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Appropriate Use of Adobe Sign

Adobe Sign is a self-service tool that allows designated members of the campus to create and route electronic documents for signature. With Adobe Sign, staff or faculty can upload an electronic document and send it out for signature. The secure signature is performed using each recipient's Cal Poly password. This usage standard describes encouraged uses of Adobe Sign for university business and uses that must be avoided as they create unnecessary risk to the campus.

Scope

This document applies to anyone using a Cal Poly account with Adobe Sign, regardless of where documents were initiated (i.e. on or off campus) or from what device the documents were initiated. Use is subject to these requirements and to the campus Responsible Use Policy.

Purpose

The primary focus of this standard is to encourage appropriate and acceptable use of the Adobe Sign enterprise resource, consistent with Cal Poly's core mission and institutional priorities.

Guiding Principles

  • Contracts: All contract signatures at Cal Poly are subject to the University’s Contract Authority Policy.  Please read this policy and ensure that people added as signers to the workflow are operating within their authorization for contracts and agreements.

  • Form Ownership: Each campus form (and associated process) is managed by a campus office. Do not assume a form may be handled via Adobe Sign without first confirming with the responsible office.

  • All staff and faculty have the ability to send documents through Adobe Sign. Use this privilege carefully! We recommend consulting with your Document Unit Coordinator (DUC) before sending your first document.

  • Adobe Sign is used to route and sign documents, not for long-term document retention.

Adobe Sign has been approved for internal workflow and e-signature collection. Should a department wish to use Adobe Sign with any third party vendor/signers, please contact Contracts and Procurement before uploading and routing documents. It is important to have approval from the third-party vendor to send a document via Adobe Sign. Please contact vendors prior to uploading a document to verify they do not require the document to have a “wet” signature.

Signers

  • Any employee who is authorized to sign an agreement on behalf of the University and who chooses to do so through Adobe Sign must sign the agreement using your Cal Poly username.  Personal or non-Cal Poly Adobe Sign accounts may not be used to sign agreements on behalf of Cal Poly.

  • A signer always has the option to print the document, “wet” sign it and return a hard copy to the sender, instead of agreeing to sign a contract through Adobe Sign. For any questions on signing documents, email adobesign-team@calpoly.edu.

  • The signer should not delegate signing authority to those who do not have the authorization to sign documents. In order to maintain the security of Adobe Sign and all other Cal Poly services, never share your username and password.

  • Please keep personal Adobe Sign accounts separate from official Cal Poly issued Adobe Sign accounts. Access to Cal Poly's Adobe Sign account is made through your Cal Poly email address and your Cal Poly password. If you have any questions with settings please contact your Document Unit Coordinator (DUC).

  • Your electronic signature, with Adobe Sign, is a legally binding signature.

  • Under the university’s Contract Signature Authority Policy, the university official executing the contract is responsible for maintaining the fully-executed contract, including all attachments, in a manner consistent with the university’s Record Retention Policy. The university official executing the contract also is responsible for maintaining records evidencing any electronic signatures obtained through Adobe Sign. These records must be maintained outside of Adobe Sign. The university will purge any complete documents after 90 days. Adobe Sign is used to execute routing and signatures, not for long term document retention.

Senders

  • Adobe Sign senders must review training prior to sending documents through Adobe Sign and consult with a DUC prior to sending your first document.

  • When creating workflow through Adobe Sign, it is the responsibility of the sender to verify that all signers for contracts dealing with university affairs or monetary agreements have signature authority. Please refer to the Contract Signature Authority Policy to verify signing authority.

Data Retention

As long as your Adobe Sign account is active, the unsent documents in your account will be stored in Adobe Sign indefinitely. Completed documents will be stored for 90 days after the date of completion, then they will be automatically and permanently purged from the Adobe Sign storage cloud. It is recommended that you download and save your documents to your department’s preferred secure repository as recovery of purged documents is not possible.

Due to an Adobe Sign update in Retention Policy configuration, documents that were completed between July 9th, 2021 and May 18th, 2023 will not be automatically purged. If you would like to delete documents you own that are part of this exception, please submit a General Help request.

Legality

There are two common terms used when discussing electronic signatures:

  • eSignature is the process a person goes through to demonstrate their intent during an electronic transaction.

  • Digital signature is the encryption technology containing critical details pertaining to the e-signature.

At Cal Poly, the e-signature is the legally binding record and the digital signature is the underlying technology that helps verify the authenticity of the transaction. See What is an electronic signature? as defined by the California Secretary of State.

Under California law, an "electronic signature" means an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with an electronic record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the electronic record. The Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA) authorizes use of an electronic signature for transactions and contracts among parties in California, including a government agency. One of the most common forms of an electronic signature in use today is the one millions of people use every year to sign their tax returns. The digital signature regulations adopted by the Secretary of State do not apply to the definition or use of electronic signatures as they are governed by the UETA (Civil Code Section 1633.1 – 1633.17).

Level 1 Data

Adobe Sign has been approved for use with Level 1 data. To limit the university's liability all completed documents will be purged from Adobe Sign servers 90 days after completion. You still need to responsibly store the completed documents on campus in a secure way once the routing is complete.


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