E signature technology speeds up many document workflows, reducing the online storing all files time in the process of reviewing and saving money on postage and paper, as well as faxing. It also reduces the amount of time needed to deliver documents to signers and makes it easier for them to be signed remotely.

A simple electronic signature is a digital representation of a typed or handwritten name. These types of electronic signatures do not come with encryption or authentication features or verify the signer’s identity. A more advanced eSignature uses verification technology to create an encrypted hash of signature data and connect it to a public key associated with the signer’s electronic identification. The recipient is able to decrypt the hash, and compare it with the public key to confirm that the document was not altered since it was signed.

A company can enhance the security of electronic signatures by using additional authentication methods, including passwords, two factor authentication and biometrics. These more sophisticated varieties of eSignatures are utilized in situations where there is a greater risk that the signature’s validity is challenged.

Agencies should give special consideration to long-term, electronically-signed records that preserve legal rights. These records could require a longer software cycle, and it’s crucial to preserve the integrity of a record during any upgrade or migration processes. NARA’s guidance on scheduling records can assist agencies in determining most appropriate timeframes for the retention of these records.