Picking digital signature software isn’t as easy as it might seem.
First, there’s the sheer number of different providers to evaluate, each with their own feature sets and support packages.
Second, pricing packages vary significantly between different platforms. What might appear to be an attractive monthly subscription for a small team can quickly spiral into hundreds or thousands of dollars as an organization expands and requires additional features.
Finally, terminology can be confusing. In particular, many companies fail to understand the difference between “electronic” and “digital” signatures.
In this post, we’re going to cover all these points. We’ll distinguish between the two main types of electronic signatures and take a look at four of the top platforms.
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, electronic signatures and digital signatures are not the same.
Electronic signatures are digital marks that carry varying levels of security depending on the e-signature platform used to create them. An e-signature is added to a document to represent a signer’s consent to enter into an agreement, usually one that is legally binding.
Digital signatures are slightly different. They are a highly secure subset of electronic signatures and rely on complex online technology. Individuals using digital signatures must purchase a digital certificate that enables the authorization of their signatures by means of a public key infrastructure.
Because digital certificates and public key infrastructures leverage high levels of encryption, it is almost impossible to forge a digital signature or fraudulently edit a document after it has been signed.
Unless you are dealing with high-value contracts in a sector that is prone to fraud, or operating in a field that demands high levels of security, such as defense or government, you probably don’t need to use digital signatures. Electronic signatures will be sufficient.
While they offer superlative levels of security, digital signatures are costly. Furthermore, only a handful of software solutions provide digital signature functionality.
Electronic signature platforms tend to be inexpensive and include multiple safeguards to ensure signatures are legally binding. Users also typically have access to an extensive suite of time-saving workflow management tools.
Let’s take a look at four of the best electronic signature platforms currently on the market:
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