The Importance of Digital Document Traceability for Business

22nd Mar, 2024

Whether you’re handwriting a signature on a physical piece of paper or signing a digital document with an eSignature, you’re making a legally binding commitment that confirms an agreement between two parties.

In this guide, we’ll be exploring the importance of traceability in digital documents and how it helps to provide a high level of security in establishing the authenticity of digital document transactions.


What is an Audit trail?

While using digital signatures can prevent tampering with documents, audit trails are used to confirm a document’s legitimacy. Audit trails are logs embedded in the documents that include information on who, how, when and where it was electronically signed, all of which are contained in your electronic identification.

Almost any type of digital transaction, activity, or process will have an audit trail, which could be either automated or manual, and electronic signatures are no exception. The main purpose of an audit trail is to track a series of events or actions in the order that they occur.

As we continue to evolve into a fast-paced digital landscape, audit trails are becoming increasingly important to businesses in ensuring any changes that are made to a digital document are tracked. This is especially important in industries like healthcare where an audit trail can be used to track access and authentication to a patient’s medical records.


Why do Businesses Need Audit Trails for Digital Documents?

The loss of productivity and time due to completing manual paperwork can be costly for both employees and clients. Yet, with the use of electronic communications and electronic signatures, we can speed up the lengthy processing and ensure that it is completely traceable.

When creating and signing important documents, it’s important for businesses to have a comprehensive audit trail like we provide at eSign. The advanced audit trial ensures that it is easier to track any irregularities and identify breakdowns in processes if they happen. As a result, you can send and sign sensitive documents with full assurance that there is an audit trail to monitor who accessed them and the actions they take.


How Does Document Traceability Help Authentication?

The security measures and audit trails that we have in place at E-Sign help to ensure that it is practically impossible for an electronically signed document to be forged. This means there can be no question of the validity and authenticity of the digital signature. Therefore, if you are using an electronic signature to sign documents, make sure that you are completely happy with the contents first. Once you sign a document digitally it leaves an impression in the audit trail and despite confusion when the technology first became accessible, an electronic signature is legally valid, which we will discuss in more detail below.


The Legality of eSignatures

An electronic signature carries the same legal weight as a handwritten signature in almost all jurisdictions. eSignatures have been legally binding in the UK since the introduction of the Electronic Communication Act in 2000. Over time this has been further solidified by the guidance for using eSignatures in the eIDAS regulations and the Law Commission confirming the legality and validity of their use in 2019.

The confirmation of legality also means that eSignatures are admissible in court, should the documents be required in that setting. This is because they prove the intention of the signer to agree to the contents of the document, and through the additional technology and security features, they even offer an extra layer of ‘intention’ that goes beyond what a handwritten signature can supply.

When looking at handwritten signatures, their validity is determined by comparing copies of it with testimonies from handwriting experts or witnesses or saw the document being signed. Whereas, thanks to the audit trail provided with an eSignature, clarifying details such as the IP address, location, date, and time of the signature can be traced, which means establishing its authenticity is significantly easier, more reliable, and time saving.

As more and more organisations in the UK and other countries around the world begin adopting electronic signatures into their processes, the traceability of documents is essential to ensuring their security and validity.


Why does eSignature Usage Continue to Grow?

In recent years, the use of electronic signatures and other related digital document solutions has grown exponentially. It cannot be denied that a large contributing factor to this was the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when reducing physical contact was a vital priority for our safety. Adopting digital platforms to replace existing business processes, such as the signing of documents, became integral for many organisations in order for them to continue operating safely and effectively. However, this did not simply come to an end with the end of the pandemic.


In fact, statistics from 2022 revealed that ‘66% of those who adopted electronic signatures said that they planned to increase and expand their usage’. There are several benefits to utilising digital document solutions, which a growing number of businesses and organisations are maximising with the help of E-Sign. For example, the removal of paper-based processes from your business helps to reduce unnecessary costs and save time through improved efficiency.

In addition, the reduction in paper use can make a substantial difference to the environmental impact of businesses and enable them to reduce their carbon footprint. As a result, we can take an important step towards achieving sustainability goals, which has become a high priority for businesses now more than ever. Also, with the enhanced security and traceability that eSignature solutions provide, the uptake in businesses using them is likely to continue.



Traceability through the use of audit trails is an essential part of establishing the security and authenticity of digital documents. This not only protects the signer and the organisation who are using the document but also ensures the legal standing and validity of the signature. At E-Sign, we take our clients security extremely seriously and consistently strive to maintain the highest possible standards, with several accreditations and processes in place to support our strict compliance with regulations.


Ready to give E-Sign a try?

Our free 14 day trial gives you the tools that you need to discover the benefits of electronic signatures. Our electronic signing software allows you to send documents in a fraction of the time that it takes to print and post. Our electronic signature software is the final piece in completely automating your business administration systems. With access on all mobile devices, enjoy the benefit of signing from any device, at any time.




Luke Garrett

Head of Digital Transformation

Luke works with organisations to evaluate their existing processes, assessing the organisational change and change management processes that a business may require. He leads organisations through the process and ensures a smooth transition to the most effective operations.


Accreditations & Awards

Crown Commerical Provider
Cyber Essentials Plus
ISO 9001 Quality Management
ISO 27001 Information Security Management
Information Commissioner's Office
2023 SME Committed Badge

Reviews & Security

Capterra User Reviews
G2 Crowd Reviews
Trustpilot Logo
Secure Trusted Commerce
Rapid SSL Logo
Select Language