software systems. Foxit eSign, for example, works in concert with Dropbox and Google Drive. Yet, while the costs associated with eSignatures are minimal, there are a couple of concerns worth exploring.
The legality of digital signatures
Many businesses are hesitant to adopt eSignatures in the United States because they’re concerned about the legality of digital signatures. Even companies that offer online digital signature services often feel there are significant limitations to adopting them. Some of these documents are considered sensitive and cannot be signed digitally. Some businesses have concerns about the use of electronic signatures in certain circumstances and don’t want to risk making mistakes.
Although there are some concerns with using eSignatures, the legal framework for eSignatures is generally more liberal than the ones of physical signatures.
Cybersecurity and privacy
Some companies are concerned about the security of digital signatures. They worry that eSignatures aren’t as secure as old-fashioned wet signatures on printed paper.
The truth is, digital signatures allow users to communicate securely while working remotely, without the need of a stable encrypted connection.
Digital signatures permit three things about a message that can be verified:
- Authentication. Since digital signatures are created with the sender’s encrypted key, it’s possible for the recipient to verify their identity.
- Data Integrity. A message that’s intercepted during transit and altered by a third party will cause the recipient’s digital certificate verification to fail. This gives the recipient an easy way for them to verify if their data security has been compromised.
- No repudiation. It’s assumed that only the sender knows their private key when using digital signatures. This is because the recipient can use the digital signature to verify their identity. It’s also possible for them to use the digital signature to prove that they have received a message.
These three factors have made digital signatures the standard for protecting messages and verification of their author.
There are several reasons why eSignatures are a good choice. they can be used for financial and legal transactions and are widely accepted by organizations. They also help to reduce the burden on the environment. In the United States, the average paper usage of individuals is 680 pounds per person. They also help to reduce the need for printing and mailing documents. And, as discussed, they can be an affordable and secure way to streamline your business processes.
At the heart of the discussion lie two factors that make eSignatures a foregone conclusion in the long run.:
1) We are just about at the limits of the economies of scale regarding paper usage. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise of that ceiling was hit 20 years ago, with morning newspapers eating up half the Pacific Northwest. Yet, here the world sits trying to wrap their heads around the fact that every increase in the user base of people consuming paper is an asymptotic curve against which we are never going to meet. It is akin to approaching the speed of light; every increase in speed (the need for paper documents) requires greater and greater amounts of energy (the finite wood resources with which we are all going to have to deal with)
2) There is an unspoken mantra amongst business mavens that anything digital is not concrete, and is therefore not to be given the same weight in terms of personal interactions. If you cannot shake someone’s hand over a h. , or a negotiation, then how is it as valid as facing someone across a table, or desk.
Handwritten signatures came about as a response to the tradition of sealing a document with one’s own wax imprint. One might imagine that the same argument against hand-written signatures was put forth as is being done with eSignatures now.
One aspect of your post is missing though. The sheer volume, weight and expense of paper compared to digital documentation.
One more aspect is in need of mentioning: the cost of storing, securing and guarding all that paper documentation.