A digital signature refers to a mathematical technique of validating the integrity and authenticity of a message, digital, or software document. It is equivalent to a handwritten signature or stamped seal. However, it provides much more inherent security. A digital signature avoids the challenges of impersonation and tampering in digital communications.
Most people think, digital signature and electronic signature are alike, but the truth is they are quite different. In layman terms, digital signature is cryptographic nuts and bolts. On the other hand, an electronic signature can be a typed word, ticked box, or recorded voice. The digital signature is a technology, which uses complex mathematics to encrypt and decrypt data. This backstage encryption is what makes electronic signature work.
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is used by digital signature to verify the identity of a signer. The PKI consists of two keys, one private and one public, for unique identification. Both the recipient and sender possess a digital certificate from an identification point of view. These digital certificates work in a similar way as a driver’s license or passport and an ID reader.
Let us understand it with the help of an example. Company A requires Braham to sign a contract renewal. Braham will sign using his private key – for encrypting the contract. Braham will also give Company A his public key. Now, if the public key provided to Company A cannot decrypt Braham’s signature, then the digital signature will be rejected.
The level of steps differs from the kind of digital or electronic signature you are using for additional security. For instance, one can use two-factor authentication. When triggered, it ensures to authenticate the identity by sending a message to a mobile phone. It helps in verifying the person who is signing and avoids the problems of someone else attempting to log in.
Indeed you will not be needing high-level security all the time. For low-risk situations, you can avail of the services of electronic signature providers. Now, you may be questioning that whether low-security options considered valid or not. The answer is of course, yes! For instance, an eSignature provider without a digital signature will still be identified as a valid audit trail. They can conduct examining of IP addresses, time stamps, or browser information for audit trail.
However, before finalizing an eSignature or digital signature service provider, your company or business will need to determine the security, time, and costs goals.
From the legitimacy point of view, both esignature and digital signature are considered legitimate signature. Also, as per the ESIGN Act, an eSignature necessarily need not have to be a typed name. You can find the list of other types of signature that are acceptable and legitimate.
Apart from digital signature and eSignature, there are other types of electronic signature that are becoming widely accepted.
A click-to-sign signature refers to a signature type where a single click signs the document. However, there are legal conditions that you need to be aware of and follow while using a click-to-sign signature. With the click-to-sign solution, the legal principles of consent, intent, attribution, and association apply. In brief, the signer must consent to do business this way and intend to click. The click-to-sign signature requires an auditable trail of data, attributing the signature to the individual. In all, the data should be in direct association with the document. Before finalizing the decision to proceed with the click-to-sign solution on your documents, cross-check local laws on these signatures.
Initially used in only cryptocurrencies, blockchain is now finding its use in the mainstream industries as well. This technology is beneficial in determining the authenticity of transactions using a distributed ledger. The blockchain solution is a great way for maintaining accountability (As currencies such as Bitcoin use it). However, it will not be as useful in situations where an individual or organization wishes to stay anonymous.
Biometric signature uses your body/bio information to verify authenticity. It works by adding information about a unique part of your body in the system for verification and authentic purpose. Some of the examples are:
As clear from the above pointers, both digital and eSignature are finding their way into day-to-day life. The time is not too far when traditional signature will be fully scraped or too less in use. Surely, eSignature is gaining more popularity due to their convenience and cost reduction advantages. However, make sure to choose the right eSignature provider to meet your goals. WESIGN DOC is one of the best electronic signature providers that eases the workflow and empowers the staff with extra saved time. You can visit the website to browse through different pricing plans, designed to meet the different needs of different industries. Subscribe to its free trial and test its viability by yourself! It will definitely be proved as the best electronic service provider for you.