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Electronic Signature Certification

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Electronic signatures have opened up new avenues for efficiency in remote business processes. Electronic Signatures allow signers to sign electronically at their convenience, from anywhere they are, using any device, and without the need to physically visit a car dealership or bank branch. While handwritten signatures may be possible to expedite the analog process by being mailed or faxed, they are not as efficient as electronic signatures on electronic documents. It is crucial to determine if the electronic signature is secure. How can you ensure that a digital agreement is not altered since its signing? Use a digital signature.

What is the difference between an Electronic Signature and a Digital Signature?

Although these terms might sound similar, they are quite distinct. An electronic signature is a digital signature that can be used to sign a contract electronically. It serves the same purpose, namely to signify the signer's agreement to the terms of the contract being signed. The signature doesn't have to be handwritten. Signatory can click to sign an electronic document or create a reusable signature using their electronic signature software.

A digital signature is not actually a signature. It refers to encryption/decryption (cryptography) technology used to tamper-seal digital documents after they are signed. Digital signatures are created using public key infrastructure, (PKI), and they are used to verify that no modifications to contracts are made without consent. The digital signature, for example, applies a trusted date stamp at the time the document was last altered. Any visible signature changes and any alterations to the timestamped documents will be apparent.

There are three types of electronic signatures available for your signing process

Although specifics can vary from one country to another, there are three types of electronic signatures that are recognized worldwide: Basic Electronic Signatures (BES), Advanced Electronic Signatures(AES), and Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES). For details on each type of signature, refer to the eIDAS regulation.

However, in general, electronic signature types differ only in the degree of security and identity assurance. digital signatures can be used to distinguish between Basic Electronic Signatures (BEV) and enhanced eSignature solutions.

Consider it this way: A basic signature can be used when fraud is low. For example, signing a petition. An AES/QES is used to validate contracts that require greater security and validation.

These enhanced e-signatures are only possible with digital signatures. They provide security and authentication. This is crucial for businesses as they may require the benefits from digital signatures even though they are not required to use enhanced electronic signatures for legal reasons. Digital signatures are encrypted codes that are attached to electronic signatures to verify their authenticity.

Qualified electronic signatures, trust service providers, and certification authorities

QES is the highest level of electronic signature required to sign documents. It also has the highest security level. QES requires that you use a digital signature in addition to a certificate from a third-party certified authority such as Qualified Trust Service Providers (TSPs) for your digital certificate. TSP or certificate authority will issue a signing certificate to confirm the legal admissibility and authenticity of electronic transactions.

Three Benefits of Digital Signatures for PDF Files

An electronic signature solution that is equipped with digital signature technology timestamping has many important benefits.

  • Mobile Device Support. User authentication can be very difficult when using smartphones and tablets. Innovative solutions are vital in order to ensure that the person signing a document is actually who they claim to be. To verify the source and destination of documents, digital signatures are attached to them. The digital signature is then attached to the document and stays with it throughout the process. The digital signature can be questioned if a smartphone is compromised or the document is captured by an unauthorized user. Alternately, the digital signature can provide additional verification that the transaction is supported if all aspects of the document are recorded correctly.
  • Regulatory Compliance. Encryption, a common regulatory requirement, ensures data security even in the event of theft. Digital signatures are used to support electronic signing. This ensures that user data and key signing information is kept safe throughout record creation and management. It makes it easier to adhere to regulatory guidelines.
  • Taking e-signature to court: A simple e-signature is not admissible in court because there is very little evidence that the signature signer was actually who he or she claimed. Digital signatures can capture more metadata about signature transactions. They also provide protection for all parties in court by providing a crucial layer of user authentication that can be presented to a judge or jury. Businesses can safely move to electronic signatures with the security and verification provided by digital signatures. 

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