What is the purpose of this policy/process?
Why should I follow it?
- The goal of the Electronic Signature Policy is to make sure that signatures DES collects are authentic and authoritative. That way, if they are ever questioned, we can prove that our processes are sound. The guidelines are meant to also ensure that the integrity of the signatures we collect is not questioned in the first place. This is especially important if the transactions are high risk.
What is an electronic signature?
- An electronic signature is a digital agreement. It can look just like a “wet” (ink) signature, or it could be just a checkbox on a form, a typed name, or any other way that shows the “signer” agrees to the terms of the agreement or authorizes/approves the document.
An electronic signature could be almost anything. What matters is:
- The person knows they are signing and agreeing to the transaction
- You can confirm it was signed/agreed to by the individual it says it was
- The signature is saved and remains attached to what was agreed to
If you have all the proper controls in place, an electronic signature can be as simple as typing your name.
At DES, we have access to Acrobat Pro, which gives you the ability to set up an electronic signature and sign PDFs electronically. For instructions on how to do this, see:
Can I sign something electronically?
- Yes! If someone sends you a document to sign electronically, you can! The Electronic Signature Policy is about signatures that you/your program at DES collects– and even then the answer is likely “yes!”
- For items that you are asking others to sign, the Electronic Signature Policy provides guidelines on how to collect them appropriately (see What do I need to do to accept electronic signatures?)
- It is not the Intent of the Electronic Signature Policy to restrict you from signing documents sent to you from outside of the agency or organization.
For example: If you receive a document to sign via DocuSign then you should sign using the guidelines provided by the outside agency or organization.
What do I need to do to accept electronic signatures?
- For items that DES programs are asking others to sign (whether internal or external to DES), we have an Electronic Signature Policy that is meant to ensure the signatures DES accepts meet some basic guidelines
- If you’re in charge of a process that collects signatures electronically, you can go through the Electronic Signature approval process to make sure the signatures you collect are “solid” and meet the guidelines
- If you’re in charge of a process that collects signatures on paper, you can explore options for collecting signatures electronically.
- Questions? Submit a DES IT Request ticket via DES Support Center or email ETS Security & Records
We’ve been collecting signatures electronically for a long time, do we need to do anything?