Electronic signatures and records are increasingly becoming a standard in the business world. However, with cybercrime on the rise, your business’s reputation depends on top-tier security and a secure audit trail. Luckily, using the right platform means that you can rest assured that this will not be an issue.
For many, e-signature platforms are simply tools to sign, send, and store documents digitally – the same as a box and a pen, but online! But there is more to it than this, especially for those focused on the details. Some common challenges include signatories changing their mind after document signing, unauthorized users accessing the document, How to create signature in word or the record never arriving at the intended recipient.
Electronic Signatures, Audit Trails, and Document History
Audit trail software means that you can track every tiny change in a document. eSign Genie records when, where, and how these changes got made – and most importantly, by whom!
The information included in the document history of a reliable e-signed document includes:
- Where: Did the person accessing the report do so via a browser, a mobile device, or an app? Was there any other program involved?
- What: What exactly happened to change the document?
- When: Not only the server time but also the client’s time, as well as their IP address.
- Who: What are the e-mail credentials of the user who accessed and attempted to alter the document?
When do you need an audit trail?
Often, you’ll need to check back on documents for entirely innocuous reasons. Here are three top specific examples, though, of why you’ll want to make sure your audit trail is up to date.
1. Providing a legal record of who signed each document.
Audit trails are legally recognizable in court as proof of who has accessed, changed, and signed a document. Since they also show when they opened, where, and on what device, you will retain complete coverage. A client cannot deny that they ever received an e-mail or claim they were not the one to sign – you have the evidence right there! UETA and ESIGN-compliant platforms provide documents holding the same legal weight as all paper documents.
2. Providing proof of an action happening (or not happening) to your document
These are usually less than happy cases, but it’s necessary to consider them! Medical negligence recorded in a file, prison brutality hidden by changing official records, unlawful changes to documents…all of these require proof of time and place. An audit trail is unlikely to be able to solve all of the problems these damaging events have caused, but they will at least provide legal proof and justice. In medicine, notably – including hospitals, pharmacies, and drug manufacturers – HIPAA compliance means that an audit trail is an absolute legal requirement.
3. Monitoring internal business practices.
As well as external operations, keeping a trail of activity within the organization and team is beneficial. Doing so will allow you to see when and who accesses files, as well as using the IP address to give you an idea of where. Useful if someone is accessing private information on a public WiFi network!