Today every type of transaction has moved online from corporate documents to government records. As a result, digital signatures are becoming the norm. It increases security and eliminates the need for handwritten signatures. Digital document signing also saves time.
There are three types of electronic signatures simple e-signatures (SESs), advanced e-signatures (AdESs), and qualified e-signatures (QESs).
What is Digital Signature?
Traditionally handwritten signatures are used to show agreement, but digital signatures go a step further. They use cryptography to add a layer of security and trust. As a result, the idea of including digital signatures has been adopted by numerous organizations in digital documents.
A digital signature confirms the integrity and accuracy of a digital file by applying mathematical methods. It ensures that the contents of a digital file won’t be changed when it is sent or received.
1. Simple Digital Signature
Simple e-signatures (SESs) are the easiest to implement without encryption. They are mainly used for attendance sheets and basic forms. Because they don’t include any identity verification.
Since it is not encrypted the signer’s identity is not displayed. Also, a simple digital signature is not recommended for legal documents because it is unable to show the changes in the file after it is signed.
The most common example of a simple digital signature is the terms and conditions box that we check in the software installation process. You can also add a simple digital signature online on PDF with a few clicks.
2. Advanced e-signatures (AdESs)
There is not much difference compared to simple digital signatures. The only benefit of using advanced digital signatures over simple digital signatures is the ability to show changes that occurred in the document after it was signed.
However, the signature cannot refer to a verified identity. Also, because the signing process is not through 2-factor authentication documents signed with this category of digital signature do not have legal power.
3. Qualified e-signatures (QEs)
It is the safest type of digital signature that has legal strength equivalent to a handwritten signature on paper. They are made with asymmetric cryptography technology and are able to show when, where and which device was used during the document signing process. Also, the changes that occur to the document after it is signed can be easily detected.
A 2-factor authentication method is used to verify the identity of the person signing the document. Biometric scanning or a one-time password can be used for authentication. Due to the extensive authentication and verification process, signed documents come with a uniquely attached electronic certificate to verify the identity of the signatory.
Category of Digital Signatures
This class of digital signatures provides the highest level of security. They are widely used in e-auctions, court filings, e-tendering, etc.
In today’s digital world, digital signatures are used in a variety of ways. The common uses include signing documents, emails, certificates etc. Depending on your purpose, you can choose from different types of digital signatures. It is easy to create your own digital signature and use it for a variety of purposes. Signer.digital also allows users to create digital signatures online for free using its modern browser extension. It enables users to sign documents, eReturns and files across different formats.