What’s an electronic signature?
An electronic signature – also known as an e-signature – is a simple, easy and legal way to get consent or approval on electronic documents or forms.
Electronic signatures are:
- Legal – E-signatures are recognized as legally binding in the United States and the majority of countries around the world. There are two Acts that establish the legality of e-signatures in the United States – the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN, 2000) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA, 1999). Both ESIGN and UETA establish that electronic records and signatures carry the same weight and legal effect as traditional paper documents and handwritten signatures.
- Tested – Many industries and Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and tens of thousands of small- to medium-sized businesses rely on and create millions of e-signatures a year.
- Secure – E-signatures are more secure than written and fax signatures. Our process ensures that documents are managed, signed and ultimately delivered to the contracting parties in a secure manner.
- Auditable – The process of gathering e-signatures from multiple parties can be tracked to ensure compliance. Our process establishes a detailed audit trail that logs all events and actions taken by the people who participated in the transaction.
Our e-signature service is provided by Adobe EchoSign. Adobe is the global leader in digital marketing and digital media solutions.
How are electronic signatures better than paper or fax signatures?
E-signatures are more secure…and get the job done faster and cheaper…than paper-based signatures. Here’s why, e-signatures:
- Apply to the entire document – If a paper contract has two or more pages, and the signature is only applied to a single page, unsigned pages could be changed without anyone’s knowledge. With our process, a cryptographic binding (basically, a security code) is applied to the entire document when a signature is applied, creating a certified document. If any information changes on any page, participants are notified that the document was modified after it was signed.
- Can’t be duplicated with a copier or scanner – It’s too easy to forge a paper signature by copying it, scanning it, or tracing it with a pen. An electronic signature is bound to a specific instance of the document and tracked as part of a multi-step signature process. A signature that’s been applied to one document can’t be applied to another.
- Can’t be backdated – With paper signatures, signers are free to enter any date or time they choose, making it possible for one of the parties to change the “active” date of the signing without notifying other parties. With the e-signature process, the time is centrally managed by the hosted service and backdating isn’t allowed.
- Are much easier to authenticate – Authenticating a paper signature requires another handwritten signature from the same signer for comparison. If additional signature samples aren’t available, authenticity can’t be proven. With e-signature, basic authentication of the signer is accomplished via their email address. In addition, a unique signing URL is sent to the signer who clicks on it to activate the signing process. All of the events are tracked by our process, and IP address records are included in a detailed audit log.
How compliant and secure is electronic signature?
Adobe EchoSign meets or exceeds a number of strict industry and regulatory standards. Here’s what it means for financial service providers like Vantage Credit Union:
SSAE 16 Type II SOC 2 – The Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16 measures the controls relevant to financial reporting. The Service Organizational Controls 2 (SOC 2) measures the IT controls of security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. Adobe EchoSign operations meet or exceed SSAE 16 Type II SOC 2 requirements and are audited annually.
PCI DSS – Adobe EchoSign has achieved the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Level 1 compliance as a merchant and service provider. An independent third party audited EchoSign software’s strict technical and operational controls for handling cardholder data, and gave EchoSign an Attestation of Compliance (AoC). This certification assures that Adobe EchoSign is safe, more secure, and compliant with industry best standards.
Are electronic signatures auditable?
Yes, e-signatures are actually more auditable than ink signatures, because they provide additional levels of security, tracking, and control. All e-signatures and audit trails are encrypted, digitally sealed, tamper evident, and securely maintained.