Thursday, July 28, 2011

Have Documents Signed In The Cloud

The cloud is responsible for emptying many a server room. Now it’s time to start emptying those file cabinets and the mailing room as well. Next to go is the decidedly old fashioned process of putting pen to paper to sign official documents. No need anymore, now that electronic signature has arrived.

Send Documents for Signature OnlineWhat makes this all possible is a change in the law that establishes the validity of electronic signatures in the US under the ESIGN and UETA laws. Similar laws have been passed in other countries as well. If you haven’t heard of this, do a little research and satisfy yourself that you can switch to electronic signatures on your important documents and have them just as valid as ink on paper.

Electronic signatures free businesses from the time and expense of copying paper documents, sending them through the mail to be signed, and then waiting for the completed documents to be returned and placed in the files. Even FAXed documents have costs and time lags involved. That assumes that the party you want to sign has access to a fax machine. No? It’s a long trek down to the office supply or shipping store to use their fax machine.

All of this activity is now sped up, if not to the speed of light then at least to the speed of the Internet. Don’t bother trying to write your own documents on a word processor and then email them to the person in question. Standard email and its typed signature files aren’t worth much of anything other than easy communication. What you need is a controlled process that meets the requirements of the electronic signature laws but is still painless for both you and your clients.

Such a service is RightSignature. This is a cloud-based service that creates secure, legally binding agreements through an electronic signature process you can use from any Internet connected computer or even a smartphone. Here’s how it works. First you create your document as a Microsoft Word file, PDF, Google Doc or web applications such as FreshBooks. You upload this to your RightSignature account. Then enter the name and email of each signer on the document plus any CC’s that you want to include. Describe the subject of the document, add a message if you wish, and click to send.

Whoosh! Your signers are automatically notified by email that you’ve send them a document to sign. They sign online using their computer mouse or gestures on an iPhone to create a handwritten signature that looks like it was made with a pen. Note that this all takes place online in the secure RightSignature website. When complete, all signers and cc’s get a copy of the document as a PDF email attachment. The document includes a signature certificate which contains the signer information, audit log and unique identification number. The document signed online is stored in a secure archive so you can retrieve it at any time. No more worries about misfiled documents or damage from fires or floods.

In this age of the Internet and the cloud, doesn’t it make sense to gain the productivity advantages of electronic signatures? If that sounds right to you and your business generates documents that need legally valid signatures, then take a 5 document free trial of RightSignature now. See if you can really face going back to the old days of pen and paper once you’ve tried the new electronic way.

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