Signatures are crucial to organizations. It’s widely used across different departments for various purposes, such as finalizing contracts and agreements. However, conventional ink-based signatures may not be an efficient solution to the constantly growing and evolving industry. This is where electronic signatures will come into the spotlight.
Electronic signatures, or e-signature, are an efficient and foolproof way to approve digital documents. In addition, it’s legally binding, replacing ink-based signatures in all forms of virtual processes—thanks to the E-Sign Act of 2000.
However, with great innovation comes significant risks, particularly cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity cases continue to increase, which may cost businesses and organizations millions of dollars. And electronic signatures may only pave the way for cybercriminals to launch attacks. Hence, it’s highly crucial to ensure they’re secured.
In this article, you’ll get to know some of the most effective tips to keep your electronic signatures secured as much as possible.
But if you still don’t grasp how e-signatures function, now is the time to explore the internet. By doing this, you can get more information on how they operate, such as how to make a signature.
Laws regulating electronic signatures, such as the E-Sign Act of 2000, state the types of e-signatures to be used in the electronic signing of digital documents. For example, a qualified e-signature may differ from a traditional signature due to the certification required by reliable service providers.
However, such laws and regulations never mention anything about security techniques. This is why it’s crucial to consider user authentication and electronic identity. That being said, you’ll need to:
- Authenticate all users before e-signing.
- Register the authentication to your e-signature records.
- Also, make sure your electronic signature solution has the following features below. Otherwise, it’d be best to look for other options.
- Multiple authentication methods, such as email verification, user ID or password authentication, Q&A authentication, and digital certificates.
- Ability to configure multiple authentication methods at the same time.
- Ability to customize authentication methods based on the needs of your organization.
- A wide range of options for in-person authentication, such as SMS passwords and hand-off affidavits.
- With all these features in the palm of your hands, authenticating every user and signatory will be more effective and efficient.
Keep All Documents Protected
When sending documents to be signed, it’s vital to secure them using a strong password, especially if they’re highly confidential. This will help prevent non-recipients from opening and making unnecessary edits to the said files.
On the other hand, a strong password should:
- Have a strong combination of both numbers and letters.
- Have a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters.
- It has to have special characters.
You will not easily remember a password built using the criteria above, nor will it be easily understood by anyone who might have had a short glimpse of it.
When providing a password for the encrypted document, make sure it’ll come from a different file. For example, you may email the password-protected document first and follow it up with a new email containing the password. This way, you’ll be able to protect it from the wrong hands.
Aside from password protection, you may also consider making your files non-editable. This will ensure that no one, even you, will be able to make damaging edits to the crucial documents you send.
Encrypt Your Emails
Email encryption is an effective technique to keep the content of your emails secured and protected from anyone other than the intended recipient. It often requires authentication before anyone sees what’s inside the email.
Here’s how you can encrypt your emails:
- Enable S/MIME hosting (a type of email encryption Gmail uses to encrypt its emails).
- Create a message like you usually do.
- Search for the lock icon on the right side of the recipient and click it.
- Click the button labeled ‘view details’ to change the S/MIME settings to any level of encryption you want.
- Keep in mind the following color codes that may appear during the encryption:
- Green means that S/MIME protects the email and the only way to unlock it is by using a private decryption key.
- Gray means that the information is protected using Transport Layer Security (TLS). It may only work if you and your recipient have a TLS configuration.
- Red means that the email is not protected with an encryption method.
- Enable hosted S/MIME encryption. However, you’ll need to install S/MIME protocols and get a digital ID or certificate from your administrator to complete the enabling process.
- Encrypt the email you compose by clicking the S/MIME settings. This will allow you to choose between encrypting all content and attachments and adding an e-signature.
- Click the option ‘Encrypt this message (S/MIME)’ before sending your email to the recipient.
- If your recipient doesn’t have S/MIME settings, don’t click the abovementioned option. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to see your message.
- This is how you encrypt your emails in Gmail and Outlook. By doing so, you’ll be able to protect your documents from attackers that may try to steal your e-signature data and other critical information. Also, you’ll be sure that only the intended recipients will see your messages.
Manage Signed Documents With Automated Processes
Before documents get signed, you want to ensure they’ve undergone rigorous editing and proofreading. Once they’ve been signed accordingly, you’ll need to store them properly so you can easily track them when necessary.
Manually performing this may open countless opportunities for human errors, violating internal policies and compliance mandates.
This is why it’s essential to automate repetitive operations. You may integrate automation tools into your electronic signature solution to start automating your processes. This will establish a path for your documents, guiding the user throughout the process.
With this, you’ll be able to manage your electronic documents efficiently and reduce the risk of human errors.
Electronic signatures have helped businesses and organizations facilitate their contract signing and agreement processing. However, using e-signatures may also offer risks, particularly when it comes to cybersecurity. In that case, you may consider the tips mentioned above to keep your contracts, agreements, and other critical documents secured and protected from cyber-attacks.