A Digital Signature Tool (DST) provides the ability to capture a secure signature using cryptography. Depending on your location these digital signatures are legally binding as long as both parties have given consent. These solutions can speed up the process of signing documents and help you track progress whilst ensuring authenticity of the Signer.
Many people ask the difference between a digital signature and an electronic eSignature. A digital signature is a type of eSignature that is more secure and is encoded with encrypted data that is permanently embedded within the document as changes are made to avoid tampering.
We recommend that you compare at least three products. Here are our top ten things we think you need to add to your requirements list:
1 – Top 10 Features – Consider what features you need, here are some core features you should expect/ ask for:
· Identity Authentication – Signers have to prove they are who they say they
are, usually by providing some validation. Therefore the signing person
cannot falsely deny signing the contract and not possible to falsely claim
someone signed the contract when they did not
· Task progress and changes tracking – ability to track where all contracts
are in the process, be able to cancel a contract signing mid process, or
replace a Signer.
· Data Integrity – be able to prove that the contract has not been modified
· Document Storage – ability to collect, upload, store, share documents in a
· Mobile Signature Capture – ability for employees to use on all devices
including mobile, offering a seamless experience on IOS, Android or web.
· Audit Trail / Document Analytics – collect data on the entire signing
process from the Signers email address, device IP to document fingerprint
to timestamp, tracking each transaction, documenting evidence of the
entire transaction this is critical for legal evidence
· Customizable templates and branding – customise the document
workflows with your logo
· Reminders – will send you reminders and instant notifications
· Ease of use – if intuitive and easy to use, the adoption rate is likely to be
· Multiple Users - Allow multi party signing – sharing documents with
multiple users and collect multiple signatures in a chosen order or
2 – Scalability – is the tool still scalable and cost effective as you grow?
3– Ongoing Support – ensure you get ongoing support for your tool and configuration. Should be able to access via email, phone or live chat, if hosted they should have an availability SLA. Make sure that the vendor does not require you to have an ongoing contract to validate signatures
4 – Security – ensuring the security of yours and your client’s contracts and data is of the utmost importance from hacking or security breaches – ensure all sensitive data is encrypted competently or password protected – losing sensitive information will mean losing the trust of your customer. Also look for Single Sign On capability (SSO), and multi factor authentication.
5 – Cloud vs On Premise – with a cloud version you don’t need a server or technical expertise on your side – all the info resides on the vendors server – with on prem you own the software and it is physically hosted by you on your hardware – you have direct access to the servers and the contracts and documents are stored on your storage, and no recurring subscription charges, however this will include a higher upfront cost
6 – Integration - make sure the DST integrates with your existing tools, or has an API solution for integration
7 – Vendor Assessment – ensure company stability and reputation, ensure you get references, and conduct due diligence and understand the adoption rate. Request a demo and test drive a free trial.
8 - Total cost of ownership – weigh up the cost of the tool and associated costs to your company including – implementation, time required to update and maintain. Setup should be fast and simple, no extensive training. Watchout for expensive plans, or lock in contracts Also best to try and get a free trial or a free plan to get started.
9 – Ownership of Data – if the software and data is being hosted in a cloud environment the ownership of data becomes more important, you should own the data. Ask the vendor if they will have access to your customers data, and what happens when you leave the subscription, who will retain data.
10 – Legal Compliance – Collect users consent to using digital signatures, this is a legal requirement, also ensure the product meets other local laws including data privacy. Check the GDPR clause. The customers data and where it is stored and who can access it is very important. Evaluate the use case for your documents and confirm that a digital signature would be legally acceptable