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Are E-signatures Legally Binding for IT Contracts?

by Ayla El Assaad

You can also read this article in German and Italian.

Is a contract signed with an electronic or digital signature as valid as one signed with a traditional wet signature?

Digital contracts and e-signing are now a cornerstone of doing business, especially for IT services. If you’re wondering how electronically signing a contact affects its legality, then you’ve come to the right place.

What Does It Mean for an IT Contract To Be Legally Binding?


Put simply, a legally binding contract is an agreement between two or more parties that is legally enforceable. That means if one of the parties doesn’t fulfill the terms of the agreement, they can be challenged in court.

For a contract to be legally binding, it needs to be legally valid. There are certain elements that determine legal validity and they vary according to the type of contract used, individual country and state laws, relevant governing body laws, etc. An IT contract might have different requirements to that of a real estate contract, for example.

Legality of Electronic & Digital Signatures vs. Traditional Signatures


There are various types of signatures; for this article, we’ll be looking at traditional, electronic, and digital signatures. A traditional or wet signature is one of the most common and trusted types of signatures when it comes to legality. However, with the shift towards more digital workplaces and the rise in popularity of the paperless office, electronic and digital signatures are becoming the norm, if not the most common type of signatures we’re using today.

So, are electronic and digital signatures as legally binding as traditional signatures? Yes! Electronic and digital signatures are as enforceable in court and are as legally binding as traditional signatures. But keep in mind that regulations and conditions vary in different countries and across legal governing bodies. It’s important to always check in with your local laws or a legal professional if you’re not sure.

eSign’s Legality & Security Features


With Smallpdf eSign, security and legal compliance are top priorities, to ensure you sign with confidence every time. Smallpdf and all our tools are ISO/IEC 27001 certified, and GDPR and eIDAS compliant. We use advanced TLS encryption to ensure all document processing and file transfers are secure on our servers in addition to carrying HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) for secure network communication.

eSign also offers other security features to help keep your mind at ease and allow you to keep control of the entire signing process. eSign’s activity timeline and tracking gives you an overall view of where the document is in the signing process, who’s signed and when, and if there are any missing signees. Another feature is LTV (Long-Term Validation) timestamping, which documents the time and date a signature was added to the document as well as the signee’s information.

If you’re curious about eSign, you can try signing a document for free or even sign up for a 7-day free trial to explore all Smallpdf Pro features, including activity tracking and digital signing.

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Ayla El Assaad
UX Writer @Smallpdf