6 Tips to Safely Handle Digital Document Signing
Digital document signing enables fast, efficient, and environmentally friendly management of documents. However, it also brings security, privacy, and legal compliance risks that require mitigation through the adoption of best practices. Here are 6 tips to help you handle digital document signing safely and responsibly.
Choose a Reliable Digital Document Signing Platform
Research and compare different digital document signing platforms. Review multiple options by checking their security features, certifications, customer reviews, etc. For help locating document signing services in your local area, search Google for the keywords “Notary near me.”Compare factors like encryption methods, biometric authentication support, and data compliance standards. Consider factors such as security, user-friendliness, and compatibility.
The platform should protect data and documents, be easy to use, and be compatible with different file types. It should support signing agreements, contracts, forms, letters, and other documents. Read reviews and seek recommendations from trusted sources: Get input from independent experts and customer reviews. Ask associates currently using digital document signing platforms about their experiences. Consider recommendations from reputable organizations.
Protect Your Digital Signature
Use a signature with complex elements like your full name, initials, personal codes, images, or other identifiers. Avoid simple signatures that can be easily imitated. Safeguard your digital signature by using secure passwords and authentication methods. Enable two-factor authentication if available and create strong, unique passwords to log in and access your signature.
Use biometrics like fingerprints or facial recognition for additional security. Regularly update and change your digital signature for added security. Periodically modify your digital signature to prevent it from being duplicated or used fraudulently after being in circulation for an extended time. Changes should be made every 6-12 months.
Verify the Integrity of the Document
Ensure the document hasn’t been altered or tampered with. Carefully check that all details and terms in the document are accurate and complete before applying your digital signature. Look for any obvious signs of changes or tampering, like different fonts, spacing issues, or irregular page layouts. Check for any unauthorized changes or modifications. Use document verification tools like visual inspections, hash comparators, or digital signatures.
These can detect alterations by comparing an initial document draft or validating the document’s digital fingerprint or ‘hash value.’ Use document integrity verification features provided by the signing platform: Many digital documents signing services offer built-in features for comparing documents and notifying you of any changes detected before signing. Enable and use these features for maximum document security.
Understand the Legal Implications
Familiarize yourself with the legal requirements and regulations surrounding digital document signing. Laws and regulations on electronic records and signatures differ between jurisdictions. Ensure you understand laws applicable to your geography and industry to maintain compliance. Ensure that your digital signatures comply with applicable laws and regulations: Your digital signatures must meet the criteria to be legally valid and enforceable.
Factors include using multi-factor authentication, time-stamping signed documents, and maintaining signature certificates when required. Seek legal advice to ensure compliance with specific industry or jurisdictional requirements. When dealing with sensitive transactions or complicated cross-border signing procedures, consulting an attorney specializing in technology and commercial law is prudent. They can guide you in meeting all legal and regulatory obligations.
Maintain Confidentiality and Privacy
Protect sensitive information within the document. That means removing personal data unrelated to the transaction and being cautious when providing information like bank account numbers, addresses, or contact details.
Use encryption and secure transmission methods when sending or receiving signed documents. Email encryption, secure file transfer protocols, or password protection should be used when transmitting confidential digital documents. Physical storage devices should also be encrypted, and password protected.
Keep your digital documents and signatures secure from unauthorized access. Store all digital documents and signature credentials on secure servers or storage media—control access with firewalls, password policies, VPNs, and limiting user permissions. Regularly test security and update authorization policies.
Keep Records and Backups
Maintain a record of all digitally signed documents: Keep the original electronic or printed versions for your records. Electronic records should be systematically indexed or filed for easy retrieval when needed. Store backups of your signed documents in secure and reliable storage.
Back up digital documents by saving copies to secure cloud storage, encrypted storage media, and physical storage locations in case of device failure, hacking, or data loss. Regularly back up and update your document storage to prevent data loss or corruption.
Schedule automatic or manual backups of your digital signing account and document storage. Update storage formats when systems become outdated to maintain compatibility—also, test restoration of backups regularly to ensure their integrity and usability.
To leverage the benefits of digital document signing while mitigating risks, you must prioritize safety and security. Choosing a trusted platform, using strong digital signatures, and safeguarding sensitive data with encryption and access control all work together to give you peace of mind. When dealing with particularly sensitive materials or those subject to complex legal requirements, seeking advice from an experienced professional is advised. By following recommended best practices, digital document signing can be used conveniently and confidently.