Now is the time to implement electronic signatures
In a world where so much is now digital are you still relying on ‘wet ink’ signatures?
In any regulated business environment there is a need to evidence compliance with policies and standards. Most often this is done by requiring someone to sign a document. Whether you need to obtain these signatures from clients, external parties or your own staff, there will be many benefits of going digital.
In this blog we will cover some of the basics of e-Signatures and answer some of the common questions and potential concerns we hear.
Vega Solutions are partners of OneSpan and use their e-Signature solution, OneSpan eSign both in our own business and integrated with our Sirius portals. We’ll use the example OneSpan eSign to illustrate this article.
With the majority of our colleagues and customers being locked down at home, now is the perfect time to implement electronic signatures.
What is an electronic signature?
An electronic signature or e-signature refers to data in an electronic form which is used to identify the signatory of a document. An e-Signature has the same legal standing as ‘wet ink’ signature as long as it complies to the requirements of the relevant regulations it was created under (e.g. eIDAS in the EU or equivalent local electronic signature legislation).
To be clear a copy and pasted scanned image of a handwritten signature does not constitute a legal e-Signature.
An e-Signature needs to include digital data embedded within an electronic document to verify the identity of the signer and the date, time and their location. The completed document must also be tamper proof, meaning the e-Signature must be capable of being invalidated if the signed document is amended.
Is a digital signature the same as an electronic signature?
Although the terms are frequently used interchangeably, a digital signature refers to the encryption technology used in a number of e-business and e-commerce applications including e-signatures.
Is an e-signature legal?
The most common question surrounding the use of e-signatures is whether they are legal or not. The simple answer is yes, e-signatures are legal in the majority of countries.
In the UK electronic signatures have been legal since 2000, following the introduction of the Electronic Communications Act 2000. The UK currently adheres to the European Union’s eIDAS regulations introduced in 2016. eIDAS defines three different kinds of e-signatures:
- Basic e-signature – usually relies on email authentication only
- Advanced e-signature – includes additional authentication and detects changes in the signed document
- Qualified e-signature – requires a third party digital ID or certificate. This is the highest standard of electronic signature and fully complies with eIDAS and equivalent legislation.
All three Crown Dependencies as well as most of the jurisdictions Vega clients operate in all have electronic signature legislation that meets these same requirements.
OneSpan eSign can be used on its own to provide Basic and Advanced signatures, and works with trusted digital certificate partners to produce Qualified signatures.
How does it work?
Documents are uploaded to the OneSpan portal either manually or as part of pre-built integrations, such as that with Microsoft SharePoint. Vega Solutions have integrated OneSpan eSign into their Sirius portal and can build custom integration into other line of business applications.
Multiple documents can be packaged into a single ‘envelope’ for signing at the same time.
Areas of the document are tagged with metadata to include the signer names, title, company and date. Additional fields can also be added to allow the signer to add other information such as their address.
Once prepared, the signers are notified by email and will be directed to the document in the OneSpan cloud. Once the signer has been authenticated a simple click will add the e-signature.
This process is shown in the workflow below.
Image source: OneSpan eSign.
The signer’s details, including the digital certificate, are embedded in the signed PDF document. Any attempt to change the PDF will invalidate the e-signature.
What are the benefits of electronic signatures?
Electronic signatures are:
- Unless the signatories are in the same building, getting a document signed with a wet ink signature can take days. This is reduced to minutes with an electronic signature.
- Electronic signatures avoid the cost of paper, printing, postage / distribution and storage.
- Enhanced security. Many independent tests have shown that electronic signature are far more secure than wet ink.
- Customer perception. Generally most customers are now more comfortable with signing a document electronically that they are with a traditional signature. Digital channels are trusted by the majority, particularly younger people who will be your high net worth customers of tomorrow.
Why OneSpan Sign with Vega Solutions?
OneSpan have over 80% of their customers in banking and lending. They have the largest share of the e-signature market in these industries and are considered the leading e-signature and e-vaulting solution for financial services.
At Vega Solutions, we understand the need to find a vendor with experience, best practices and a proven track record. OneSpan have a platform that will scale and handle the requirements of all of your use cases in financial services. With Vega you have a trusted OneSpan partner with many years of providing secure, internet based solutions to our clients in the financial services sector.
If you want more information on using OneSpan eSign we can talk your through the process and help you to understand the options. This could range from a simple OneSpan Sign subscription to use their cloud based product, or an integrated solution with your back office document production systems. We have the experience and capability to help with any size of project.
For einquiries and further information please email [email protected] or call us on 0118 971 1180.