E Signature Technology for Agencies

E signature technology speeds up many documents which reduces delays and saves money by reducing postage, paper, and the need for faxing. It also cuts down on the time it takes to distribute documents to signers, and increases the ease with the ability to sign documents from remote locations.

A basic electronic signature is a digital image of a handwritten or typed name. These kinds of eSignatures cannot verify the authenticity of the signer nor do they contain any security or encryption features. A more sophisticated eSignature employs verification technology to create an encrypted hash of signature data and link it to a public keys associated with the signer’s electronic identification. The recipient can then decrypt the hash, and compare it to the public key to verify that the document was not tampered with since it was signed.

An agency can also employ other verification methods to improve the security of eSignatures including passwords, two-factor authentication and biometrics. These more sophisticated types of eSignatures are employed in cases where there is a higher risk that the signature’s validity will be challenged.

Agencies should give special consideration to what is virtual private network long-term, electronically-signed records that preserve legal rights. These records could require longer software cycles, and it’s vital to maintain the integrity of records during any migration or upgrading processes. NARA’s guidelines on scheduling records can assist agencies in determining appropriate retention periods for these records.

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