Companies that integrate e-signature technology into their business, enabling clients and associates to sign contracts and other important documents electronically, can rest assured that all of their documents are legally valid. With the enactment of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, more commonly referred to as the E-Sign Act, documents signed electronically cannot be denied admissibility in court simply because they are in electronic form. In short, electronic signatures hold the same legal validity as hand-drawn signatures.
Enactment of the E-Sign Act The E-SIGN Act was passed on June 30, 2000, with the purpose of supporting global business transactions. The law removed obstacles created by e-commerce and conducting operations online. The speed and efficiency of legally binding electronic signatures has since helped the e-commerce industry grow at a tremendous rate. Some legal experts believe that contracts signed electronically are, in fact, more legally defensible than contracts signed with pen and paper, as electronic signatures often include identity authentication data. That being said, all electronic signatures are not equal.
Validity of Electronic Signatures The E-Sign Act laid down the requirements that must be met for an electronic signature to be considered legally valid. The most basic of these requirements is that the signer must intentionally express consent. The act further requires that documents signed electronically must be tamper-proof, and stored in a secure, accessible location. These stored documents are also required to contain time stamps and identity authentication data
In the event that a particular document is questioned in court, the time trail and identity authentication data provide an obvious advantage over documents executed with a traditional signature. Many electronic signature solutions also keep a secure archive of signed documents, making it easy to retrieve documents that otherwise would have been lost and forgotten.
Process Made Simple Companies around the world look to cloud-based e-signature applications to ensure the legality of their important documents and contracts. These tools eliminate the hassle of signing a document electronically by providing all the required functionality to collect legally binding signatures online. Apart from maintaining an audit log for every document, electronic signature software providers also allow users to view a document’s status, send reminders to signers, and even trash unwanted documents before they are received. They also securely store every document online and offer a variety of features designed to help streamline the signing process. Simply put, electronic signature providers make a typically hassle-ridden process smooth and painless.