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A Glossary of Terms in Electronic Signatures

23 Must-Know E-signature Terms of 2023!

Vijith Menon

The COVID-19 pandemic shook businesses to their core. Overnight, companies had to let go of tried and tested business ways and embrace digital transformation. But, on the flip side, this enabled organizations to make their processes more efficient and organized.

The shift in business operations has increased the need for digital technologies, now more than ever. It is critical for enterprises to have smooth operations to sustain in the current business environment. They have seen the wisdom to move away from time-consuming processes and expend resources on more efficient solutions.

The Road to Digital Transformation

Digital transformation, as the name implies, aims to transform entire processes within an organization. It is distinct from digitization, which only converts documents into digital formats.

Digital transformation can break organizational silos and help share information between teams, impacting their strategy and its implementation in all departments. Organizations can use it to create or modify business processes, enhance customer experience, increase revenue, and streamline operations.

There are four areas of digital transformation that a company must focus on:

  • Process Transformation – An organization must understand its goals and align its digital strategy to suit its needs. It can assess its processes and develop the right solution to make changes incrementally.

  • Business Model Transformation – Organizations can change their business model to gain a sizeable profit. They can leverage digital technologies to pivot from their previous model to a more strategic move.

  • Domain Transformation – Organizations seeking to optimize their space must move their data to the cloud. This would help companies to scale efficiently, reduce costs, and increase agility.

  • Cultural Transformation – Organizations face difficulties integrating new technologies into an existing culture. With the support of top management and consistent training of employees, digital technologies can find a place in enhancing a workplace and transforming its culture.

Speaking of transformation, companies that deal with large swathes of workflow have switched to automation technologies. Workflow automation technologies have helped organizations save resources and time. It has even assisted them in the creation of agreements and sensitive agreements.

While most workflows have seen automation and digital transformation, the signing process in industries is still limited to the monotonous cycle of scanning and printing documents. Organizations still rely on signers to follow the workflow and send documents manually to the next signer. In contrast, a digital signing process is easier to set up and far less expensive.

What are Electronic Signatures?

Electronic signatures or eSignatures are legally binding signatures organizations or individuals use to provide their consent on digital documents. The guidelines for eSignatures used in the Philippines are defined in the Republic Act No. 8792 and the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 (the “E-Commerce Act”). E-signatures hold the same value as handwritten signatures and are used in various business transactions. Electronic signatures authenticate the identities of signatories and allow them to access documents for signing. In addition, it provides an added security level to companies looking to preserve the integrity of their documents.

If you are a newcomer looking to choose an electronic signature solution, here are some terms you must know.

Electronic Signature Terms to Know

  • Digital signature – This encryption technology is used to secure an electronic signature. It is often used interchangeably with e-signatures. Digital signatures encrypt documents using algorithms to prevent fraud and repudiation.

  • Digital signature certificate (DSC) – A certificate based on asymmetric cryptography and assigned by certification authorities of a particular region. Companies with DSC trust each other to do business.

  • Certifying Authority (CA) – A trusted entity that validates the identities of companies, websites, email addresses, or individual persons. It also generates a digital signature applied to electronic mail or documents.

  • Registration Authority (RA) – An organization that validates a certificate request and verifies the identity of a user before the CA issues a certificate.

  • ESIGN Act – An electronic signature law passed in the United States that avers guidelines for using electronic records and signatures in foreign and interstate commerce.

  • Biometric signature – A signature containing a unique identifying pattern of an individual. It can be a retina scan, a fingerprint, or a voice recording. It is used to verify the identity of a signatory.

  • Digitalized signature – A signature made by hand on a document and then scanned. It does not have the same legal standing as an electronic signature.

  • Electronic Signature – An electronic signature or eSignature is an alternative to a wet signature. It allows you to sign digital documents and holds the same legal validity as a wet signature. eSignatures provide a secure method to identify signatories and enable smooth transactions.

  • Wet signature – A wet signature is a handwritten signature or a seal for signing a document. It can also be a stamp or a fingerprint.

  • Digital Identity – An identity developed for people or devices online. Digital identities are generated through certificates, limiting the risk of fraud or impersonation.

  • Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) – The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act is a law signed by 49 states in the U.S. It has defined rules to determine the legality of eSignatures and applications in electronic and business transactions.

  • USB Token – A USB token containing a DSC in a password-protected CA-issued USB. Anyone with a USB can verify the identity of the signatory.

  • Trusted Service Provider (TSP) – A trusted service provider like DrySign that issues certificates after verifying the user's identity. It is responsible for providing services such as issuing digital certificates, timestamping, and validating eSignatures.

  • Trusted Document Timestamping – Document timestamping provides a permanent timestamp to digital documents to prove the user's identity at the time and date of signing.

  • Templates – A feature provided by many eSignature solutions for common types of documents that can be reused.

  • Standard Electronic Signature – Standard electronic signatures (SES) are electronic signatures that do not require user verification and have no security measures.

  • Advanced Electronic Signature – An advanced electronic signature (AES) that can identify its signatory. It can identify any changes to the Document after it is signed, making the signature invalid. In addition, the original signatory can control the data used in eSignature creation.

  • Qualified Electronic Signature – A qualified electronic signature (QES) is an AES accompanied by a digital security certificate. It has higher security levels than AES and is accepted on documents with the same legal standing as a wet signature.

  • Regulatory Compliance – A group of laws set by the government that companies must follow to keep operating.

  • Role-based Access Control – A method by which access is restricted to users based on their role in an organization. It helps prevent identity-related risks.

  • GDPR – The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a law in the European Union that sets guidelines for the collection of personal information of users. It prioritizes the privacy and safety of internet users and fines companies for violating the law.

  • Electronic Records – Electronic records store digital information and are managed by computer technology. They are evidence of transactions taking place between individuals or organizations.

  • Signature workflow – The workflow is customized to attain signatures rapidly, reducing delays caused by office-related bottlenecks. It benefits by implementing electronic signatures to create a record of all signatories. A document's status within a signature workflow can be accessed with ease and improves efficiency.

Also Read: The E-signature Market in the Philippines: A Broad Perspective

How DrySign is the Best Solution

Many organizations in the Philippines are increasingly using eSignatures to automate their workflow and benefit from online signatures. In addition, as organizations plan to scale their operations, the adoption of digital signatures will rise. Here are some advantages of DrySign that set it apart:

  • Security and Compliance – Electronic signatures like DrySign use two-factor authentication (2FA) and a one-time password (OTP) to limit Document access. It provides access to only authorized users. DrySign complies with the latest amendments in electronic signature laws globally to make online transactions secure.

  • Convenience – Electronic signatures are highly convenient and applied to digital documents with the consent of all stakeholders. Moreover, they provide a better return on investment than paper processes and reduce process errors.

  • Connects Business Operations – Electronic signatures help break silos across organizations and allow improved collaboration on projects simultaneously. Their implementation makes processes organized and accessible.

  • Enhances Customer Experience – Customer experience sees an improvement in the usage of eSignatures. Customer-facing industries can leverage technology to speed up processes and replace manual processes with digital ones.

  • Simple to Use – It is easy to use, allowing users to complete the signing process from end to end within minutes.

You're now familiar with the most common significant terms around electronic signatures. Now that you know the basics, it’s time to take it further and sign up for our electronic signature service!

DrySign, a trustworthy and reliable electronic signature solution provider, helps individuals and organizations with workflow automation and seamless signing. Talk to our experts today and try DrySign for free!

Sign up today with DrySign.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly, and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.

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