Electronic signatures - sometimes referred to as digital signatures - have long been used within the contract management process. Using this method, as opposed to the traditional wet signature, has allowed many businesses to:
- Achieve a faster time- to-signature
- Easily track the progress of agreements sent for signing
- Create a digital record that can be easily stored.
While these benefits are suitable for all types of businesses, the nature of a business will determine which type of digital signature can be used.
The eSign solution from Gatekeeper, via its DocuSign integration, can now support all types of businesses and their QES requirements. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at how companies within regulated industries, such as Biotechnology, can use our native eSign solution to safeguard compliance.
What are the different types of electronic signatures?
Not all electronic or digital signatures are designed equally. While all variations are as legally binding as a handwritten signature, different types of digital signatures serve different purposes. Let’s take a look below.
- Simple Electronic Signature (SES): The most basic type of electronic signature. ID verification isn’t required as knowing the signer’s email address is enough for validity. Due to its simple nature, this type of signature can be used in day-to-day activities such as signing a sales order form.
- Advanced electronic signature (AES): Unlike a SES signature, an AES requires additional user authentication. Signers will need to prove their identity with relevant documentation and can be asked to provide a unique access code. To complete the agreement, a digital certificate must be generated and attached.
- Qualified electronic signature (QES): This type of signature offers a higher level of security and helps businesses to safeguard compliance. A digital certificate is issued by a qualified trust service provider during the process, containing information about the signer, including their name, email address, and other identifying information. This certificate creates a unique signature that is linked to the document in question.
The importance of a Qualified Electronic Signature (QES)
Qualified Electronic Signatures are important for businesses within regulated industries that are faced with different signing requirements.
Businesses working in the financial sector, healthcare and biotechnology need to comply with regulations such as: The eIDAS Regulation (EU) 910/2014 and UK eIDAS - a version of the EU regulation that was modified post-Brexit.
Qualified Electronic Signatures use cryptographic technology to provide a unique digital identifier for the signer and to ensure that the signed document has not been altered or tampered with.
This helps to prove the authenticity of a signed document and to determine that no modifications have been made since it was signed. QES also has legal validity equal to a handwritten signature, making it enforceable across many countries.
The use cases for this type of signature include sensitive health information such as personal health details, financial data and government records.
The benefits of using Qualified Electronic Signatures
- Compliance: QES signatures can help legal teams to prove compliance with regulations when managing contracts and vendor agreements.
- Efficiency: Much like other electronic signatures, a QES offers an efficient way to sign contracts. In contract and vendor management, time is often of the essence when executing an agreement - so a QES can speed up the process.
- Cost Savings: The cost of manual signing processes is eliminated. Digital formats replace paper-based signatures that require printing, shipping, and storing paper documents.
How Gatekeeper helps regulated businesses safeguard compliance
Gatekeeper integrates with DocuSign, allowing you to choose the signature that best suits your requirements.
This integration allows businesses within Biotechnology, Healthcare, Software and Finance to use QES and comply with industry regulations. Whether your business chooses to use our native eSign or DocuSign, a comprehensive audit trail is recorded within Gatekeeper.
Use DocuSign within Gatekeeper
If you’re looking for a new way to sign contracts, want to safeguard compliance or want the benefits of Vendor and Contract Lifecycle Management whilst using DocuSign, book a demo now.