Need Official Signatures? These Cloud-Based Services Eliminate Paperwork

Guest author Kirill Bensonoff reviews Adobe EchoSign, DocuSign, and Signing Hub

Sign contract

Whether you’re closing on a new home or purchasing a new car, you’ll likely be required to sign your name using pen and paper. As the world has become increasingly more technology driven, that one thing has remained the same. In many industries, legal documents that could be held up to legal scrutiny still aren’t considered “official” unless they’re on paper.

Gradually, however, this old way of thinking is shifting. E-signatures are beginning to work their way into the mortgage process and the court system is gradually beginning to see a signature on a smartphone screen in the same light as one that was created using ink. For many businesses, though, legality isn’t the primary issue for still requiring handwritten documentation. Businesses simply lack the tools to make the migration.

Fortunately, businesses can make the move without spending a fortune on hardware and software. With a touchscreen-capable device and a stylus, professionals can easily conduct transactions without using a single sheet of paper. These cloud-based apps can save businesses time and money.

Adobe EchoSign
Businesses can choose to sign up for EchoSign to take advantage of the app’s tracking and sending features, but the service is now built into Adobe Reader, free of charge. In newer versions of Adobe Reader (PC or mobile), simply click on “Sign” and draw your signature where necessary. You can even place text to add in typewritten dates or checkmarks in boxes. While a touchscreen device makes it easy while you’re on the go, you can also use this feature to place a signature saved on your hard drive. Simply sign your name on a piece of paper, scan it on your office scanner, and you’re ready to go. When Adobe asks if you want to use EchoSign to send it, you can either create an account or choose “no” and save the document as you would any other Adobe file.

DocuSign is ideal for professionals who need the ability to easily designate multiple fields within a document. Using drag and drop, businesses can denote where initials, signatures, dates, approvals, and more are required on a document. The app’s pricing starts at $10 per month for one user.

Signing Hub
Businesses interested in signature functionality without the cost might want to check out Signing Hub. Free accounts include one user and up to five signatures. After five signatures, you’ll be required to pay $15 per month, which includes unlimited signatures. The app sends notifications to users when a document needs to be signed, helping expedite the process when multiple people are involved in a transaction.

With Adobe now offering signature capabilities for free using EchoSign, businesses can try out the feature to see if they need something more robust. While the free version is limited, it could provide sufficient usability for smaller businesses that have a limited need for signed documents. The occasional NDA or employee security agreement can be easily accommodated by Adobe Reader. However, for regular signing using mobile devices, a more robust cloud-based application will likely be required.

About the author:
Kirill Bensonoff is a founding partner at, helping SMBs get the most out of their technology investment.

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