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E Signature Technology for Agencies

E signature technology speed up many documentation workflows, decreasing delays in the review process, and saving money on postage and paper, as well as faxing. It also decreases the time it takes to distribute documents to signers and enhances the ease at the ability to sign documents from remote locations.

A basic electronic signature is a digital representation of a typed or handwritten name. These kinds of electronic signatures do not come with encryption or authentication features or authenticate the signature of the signer. A more advanced eSignature utilizes verification technology to create a hash of the signature and connects it to a public key that identifies the signature’s identification. The like it recipient is able to decrypt the hash and then compare it to the public key to verify that the document was not altered since it was signed.

A company can increase the security of electronic signatures by using additional methods for verification, such as passwords as well as two factor authentication and biometrics. These more sophisticated forms of eSignatures can be used in situations where there is a greater chance that the validity of the signature could be challenged.

Agencies should give special consideration to long-term, electronically-signed records that preserve legal rights. Records with these rights may require an extended software cycle and it’s important to maintain the integrity of records during any upgrade or migration processes. NARA’s guidance for records scheduling can help agencies to determine the appropriate timeframe for archiving these records.