I’m often in conversation with attendees of trade shows and networking events and, naturally, the topic of DocuSign comes up when discussing our respective professions. I’d say it’s probably a 60/40 split between the responses of, “DocuSign?!… I LOVE DOCUSIGN!” and “Sorry, who?”
The eSignature market reached a tipping point in the UK a couple of years ago and has begun to catch up with the maturity of its US counterpart ever since. These conversations have therefore evolved to discuss factors such as key differentiators, strategic partners or best practice for implementation.
But in order to educate the remaining 40%, I’ve answered the 8 most common questions about eSignatures and DocuSign.
1. What is an electronic signature?
In simplest terms, an electronic signature, or eSignature, is an electronic indication of intent to agree to or approve the contents of a document and isn’t limited solely to scribbling your mark on a tablet (although it is cool).
eSignatures come in many forms, such as:
- An electronic representation of a handwritten signature
- A unique representation of characters
- A digital representation of characteristics, e.g. finger print, retina
2. What are electronic signatures used for?
Electronic signatures are used for many kinds of documents and transactions, both for personal and business use. Some examples include contracts and agreements, loans and leases, forms and orders, and more.
Pretty much anything that you currently sign on paper or otherwise can be signed electronically (there is a handful of exceptions).
3. Are electronic signatures legal?
In a nutshell, yes. OK, next question…
No, but seriously, almost every civilised country in the world has adopted an eSignature law, and the vast majority recognise DocuSign’s form of electronic signature as meeting the definition of a valid electronic signature.
To put it into context, a DocuSigned document has never been overturned in court. We’ve even created this comprehensive guide to the legality of eSignatures so you can dive deeper into the law in your region.
4. How do I know DocuSign’s electronic signatures are trustworthy?
This is another common question that ties into the legality side of the conversation I usually have, and rightfully so. When documents contain highly sensitive information, you can’t afford to take risks.
As well as being legal, DocuSign’s electronic signatures are:
Secure: Each eSignature is unique, documentable, encrypted, and tamper-evident. We guarantee confidentiality of all transactions and provide multi-faceted verification of signing events to ensure you can sign in the knowledge your data is secure.
Auditable: We provide a complete and extensive audit trail that serves as third-party validation of transaction completion, including information such as the signer’s email address, name, authentication method, IP address with time-stamp, and more.
5. How are electronic signatures better than handwritten “wet” signatures?
There are many ways in which eSignatures out-do their handwritten counterparts, but so as not to bang the digital drum too much, the main areas are:
- COST: The “hard” costs associated with printing, filing, mailing and faxing aren’t comparable to the paper-free processing costs of signing electronically. Essentially all you need is an Internet connection.
- TIME: Traditional paper-based processes make it time-consuming to get documents created, circulated, revised, and signed – both for you AND your customers. eSignatures allow you to automate entire workflows so that transactions move at the speed of digital.
- SECURITY: Wet signatures are easily forged or tampered with, whereas electronically signed documents are tamper-proof (see question 4).
6. What documents are supported?
You can use eSignatures to sign virtually any type of document, whether it be .doc, .docx, .pdf, .xls, .xlsx, .txt, and more.
It’s also worth noting that they are integrated into many of the tools and business systems you probably already use, like Salesforce, Microsoft Box.com, Dropbox, Google, and NetSuite.
DocuSign is also available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices. The list goes on…
7. Who uses eSignatures?
There’s no doubt that paper-heavy industries such as sales and lettings are quick adopters of the technology. But we have users ranging from consumers to large, multi-national enterprises, and from business departments to individual professionals.
There are more than 85 million users worldwide in 188 countries that are DocuSigning, with 85,000 new unique users joining on a daily basis. So you’re certainly not alone!
8. Where do I get more information about how eSignatures work?
If you’re interested in swapping paper for pixels, the best place to start is with our on-demand webinar, “An Introduction to eSignatures and DocuSign.” You’ll to see first-hand how eSignatures work in practice with live demos.
In the meantime, you can try a quick signing demo.