How to choose a digital signing service | BitBakery Software

How to choose a digital signing service

November 11th, 2021 by Alex Kinsella

The pandemic has been a time of rapid acceleration in everything from future of work trends to the basics of how we do business. There were numerous issues caused by business and government offices moving online, and all of them shared one common problem — how do you sign a document when you can't be there in person? 

The solution is eSigning, also known as digital signing. It's not a new solution, but it is at the core of many digital transformation projects.

When we think about digital transformations, they're often processes done by pen and paper that can be moved to an online form or a mobile app. Sometimes it's taking something like a legacy spreadsheet and turning it into a modern, cloud-based app. Capturing a person's signature is required for many of these processes, and there are multiple solutions that can be used to integrate this in a web or mobile app solution.

In this post, we're going to break down what makes a digital signature legit, what you should look for in a digital signature tool, and compare three top eSigning services.

What is a digital signature?

Digital signatures are more than just you using a stylus or finger to sign a document — they’re a secure, digital equivalent that offer a great level of validity compared to ink-based signatures. How many times have you signed a credit card receipt without the merchant actually checking to see if the signatures match?

Digital signatures work because they - 

  1. Track who signed an electronic document using an email address and IP address.
  2. Are encrypted and securely stored.
  3. Provide a digital trail in the event of an audit

What makes a digital signature legally binding?

Before we get into this, we need to clarify that we're not lawyers. Like any contract, you should have a legal professional review of what you're doing.

Signing on the digital dotted line

To make an electronic document legal, you need to disclose all clauses that the signature applies to so the person signing understands the document's intent. The electronic document needs to have a clause that the signer can acknowledge their consent to sign the document electronically.

Keeping things together

The digital signature has to be stored securely with the document and not in a separate location. The signed digital copies need to be kept in the event of a dispute or question on the document.

Tracking who signed what

The signer of the document needs to receive a copy of the document and their digital signature. 

In addition to that, the eSigning service needs to have a digital audit trail with a timestamp, an email address associated with the signer, and an IP address.

What to look for in an eSigning tool

The three eSigning services we reviewed all offer comparable features. Here are a few questions to ask:

Tale of the tape

We took a look at the three leading eSigning service providers — Docusign, Onespan, and Hellosign — and have broken down what you need to know to help you make the right decision for your project.

  Docusign Onespan Hellosign
HIPAA Yes Yes Yes
SOC2 Yes Yes Yes
ISO 27001 Yes Yes Yes
Storage Yes Yes Yes
Document Retention By default, documents are stored in the system and retention is optional.Document retention period can be set to a maximum of 9,999 days. By default complete and incomplete transactions are stored for 120 days.Account owner or admin can change retention setting to unlimited or a specific period of time. Unlimited data retention (Premium only)
Datacenters EU, NA, Australia Global Global
Max file size 25 MB 5 or 16 MB 40 MB / 500 pages
Mobile app Yes Yes No
# of downloads Android: 5M+ Android: 5,000+  
# of reviews Android: 85,000+iOS: 36,000 + Android: 48iOS: 13  
Rating Android: 4.6 / 5iOS: 4.8 / 5 Android: 3.7 / 5iOS: 4.2 / 5  
Workflow management Yes Yes Yes
Document signing workflow Handles entire workflow from having parties sign - in series or in parallel - to sending signed documents to different people.Can send notifications and reminders to review and sign when it's their turn. Similar to docusign Similar to docusign
API Well documented Documented and OpenAPI interface Documented, Postman Collection
Effort to implement Medium Low - Medium High
Community 5208 SO questions Sign Community  
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