How much choice does your industry have when it comes to choosing an eSignature provider?

A lot of businesses and organizations have the luxury of shopping around when it comes to selecting an eSignature provider. However, depending on your region and industry, this isn’t always the case. In this article, we look at those exceptions.  

All businesses must comply with federal eSignature regulations.  

No matter what industry you’re working in, you must select an eSignature provider that complies with federal regulations. In the United States, that includes: 

  • The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) – a federal law that was enacted in 2000 with the purpose of facilitating the use of electronic signatures and records in interstate and foreign commerce, establishing the legal validity and enforceability of electronic signatures, contracts, and records, and ensuring that they have the same legal status as their paper counterparts. 
  • The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) – a federal law approved in 1999 with the goal of creating consistency in electronic commerce laws across states. 

Businesses operating within the United States must also adhere to any state regulations that apply.  

For organizations operating in Canada, on top of any provincial electronic commerce acts, these regulations include: 

  • The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) – passed in 2000, this act governs the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information, including eSignature.  

Why are some industries limited to certain providers? 

Due to the sensitive nature of some materials that might be dispersed via eSignature, some industries have specific provider requirements that limit an organization’s ability to be selective about their vendor if they wish to remain compliant.  

Some industries that often have specific regulations or standards governing the use of eSignature providers include: 

  • Healthcare providers. 
  • Banking and financial services. 
  • Government. 
  • Legal services. 
  • Certain types of insurance providers.  
  • Real estate businesses. 
  • International trade and commerce.  
  • Aerospace and defense manufacturers, contractors, etc.  

Often, due to the nature of the work being done in these industries, businesses and organizations have stricter eSignature requirements. We’re going to look at some of those requirements across a handful of these industries.  


While there isn’t a specific list of approved eSignature providers, North American healthcare providers must carefully evaluate potential solutions to ensure they meet the specific legal and regulatory requirements. These regulations are in place to ensure the security and privacy of patient information. 

In the United States, the main regulation governing healthcare and eSignature is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) – which dictates the electronic transmission of healthcare information. Therefore, any healthcare practice or business dealing with healthcare information must ensure the eSignature provider they use is HIPAA compliant.  

Some of those specifications include: 

  • User authorization/authentication. 
  • Prevention of digital tampering.  
  • Non-repudiation. 
  • Control over document ownership. 

Likewise, across the continent, healthcare businesses must also ensure their provider adhere to high-security standards to protect against unauthorized access and data breaches. 

Banking and finance.  

eSignature is complicated in the finance world, with several laws providers must comply with, especially in the United States. On top of the overall federal regulations, financial institutions and businesses must ensure their solutions are compliant with the following: 

  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) – a 1999 act that requires financial institutions to implement measures to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer non-public personal information. 
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – a 1970 legislation applicable to any organization involved in credit reporting, which includes requirements for consumer consent and disclosure. 
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations – the SEC governs companies like brokerages, which may have specific regulations for the use of eSignatures in financial transactions and client interactions. 

Regardless of your location, it is critically important for financial institutions and businesses to ensure their eSignature provider maintain incredibly high high-security standards to protect against fraud, unauthorized access, and data breaches. Likewise, they must offer robust compliance documentation and audit trails to demonstrate adherence to regulatory requirements. Many organizations will also require seamless integration with existing systems, such as CRMs, as well as compliance with international eSignature requirements, if they do any global transactions.  


Because of the cross-industry nature of the insurance world, insurance companies often face significant limitations or requirements when choosing eSignature providers. They may be required to comply with healthcare regulations, financial regulations, or more, depending on the products they sell.  

When choosing an eSignature solution for an insurance business, it’s crucial to not only understand the regulations within your industry, but also governing any adjacent industries as well.  


Like healthcare, legal practices deal with strictly confidential information every day. Therefore, security standards are especially important.  

While eSignatures are generally accepted in legal contexts, the requirements can vary based on jurisdiction. For example, certain types of documents like wills, family law documents, or court orders may have specific requirements that not all eSignature providers can fulfill. 

What does all of this mean?  

It’s not necessarily that there’s a law out there impeding competition or saying businesses must use ‘x’ eSignature provider or else. Rather, you might find you’re limited as to which providers meet the requirements for your sector. Your organization may not have the same opportunity to shop around as others in different industries.  

So how do you be certain you’re not getting a bad deal? 

With fewer options, it may seem like you have less control over your eSignature plan. However, there are still ways to ensure you’re not overspending. A comprehensive audit of your eSignature needs, monthly or quarterly spend, envelope capacity, and more is an important part of optimizing your expenses.  

In conclusion… 

Different industries that deal in confidential and sensitive information have stricter eSignature requirements and may find they have less freedom when choosing a provider. However, this doesn’t mean they have to accept overspending.