Are there Security Concerns with Cloud-Based e-Signature Services?

E-signature services offer an innovative and convenient way for businesses of any size to help cut costs, improve efficiency and offer convenience to customers or clients.

Delivery of documents and forms through the Internet or cloud-based services takes just seconds. This means less waiting, more working and quicker processing. The technology has matured and grown in popularity. Currently, four of the top 10 United States banks, various branches of US state and federal government and military branches use e-signature technology.

With the sensitive data contained on many of these forms, one might question the safety and security of digital transmission and e-signatures. To help ensure that your data is safe from interception or unauthorized viewing, e-signature providers use a number of security solutions.

E-signature and Cloud Service Myths

Despite the level of security offered by many electronic signature service providers, there are still many security myths that one might hear. While these two myths are simply unfounded, checking with a service provider can provide in-depth answers to other worries and concerns.

Myth #1: Anyone can create a fake digital signature. When the technology is used properly, this is not only nearly impossible, but also more difficult than with traditional signatures. Physical signatures can be mimicked, manipulated and edited. Every step of the digital signature process is monitored and recorded as it happens. This makes any intrusion or manipulation virtually impossible. This process also makes file and document retention affordable and easy for any duration needed.

Myth #2: Without physical documents or meetings, electronic signatures will not stand up in court. Most major countries have some form of legislation that explains and validates the electronic signature process. This means any purchases, agreements or other important business deals are safe, secure and official. Even in countries without a formal policy, electronic signatures are often considered valid, binding agreements when proof is provided for the identity of the signing party.

Keeping Sensitive Data Secure

Many methods are available help secure the e-signing process. Some of these are part of requirements laid out in the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN). Others are special features that are unique to each service provider.

When searching for an e-signature service provider, always check their security policies. Common security features include:

  • User authentication: Most major service providers require both the business and client to authorize their account before applying a signature. This helps to ensure that only those parties with prior authorization can view forms or documents. User authentication also provides proof that a specific person applied their digital signature to the document. In court or the business world, this helps to provide identification in the event of a dispute. By choosing an e-signature provider with cloud storage, these important identifiers can easily be stored indefinitely.
  • Data Encryption: By encrypting any data transmitted between the business and the client, an extra layer of protection is added to the process. This means that even if the client is signing a sensitive document from their phone in a coffee shop, the data contained on the form is nearly impossible to intercept. Bank-level encryption is standard with most providers. Even if someone was to manage to intercept the data, it could take multiple lifetimes to decrypt any useful information.
  • Remote Storage: Integrating processing and storage with a cloud-based solution means that even if a business is the victim of a cyber attack or their main server crashes, these sensitive documents and forms are safe. When integrated with an automated remote backup solution, both of these technologies offer a level of security that traditional pen and paper signatures cannot.
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