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Debunking six common misconceptions about digital signatures

Professionals who frequently interact with clients or vendors understand how challenging it can be to arrange meetings to get contracts signed. Getting handwritten signatures can be very challenging, especially in scenarios where multiple parties are involved. Digital signature solutions have become widely popular in the corporate world for the convenience of getting documents signed with quick turnaround times. While businesses have slowly started adopting them, there is still confusion among many about their effectiveness and reliability. In this post, we'll debunk a few common misconceptions about digital signature solutions and explain why it's a wiser choice to go paperless.

Misconception #1: Digital signatures and e-signatures are the same

While both digital and e-signatures offer a paperless signing process, they are still vastly different. E-signatures are a replacement for your handwritten signatures in digital form. To create an e-signature, you can either upload an image or file of your handwritten signature or type your name in a stylised font. While e-signatures can be considered valid subject to law, they don't hold proper security measures to validate that the signature came from the person to whom it was attributed. On the other hand, digital signatures use encryption to ensure the authenticity of the signed documents. This holds more robust security, as the identity of signers will be attached to the document based on public key infrastructure (PKI) technology. It also ensures that the content of the documents isn't tampered with during transit. Learn more about the difference between e-signatures and digital signatures.

Misconception #2: Digital signatures aren't helpful for small businesses

It is commonly assumed that digital signature solutions are only useful for large organisations that deal with multiple contracts on a daily basis. However, the truth is that, regardless of the size of your business, if you need an easy and secure way to get your documents digitally signed, then digital signature solutions can be helpful to you. Whether you're a freelancer or a multinational organisation, digital signatures solve the problem of being worried about the legal validity and the authenticity of your documents.

Misconception #3: All digitally signed documents are equally valid

Digital signatures are widely accepted worldwide, but there are instances where they may not be accepted due to a few specific regulatory requirements. While the adoption of digital signatures is rapidly growing, there are still a few countries that have not fully embraced digital signature technology. Therefore, it's always recommended that you review the laws and regulations in your region and the recipient's. In Australia and New Zealand, digital signatures are legally valid and are admissible in court, though with some exceptions for certain documents.
Know more about the legalities here:
New Zealand

Misconception #4: You need to be a tech expert to use digital signatures

Most digital signature solutions are designed to be user-friendly, allowing senders to set up documents easily with reusable templates and workflows. You only need basic familiarity with technology and computer skills to get started. All the complexities of keeping documents safe, such as encryption and authentication, should be taken care of by the software platform you've chosen. However, it's essential to be aware of the legal standards and any specific regulations applicable to your industry or region before using digital signatures.

Misconception #5: Digital signatures are expensive

Most digital signature solutions come with an upfront cost. However, the long-term benefits of implementing them often outweigh these expenses. Digital signatures eliminate the need to travel to get documents signed, printing and shipping charges, and storage costs for paper documents. They also help streamline workflows to get documents signed quickly and more efficiently. Many digital signature solution providers offer flexible pricing plans to accommodate your requirements and budget.

Misconception #6: You need to install special software or hardware to use digital signatures

In most cases, the person signing the document with a digital signature doesn't have to install any special software. Many digital signature solutions work with various popular web browsers such as Google Chrome, Safari, and Mozzila Firefox. For example, with Zoho Sign, there is no need for the recipient to create an account to sign a document. They only need to receive an email containing a unique link that enables them to access the file and add their signature. The sender can add an extra layer of security by requiring the recipient to enter an authentication code.

We hope this post helped clear the air on some commonly misunderstood assumptions about digital signatures. If you're looking to implement an easy-to-use digital signature solution for your business, we encourage you to check out Zoho Sign. Our feature-rich digital signature solution has helped countless businesses streamline their document signing process. Read our case studies to learn more. 

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