A Digital eSignature is a tool that provides the ability to capture a signature in a secure means through something called cryptography. Depending on the location, these digital signatures can be legally binding on the condition that both parties have given consent. These solutions speed up the process of signing contracts and documents and help in tracking progress. Besides, they also ensure the authenticity of the signer.
The following are the ten things that need to be negotiated when buying a Digital eSignature tool:
- Identity authentication– Signers should be required to provide validation to prove who they are to ensure the right person is signing.
- Task progress and changes tracking– Ask for the ability to track where all contracts are in the process at any time, with the ability to cancel a contract or replace a signer at any time.
- Data Integrity– The DST is able to prove that the contract has not been modified since signing.
- Document Storage– Gives you the ability to collect, upload, store, and share documents in a central location.
- Mobile Signature Capture– The ability to use on all devices, including mobile.
- Audit Trail / Document Analytics– This allows you to collect data on the entire signing process from the signer’s email address device IP to document fingerprint and timestamp, tracking each transaction, documenting evidence of the entire process.
- Customizable templates and branding– Ability to customize the document workflow with your logo and branding.
- Reminders and notifications
- Ease of use
- Multiple users– Allows multi-party signing, which means that you can share documents with multiple users and collect multiple signatures in a chosen order or simultaneously.
The tool needs to be scalable and cost-effective as your business grows. If not, it must be easy to cancel the contract.
You should be able to access support either via email, phone, or live chat. If the tool is hosted, your vendor should have an availability SLA. Ensure that they do not require you to have an ongoing contract to validate signatures.
Whether it’s your own or your client’s data, data should be encrypted and password-protected. Also, look for Single Sign-On capability and multi-factor authentication.
Cloud vs on-premise
With a cloud version, you don’t need a server or technical expertise at your premises. All the data will reside on the vendor’s server. With an on-premise model, 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 devices. There are no recurring subscription charges; however, this model incurs higher upfront costs.
Ensure the tool integrates with your existing infrastructure or has an API solution for integration.
Ask about the company’s stability, reputation, get references and understand the adoption rate. Request a demo and test drive a free trial.
The total cost of ownership
Weigh up the initial investment and ongoing costs to your business, including implementation, updates, and maintenance. Setup should be fast and simple without extensive training. Watch out for expensive plans, or lock-in contracts.
Ownership of data
If the software and data are hosted in a cloud environment, the ownership of the data becomes more important. Ask the vendor if they will have access to your customer’s data, and who will retain the data when you cancel the subscription.
Obtaining consent before using digital signatures is a legal requirement, especially in the event of a dispute. Ask the supplier for their GDPR clause. Evaluate the purpose and location of your contract and confirm that a digital signature would be legally acceptable.