Choosing between traditional handwritten signatures and electronic signatures was a tough choice for small and medium-sized businesses not very long ago. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it the lockdowns stretching on for months on end and social distancing norms that are still an integral part of this global phenomenon. In these circumstances, several organizations and companies have made electronic signature solutions a part of their everyday workflow
Until recently, SMBs and other smaller industries in the UK have either avoided the use of dubious technology or have fallen prey to substandard signature applications that simply copy-pasted images insensitive documentation, with virtually no security.
What is an electronic signature, and what are the types?
Electronic signatures provide users a way to sign documents in the online world, much like one signs a document with a pen in the offline world. Electronic signatures come in many forms:
- An electronic representation of a handwritten signature
- A unique representation of characters
- A digital representation of characteristics, for example, fingerprint or retina scan
- A signature created cryptographically
An electronic signature is defined as data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign in Article 3.10 of the eIDAS Regulations 2016.
Electronic signatures can be divided into three types:
- Simple electronic signatures – these include scanned signatures and tickbox plus declarations. In the UK, eIDAS recognizes the other two types of electronic signatures produced using public-key cryptography:
- Advanced Electronic Signatures (AdES) – uniquely linked to and capable of identifying the signatory, and are linked to data within the signature that can detect any changes made. It is created using electronic signature creation data that the signatory can use under his or her sole control, with a high level of confidence.
- Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) - an advanced electronic signature that is created by a Qualified Electronic Signature Creation Device (QSCD), based on a qualified certificate.
Also Read : Blockchain - The Future of Digital Signatures
Background and History of Electronic Signatures in the UK
Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 on electronic identification and trust services commonly known as eIDAS (electronic IDentification, Authentication and trust Services) provides the legal framework for electronic signatures in the EU by defining and regulating electronic signatures, including the QES, which offers the highest degree of security for electronic signatures. Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the eIDAS Regulation was adopted into UK law and amended by The Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions. In addition, the existing UK trust services legislation, The Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Regulation 2016 was also amended. Together, these regulations are referred to in this guidance as the UK eIDAS Regulations and are tailored for use in the UK.
Compliance and Security
Electronic signatures are only as secure as the business processes and technology used to create them. High-value transactions need high-quality electronic signatures. Any electronic signature platform that you employ for your business must have the following features:
- Full legal compliance to Regulations of relevant countries
- Robust audit trails for tracking and detecting any changes on your document
- Global acceptance and compliance
- Enhanced security and privacy
DrySign, an electronic signature platform benefiting from decades of experience in business process automation and digital transformation, is an ideal combination of all the above features and many more. Here is why DrySign is a reliable and secure electronic signature service partner for your business.
- DrySign is a legally binding electronic signature solution that is fully compliant with the UK eIDAS Regulations.
- DrySign is a secure solution that puts users to rest about the safety and privacy of their sensitive documents.
- A powerful and comprehensive audit trail allows DrySign users to track every document, every entry, and every change made on their document if being used by multiple signatories.
In summary, to ensure that your crucial paperwork is always safeguarded, it is vital to identify an electronic signature software that guarantees protection and abides by the laws of the country of use as well as global digital security laws.
Find out everything you need to know about DrySign, Exela’s proprietary electronic signature platform, and make the switch to easy, fast, and secure documentation today!