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Electronic Signatures 101: An Introduction to e-Signatures for Business

Thanks to the E-SIGN act that was passed in the early 2000s, our world continues to move away from paper documents and toward digital content. The E-SIGN act (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act) allows businesses to use a standard electronic signature that is recognized by the legal system.
In this article, we’ll explain what the difference is between a digital signature and electronic signature (e-signature) and look at some of its key benefits for business.
Then, it’s your turn to figure out if your business might be a good candidate for e-signature technology.
Digital vs. Electronic Signature: What’s the Difference?
To clear up any confusion, a digital signature is not an e-signature. It is the technology used to protect e-documents through data encryption. Essentially, the e-signature makes use of the digital signature to safeguard documents.
Electronic signature process management consists of all of the steps to retrieve and replace legally binding documents, which maintain and automate all business rules, legal and compliance requirements. The Guide to Electronic Signatures from Silanis explains each step in this process.
Benefits of e-Signature Technology
There are many advantages to adopting and implementing an e-signature solution for your business. Some key benefits include:
The speed of transactions increase as signatures can be captured and stored immediately.
Signatures can be captured at the transaction decision-point instead of when the paperwork arrives in the mail.
Legal documents remain secure since they never have to leave the digital state to become paper documents.
There is no risk of documents being “lost in the mail”, misplaced or stolen.
The original signed document becomes a digital product that faces no risk of coffee spills or blowing away in the wind. (Hey! It happens!)
Yet another important benefit is the environmental aspect of e-signatures. Ever since the beginning of our modern computer age we have spoken of the paperless office. With electronic signatures, there is no need for printing multiple copies of a document for distribution and review. In 2009, the US Government spent over $440 million just on printing costs! Needless to say, for large organizations, the savings can be significant.
Implementing an e-Signature Solution
e-Signature solutions can be locally-owned, managed, or cloud based. Each industry will have different requirements that influence the platform that is chosen, however, the benefits remain the same.
Whether you’re creating insurance policies, real estate documents, non-disclosures, purchase orders, sales agreements, contracts for service, or simply want to accelerate the document signing process for your field workers, transactions can be finalized immediately with e-signatures.
And let’s face it, when transactions are enforceable in a court of law—that means peace of mind for you and your customers.

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