Electronic Signatures, COVID-19, and Mike Tyson

by Wednesday 10th June, 2020Solutions0 comments

Electronic Signatures

Compliance Regulations have been with us for what seems like an eternity, changing a little and impacting a lot.

Who would have thought one of the most impactful changes would be COVID-19, and the way we have to work not within the regulations, but around archaic processes.

Regulations such as ISO, GDPR and SOC 2 have not changed in the COVID-19 era – what they have done is make us all more acutely aware of our processes, processing arrangements, what is necessary and what is not.

One area in particular the current climate has seen an increase in, is the use of Electronic Signatures, or ‘eSignatures’.

Now that everyone is trying to conduct business in the cloud and with physical signatures being (almost near) impossible to enforce, the use of the eSignature has come into its own – although banks still use faxes like it’s the 1980’s!

With travel restrictions unlikely to be lifted any time soon, businesses and individuals need to adapt and find alternative means of signing documents and contracts – those companies also need to ensure their employees are able to access signature documents remotely.

The legal sector is one industry that has seen a significant increase in the use of e-signatures, with remote contract signings becoming a “must-have” rather than a “nice-to-have”. Many law firms have updated their policies around eSignatures, however, using an electronic signature does depend on any relevant legislation, regulatory requirements within the specific practice area, and the type of document being signed or executed.

Organisations such as The Law Society have laid out their position around eSignatures, and the Law Society of Scotland has recently published a guide on the use of electronic signatures.

Pre COVD-19, most businesses had a credible plan, but like Mike Tyson said, ‘everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth’. I wouldn’t like to argue with Tyson (this is true in so many ways!), plans are only as good as their test, and COVID-19 has tested us all in many different ways-

  • How we were conditioned to work at a set location,
  • handling paperwork
  • requiring clients to be in person evidencing who they are
  • witnessing their signature
  • filling the paperwork and
  • sending receipts by carrier pigeon?!

Additional practical considerations such as, not all documents can be signed electronically, and witnessing the signing of a document – given that a witness may not be able to be in the room physically, is it enough to witness it over a video link? are things that still need to be taken into consideration.

We are all creatures of habit and have been forced to make some radical life and business altering decisions during this current climate.

Like many businesses, we have seen an increase in the use of Document Automation Solutions – the solution of choice before COVID-19 may not be the one that you are thinking about now.

If you would like a no obligation assessment of your post COVID-19 operational needs for Document Automation, please get in touch with us today.

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