Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Difference Between Electronic Signatures and Digital Signatures.

The terms Electronic Signatures and Digital Signatures are frequently misused and often thrown around loosely. Let's have a look at the differences between both electronic signature and digital signature.

Digital Signatures
A digital signature is not the same as an electronic signature even though many use the two terms interchangeably. A digital signature is intended to provide an exact and accurate identification method for the signatory to provide a seamless transaction. Definitions of digital signatures vary depending on the application of legal power. A Digital Signature is equal to your handwritten signature which is digitized and can be used to authorize content within a document or the terms of a particular document.

Electronic Signatures or eSign 
In order to link the signer and document, electronic signatures embed a unique fingerprint into documents and the signer is required to possess a digital certificate to eSign a document. Digital certificates can be compared to the physical forms of ID, such as a driver’s license or a passport. In the case of Electronic Signatures, a trusted third party, known as a Certificate Authority (CA) serves as the notary in terms of verifying your identity. 

A digital signature in the form of a scanned image of the signer's signature is considered to be legally binding in most countries, depending on the nature of the document being signed. But does vary by country and at state levels. Many regulations and states are now demanding Electronic Signatures over Digital Signatures. Because Electronic Signature or eSigns provides authenticity and integrity that can be held up in a court system.

Types of Electronic Signatures
Using Electronic Certificates, different document platforms and services allow you to create different types of signatures. Let's have a look at two of the most popular document processing platforms, Adobe PDF and Microsoft Word.

1. Adobe PDF
Adobe PDF supports two types of Electronic Signatures, 
a. Certified.
b. Approval.

Certified Signatures
Merging a certifying signature to a PDF implies you are the author of the document. And have finalized its contents and want to make it safe against tampering after it has been distributed. 

Approval Signatures
By capturing the electronic approvals made by individuals or departments and embedding them within the actual PDF, Approval signatures facilitate an organization's approval procedure. Signatures can be customized to include an image and various signature details.

2. Microsoft Word
Microsoft also supports two types of Electronic Signatures,
a. Visible.
b. Invisible.

Visible Signature
Similar to a physical document Visible Electronic Signatures appear as a signature line. When you need multiple users to sign documents like contracts or other agreements this method is commonly used.

Invisible Signature
When you need document authenticity and integrity, but don’t need a visible signature line, Invisible signatures are used. 

In summary, since being electronic signed, the signature would be displayed as invalid if changes were made and the document will not be tamper. A trusted organization (the CA) will be verifying your identity. When you apply an electronic Signature to a document, a cryptographic operation will bind your digital certificate and the data will be signed into one unique fingerprint. The uniqueness in the signature is what makes electronic signatures a viable replacement to wet ink signatures.

For more information contact us. We, Finahub, are experts in Aadhaar related products and services like eSign, eKYC, Authentication etc. If you want to know how your enterprise can start using it, please give us a call @ 0484 2388285 or email us at [email protected]