E Signature Technology for Agencies

E signature technology speeds up a variety of documentation workflows, reducing delays in the review process and saving money on postage and paper as well as faxing. It also reduces the time it takes to distribute documents for signers and enhances the ease with that they can be signed from remote locations.

A basic electronic signature is a digital representation of a typed or handwritten name. These types of eSignatures don’t verify the authenticity of the person signing it or include any authentication or encryption features. A more advanced eSignature utilizes verification technology to generate a hash of the signature, and links it with an associated public key that identifies the signer’s name. The recipient can decrypt the hash and compare it with the public key, and confirm that the document hasn’t been tampered since it was signed.

A company can enhance the security of electronic signatures using additional authentication methods, including passwords two factor authentication, passwords and biometrics. These more sophisticated forms are utilized when there is more risk that the authenticity of the signature will be challenged.

Agencies should give special consideration to long-term, electronically-signed records that preserve legal rights. These records may need an extended software cycle and it is crucial to ensure the integrity of records when it comes to upgrading or migration processes. NARA’s guidance on records scheduling can assist agencies in determining appropriate timeframes to keep these records.

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