Signing digital documents has proven to be more convenient than paper-based document transactions. Learn how to sign digital documents safely in this blog.
One of the biggest changes in businesses today is the shift from traditional work arrangements to a remote setting. Thanks to modern technology, remote work operations have been made possible. Various technological advancements and innovations have made it convenient and accessible for team members to collaborate and discuss ideas online. It has also enhanced online approvals and the signing of digital documents.
With e-signatures, digital communications and transactions were made easier and more accessible. It also allows businesses to develop an audit trail and signing workflow tracking to monitor who accessed, opened, signed, or made modifications to the document.
Whether your company transitioned to a remote work arrangement or you’re looking to shift to digitalization and eliminate the printing and manual handling of documents, exploring tools or software that will allow you to sign documents online free can be a good place to start.
With that said, here are tips you can consider for signing digital documents safely:
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1. Know The Difference Between Electronic and Digital Signature
Understanding the difference between digital and electronic signatures is important before you sign digital documents. To start, the electronic signature can be a drawn signature or a picture of a handwritten signature. You can use your finger or mouse to write an electronic signature on the screen, and later, you can transfer it to your document.
Adding electronic signatures to a document such as a PDF or Word document is generally straightforward. However, the downside is that they don't offer the best security, as they can easily be spoofed or copied. On the other hand, a digital signature will be a better option if you're concerned about weak security measures.
Digital signatures are a type of electronic signature that makes use of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology. Thanks to this system, altering the signature on the document leads it to be deemed invalid. When you sign your document using a digital signature, your signature will undergo authentication against electronic fingerprints. Doing this helps to prove beyond any reasonable doubt a person's identity.
Because of this process, digital signatures are considered to offer improved security to safeguard critical digital documents. Using them in signing digital documents can give you peace of mind of knowing whether your electronic documents have been altered.
2. Appoint Signatories for Specific Types of Digital Documents
One of the best ways to secure the signing of digital documents is to determine the right recipients and signatories. This is especially true since not all decision-makers within your organization may be authorized to sign or approve all types of documents or forms.
Depending on the document type, you can designate a workflow and hierarchy of signatories to read and affix their signatures to the digital document. For example, if you’re processing contracts or legal documents, department supervisors could review and sign them before they get forwarded to senior managers and directors.
Doing so allows you to promote enhanced security for confidential documents and create a standard signature workflow within your organization.
3. Track The Status Of Digital Documents For Signing
You're likely to encounter delays even with an excellent workflow or signature process. For example, one of the signatories may fail to notice the notification regarding the document needing their signature, overlooking it in the process. On the other hand, some may also decline to sign, as they may have comments or require revisions before affixing their digital signatures.
Regardless of the case, efficient document signing software can allow you to track actions related to your digital documents. You can then view the status of the file and know where the delays are in your workflow. It lets you take the necessary measures to resolve the issue and complete the signing process in time.
But aside from tracking the document status, authorized personnel can also check who recently accessed the file and whether or not there were modifications. This goes a long way in promoting transparency and accountability within your organization while streamlining your company's digital signing process.
4. Avoid Copy or Pasting Your Digital Signature
As mentioned earlier, digital signatures offer enhanced security compared to traditional electronic signatures. This is especially true since most digital signing software works by capturing and storing an encrypted format of your signature in their system, which they’ll use to compare and verify future signatures.
In a nutshell, copy-pasting your signature, especially from an old to a current document, won’t certify your signature’s authenticity. And for a digital signature to be counted as valid and legally enforceable, the methodology of signing must be well-grounded.
5. Keep Backups Of Signed Digital Documents
Part of safeguarding signed digital documents include taking proactive measures to prepare for the worst, and this is why it’s always best to store backups of all your documents. Whether it’s a physical copy of your digitally signed document or a duplicate of the file, having a backup means you won’t be entirely relying on a single signed copy.
With that said, you need to be creative and not store it in your drive or cloud using the same name to avoid confusion. Rename the document to make sure you can differentiate it from the original copy.
Wrapping It Up
As a business owner, you need to keep up with the times and the digital world, and one way to do this is by signing documents digitally. This is more important than ever, with remote work today being seen as the norm. It's amidst this digital transformation that digital document signing has become even more convenient than ever. But during these times, there's also the need to be proactive in safeguarding digital documents.
Knowing this, you must think of a safe way to sign your documents digitally. This way, you can confidently validate the identity of all your signatories to build greater trust between all the relevant parties. To help you with this, this post has outlined useful tips for signing digital documents safely. Hopefully, by implementing the tips and insights above, you'll be able to make the most of this advanced technology while protecting your business.