We’ve all heard about digital transformation and how companies are becoming increasingly more tech savvy and the importance of transitioning their operations digitally to save time and money. Digital transformation is not merely a buzzworthy trend. According to Statista, worldwide spending on digital transformation reached 1.59 trillion U.S. dollars in 2021, an increase of more than 20 percent during the previous year. Given that, it’s no wonder that more and more companies are looking for technology solutions to meet their needs. But what are digital signatures and why should you consider introducing them to your company?
Electronic Signatures vs Digital Signatures
Before going into greater detail, we must first address what we mean by electronic signatures and digital signatures. Both types of signatures have their advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s be honest, electronic signatures are easier to create and can be done without the need for potentially expensive software or hardware, but they are less secure. They can easily be forged, and the content tampered with.
Digital signatures, on the other hand, are more secure since they require a unique digital identity, however it can require special software or hardware. However, with the right partner this can add a host of benefits.
Top Five Reasons to Consider Switching to Digital Signatures
- Efficiency – Digital signatures will help save time and increase productivity because it is a secure, fast, and effective way to sign and authenticate a document. In the traditional way of signing various physical papers – be it a contract, record, or report – one would first need to print and send the documents, then the signee would then sign by hand and send it back. This is very time consuming especially for cross border signing, which is commonplace in Europe. However, with digital signatures, you can sign, send, and verify any document across any part of the world in minutes.
- Saves Time and Money – As mentioned above, you can save time as well as money by using e-signing solutions. There is less expenditure required on printer costs, paper, courier, or travel. Just sign and send the document electronically.
- Authenticity & Compliance – Digital signatures ensure the authenticity and integrity of the document, minimizing compliance risks. If a document is signed with a digital signature, it can easily be verified against the public key in the digital signature. It prevents any scope of data tampering or data modification.
- Streamlined Document Flow – Digital signatures ensure that documents flow from signee to authenticator in an easy and smooth transaction. They can be used within an existing workflow, business process or application you are using. This allows the documents to be in one place and ready to use.
- Convenience – During most B2B sales transactions there are agreements that need to be signed by both parties. A company may lose sales if the client finds the process too complicated and time consuming.
But What About Producing Qualified Signatures?
You might want to consider taking it a step further and produce a signature which meets certain legal standards. This type of signature is known as a Qualified Electronic Signature, or QES.
As businesses expand their digital operations, Qualified Electronic Signatures are becoming more important as they need to secure the content and comply with regulations.
These signatures are legally recognized in many countries, which means they can be used to sign contracts, agreements, and other documents with confidence. A QES can also offer increased security; they are verified using digital certificates that identify the signer and guarantee the authenticity of the document.
Some countries, such as those in the EU, require QES to be used to create legally binding electronic signatures. This signature type is equivalent to a handwritten signature in terms of legal effect under eIDAS standards. It is accepted in all the EU’s member nations.
Qualified Electronic Signatures provide a secure way to digitally sign documents while still providing legal protection under international law. Over time, we may find that non-European companies utilize qualified electronic signatures if they have employees in Europe. Investing in technology to help deploy QES is worth considering for increased security measures, compliance, and convenience purposes.
It’s clear that there is a growing need for digital signatures within organizations, and it plays a big part in the digital transformation journey. You should start by asking yourself what type of signature you are looking to introduce into the organization and why. If the answer is a digital signature or QES, you should consider investing in a technology solution to deliver the potential volume required. There are several vendors offering various digital signature solutions to meet every use case who can assist you in digital signing journey.