Digital signatures, also called Independent E-Signatures™ for their self-sustaining legal evidence and transparency, are stepping into technology’s limelight.
The global market for digital signatures, currently valued at $512.5 million by one source, is expected to grow to $2.02 billion by 2020, according to a recent report from MarketsandMarkets, one of the largest market research firms in the world. That is a 31.6% annual growth rate. Simply put, in four years, the digital signature market will have nearly quadrupled.
Not too shabby. So why are digital signatures garnering so much attention right now? We have a few ideas.
Digital Signatures Last
Technology is fleeting. Generally, most technical systems, platforms or software either require a series of updates, or they just become obsolete within a few years. But with digital signatures, longevity is assured—so that’s an anomaly in tech culture.
Digital signatures permanently embed the legal, cryptographic evidence of an e-signature into a signed document, and that legal validity can be forever viewed using any PDF reader, even without an Internet connection. Digital signatures are also based on international, published standards for digital documentation, encryption and more. That means, the technology itself will always be discoverable in the public domain, whereas other e-signature providers may use proprietary, “black box” technology that isn’t accessible to anyone outside of the vendor.
Digital Signatures Are Cost Effective
Many offices today still run on paper processes. While not yet completely arcane, paper workflows are inherently more expensive and less efficient than their digital successors. In fact, it costs U.S. businesses approximately $8 billion each year to manage their paper documents. This doesn’t even take into account the cost of the paper itself. Add in the expense of printer, copier and fax machine maintenance; ink, toner and shipping costs; or the time people spend printing, filing, mailing and processing paper. It adds up! Digital signatures remove the need for paper, because the whole process can be streamlined with fully electronic processes.
The time and money saved make digital signatures a worthy investment for most businesses, big or small. (Look no further than the $225,000 that California’s San Diego County saves per year thanks to SIGNiX to see the cost benefits of digital signatures.)
Digital Signatures Provide a Better Customer Experience
Digital technology is only as good as its adoption rate. The market for Independent E-Signatures™ is exponentially expanding in part because they provide the convenience that businesses and their customers alike demand today.
For businesses, whether in sales, real estate, finance or any other industry, getting paperwork done fast can mean the difference in closing or losing a deal. Thanks to digital signatures, what once took hours at a time—with both parties having to physically meet together or wait on documents in the mail—can now take place in just moments. Users can sign documents anywhere there is an Internet connection.
Digital Signatures Improve Security
While saving money and time are great features of digital signatures, they mean nothing if security isn’t also a priority. Digital signatures require signer identity authentication before beginning the signing process. Authentication can be done by testing the signer’s knowledge through a series of questions or by asking for a code received via a text message, or by an email account or token or by a combination of methods. And unlike other types of e-signatures, digital signatures are based on advanced public key infrastructure technology, which uses a public key and a private key that are bound together and encrypted to verify documents are secure and valid. Digital signatures also deploy tamper-evident technology to alert users to any changes made to a document after it has been signed—further reducing the risk of online fraud. And that only hits some of the high points.
Needless to say, for all of these reasons, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the market for digital signatures greatly exceed its projected four-fold future.
To learn more about what sets digital signatures and Independent E-Signatures™ apart, download our free e-book here.