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Should You Require a Signature?

Should you be using electronic signatures?

Electronic signatures are one of those much-hyped technologies that have been taking time to actually catch on. The upside is promising. It's a big step toward a paperless office and makes transactions over the internet more convenient. For entrepreneurs, it's a matter of choosing the right hardware or software for electronic signature capture, encryption and storage.

There have been some recent developments. DocuSign, a provider of on-demand electronic signature services, has introduced a new service called In-Session Signing. It's designed to integrate with web applications for businesses with more demanding needs. Entre-preneurs new to electronic signatures can check out the online DocuSign Express Service with a 30-day free trial. Signers only need e-mail and a web browser to use the Express Service.

Free SigPlus Basic software is available for download from Topaz Systems. It comes with Microsoft Office and Adobe plug-ins for getting started with electronic signatures. Topaz also offers signature verification software and a variety of hardware signature pads for businesses with advanced security requirements. Look for electronic signatures to pick up steam in the years ahead.

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This article was originally published in the October 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Sign of the Times.

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