How to Use Electronic Signatures?


DocuWare market research surveyed over 1,200 employees in the United States and 1,400 in Britain (UK). More than 70% of US businesses use electronic signatures, while 83% of UK companies say they do so for most or all business processes.

We see the need for electronic signatures as a global company and wanted to know more about why it is not being widely adopted. Even among those who have implemented electronic signatures, many aren't fully proficient in the technology.

Our respondents have the authority to sign documents for their companies. They are therefore the best people to understand the problems that e-signature solutions can cause. Because the sentiment and obstacles that slow down e-signature adoption is the same in both countries, we will keep this blog brief. For a more detailed overview of the survey results in the UK, check out these infographics. We would love to share with you our findings!

What is an electronic signature?

Electronic signatures can be used for a number of reasons, including:

  • You can sign a document by entering your name and other identifying data such as your ID number.
  • You can sign a digital document using your real signature by using a stylus or your finger on a touchscreen.
  • Signing with credentials may require password entry, biometrics or encryption, and coordination with a trusted Trust Service Provider (TSP).

This option is recommended for businesses because it is the most secure, particularly when dealing with compliance-related items or contracts.

What is the working principle of electronic signatures?

This depends on the type of option you choose. The image of your signature is captured with a stylus and attached to the digital document. However, more sophisticated e-signatures employ verification technology to verify that signatures are genuine and secure. These signatures can be used to provide audit trails and encryption, as well as other backend tools that ensure authenticity.

Let's take a look at how these processes work.

  • A document is sent out to stakeholders and needs to be signed
  • The user must confirm their identity. You can do this via a TSP like Validated ID or DocuSign, or by using biometrics that uses finger scans or technology that measures the way a person signs their name. This includes the shape and lengths of the pen strokes used and the pressure used.
  • The digital document includes the data concerning the electronic signature.
  • The company will continue processing the document with a verifiable and trackable signature.

Why would you want to use an electronic signature?

Our survey revealed that more than half of respondents said electronic signatures had a positive impact on the time it takes to complete processes. 39% claimed that it has saved their employees time.

Businesses also reported other benefits such as:

  • Compliance and security requirements should be adhered to more closely
  • Ability to eliminate paper and all associated costs from business processes
  • Reduction in dependence on printing, scanning, and postage
  • Remote workflow support improved
  • Better record-keeping
  • Support customer service, sales, HR, and other departments with instantaneous document retrieval
  • Reduction in errors associated with data entry, filing, and retrieval

These benefits can be compared to common problems businesses face when using pen-and-paper signatures. Our survey respondents identified the following obstacles:

  • If you don't have a clear understanding of the workflow, it is difficult to track down documents and follow up with people.
  • To speed up the process of obtaining the correct signatures in order to execute a contract fully, increase the time
  • It is both expensive and time-consuming to store and manage paper documents.
  • Data entry and filing mistakes can lead to rework or worse business consequences such as sales loss.

How do businesses use electronic signatures?

Many business processes use electronic signatures. In most cases, pen-and-paper signatures can be replaced by more efficient and less costly e-signatures.

These are just a few examples.

  • Multiple people must sign a contract. In order to complete the contract, a paper document must be sent to all parties in the correct order. Multiple people can sign and work on the same document using an e-signature. This eliminates bottlenecks.
  • To expedite service, you will need to have authorization. You don't have to wait for the mail, fax, or scanning. Instead, you can quickly obtain the document signed electronically.
  • Working with partners overseas You're working with overseas partners. Paper documents can travel thousands of miles. Even if you pay high fees for expedited mailing, it will slow down the process. Electronic documents can be sent almost immediately and signed from anywhere in the world.

Why some businesses don't use electronic signatures?

Why is only a third of US companies fully adopting electronic signatures within their businesses, despite all the benefits? It means that you can use it in all processes. There are several factors that prevent businesses from fully adopting digital signature technology.

  • It is not allowed in company policies.
  • Questions about compliance and legal regulations, as well as whether e-signature can be used
  • Beliefs that there will be a steep learning curve, which can cause business disruption
  • Beware that e-signature could open the door to more fraud or cybersecurity vulnerabilities
  • Integration of the technology with existing systems is required or customers, vendors, or business partners must be brought on board.

Learn how electronic signatures can be a benefit to your business

Although some businesses have legitimate concerns, there are many reasons why they don't implement e-signatures. These include fear, misunderstandings, or giving too much weight on imagined obstacles.

Electronic signature FAQ

How can you create an electronic signature?

DocuWare is a document management software solution that includes e-signature capabilities. Stand-alone applications are also available. A DMS system allows you to use the signing process in conjunction with electronic forms. It can also be integrated into a workflow that takes an employee-facing document (or contract) from creation to execution. These documents can then be safely archived for quick retrieval.

Secure & Reliable eSignature Tools For Business - Try It Now

Most digital signatures require some setup. This can be done by working with a TSP, which generates encrypted keys and provides two-factor authentication with or without a verification certificate and biometrics.

What are the different types of digital signatures?

Three types of E-signatures can be classified:

Simple: The simplest signature type is not encrypted. A simple signature is one that you sign on the delivery person's mobile phone when you receive a parcel. Or you can check a box online to confirm that you have read the company's security policies.

A simple signature is all that's needed to prove who signed the document. This informal signature is used to sign documents when there's a small risk that their legal validity could be challenged.

Advanced: This type of signature is encrypted using a key that was created by a TSP and is only accessible to its signer. Without the key, data is encrypted so that it cannot be read or used by anyone else. Advanced signatures can be obtained by two-factor authentication. This could be done via email or text message. This category also includes biometric signatures. Advanced electronic signatures are required to verify the identity of signers in case there is a dispute.

Qualified A qualified signature, which is the most secure option, is legally binding in most instances. This type of e-signature is secure because the TSP issues a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of the signer. These digital signatures can be verified and secured, so they are often as heavy as pen-and-ink signatures.

Are digital signatures safe?

The signing process is performed in hardware security modules or HSMs. These modules are managed in a secure cloud server infrastructure. Hardware security modules, which are crypto processors designed to protect software keys and signatures, can be found in a secure cloud server infrastructure.

Next step

Trust is the foundation for any exchange of goods or services. When contracts or other agreements have been executed, a signature acts as a symbol of trust. Electronic signatures are more secure than pen-and-paper signatures. They can verify that signatures are authentic and save your company time. Your company can meet all state, federal, and industry-specific compliance requirements in terms of data security and protection.