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Is My Signature Legally Compliant?

Untangling the world of e-signatures isn't always easy. As the transition from paper-based processes continues, businesses must assess the changes they need to make—and supplementing wet-ink signatures for authorizations and approvals is one important task. At the heart of this change is one critical question: are my e-signatures legally compliant and valid?

When you use tools such as Kofax SignDoc, you can enjoy the rapid re-sults and ease of use of computerized signatures—all while ensuring their legal compliance. What goes into legally establishing a digital/electronic signature, and which are legal?

What Makes a Signature on a Digital Document Legal?

First, to avoid confusion, it's important to understand the difference between some of the terminology used in this space. An "electronic signature," or eSignature, is any electronic mark (typed text, drawn signature, etc.) applied to a document with "intent to sign." It is an online version of the wet-ink signature in terms of verifiability.

On the other hand, a "digital signature" is more than just your personal mark—it's also backed up by a complex encryption scheme behind the scenes that can prove you specifically issued the signature. All digital sig-natures are electronic signatures, but not all electronic signatures are digital. So, which of these solutions is the one that can make contracts and other agreements legally enforceable?

Good news: despite the confusing terminology, both have broad legal acceptance in both the United States and Europe, alongside much of the rest of the world too. In the US, the ESIGN Act of 2000 gives legal force to eSignatures and, thus, digital signatures, too. In the European Union, a regulation known as EIDAS does the same thing. You can count on their legality if you have the right tools to create eSignatures or digital signatures.

Online Signature Stamps vs. True Digital Signatures

Even though both kinds of computer signatures are legally valid, they aren't always the same—and in highly regulated industries, the difference matters. For example, you might encounter web browser-based solutions such as Adobe Sign and Fill, which lets you simply click and apply a signature. Though fast, this is merely an eSignature stamp—not a true digital signature.

A digital signature uses solutions such as certificates and public key cryptography to provide a way to verify the authenticity and originality of an electronically signed document. Furthermore, these signatures "lock" the document—finalizing it so that it cannot be altered again. This system forms the basis of signature trust in many industries.

Compliant, Streamlined Signing Workflows with SignDoc

SignDoc is an ideal solution for enterprises operating at every level of scale. More than just a way to stamp documents with signatures, SignDoc features in-depth integration with GlobalSign, one of the world's leading Certificate Authorities for issuing and backing digital signatures. Combined with integration into software such as Kofax Power PDF, browsers and more, SignDoc delivers a complete end-to-end solution for both basic signature workflows and the most complex multi-user agreements.

A complete embrace of tools for managing digital and electronic signatures is fundamental for successfully driving the digital transformation overtaking enterprises today. Streamlined processes and complete systems integration can enable your business to enjoy all the benefits of highly secure and completely legal computer-based signatures. Say good-bye to the hassles of wet ink signatures and greet the work of tomorrow with SignDoc. Learn more about how to add this functionality to your software lineup today.