The shelves of companies loaded with many thick paper documents' binders are an image that is sinking fast in the past. The companies virtually abandon paperwork and live much more comfortably. In the long run, a digital signature can completely displace the written by hand.
While it may seem at first glance that switching to electronic documents within a company is not easy because it requires a separate agreement signed with a qualified signature, but it is, in fact, a one-off action.
Before talking about the subtleties of a digital signature, let's take a look at this short video- look at the evolution of our table.
When moving documents and document management processes to computers, the daily human satellite - the signature - goes along. I dare to predict that year after year the digital signature will be used more and more often in modern businesses, state institutions, and individuals. But not only the companies can facilitate their life. Any person, you and me, can do it also. For this, you just need a digital signature. Are you using it already?
In the past, all parties involved had to exchange their signed paper documents in order to legalize the slightest agreement. In this age of electronic society, they can do it faster and save a lot of time. Now, the digital signature allows citizens and businesses to deal with a lot of things just when they are at the computer.
Residents can declare their place of residence, income, and assets without leaving their homes, order and receive various certificates. Businesses can provide data to state institutions, contract with clients or partners, electronically manage company internal documents. This still incomprehensible and unmanaged functionality not only saves time but also reduces the number of different logins, passwords, code cards, and their generators. Let's start from the beginning - the acquaintance.
Let's talk about electronic services so that you can learn how to make your life more comfortable - get familiar with a digital signature.
Sign Electronic Documents - Photo credit: blog.panchayatguide.in
What Is Digital Signature?
Have you received a long-awaited parcel, signed on a courier tablet and are happy about your purchase? It's not that easy. Such a signature is just a children's game, and a picture on a tablet cannot be considered a true signature. If you signed up for a tablet that your courier gave you, don't think you're using a digital signature.
In fact, such a signature is very misleading for the people, because the signature image cannot be considered a digital signature. It is not linked to the data to be signed. It is easy to copy the image and attach it to other documents without the owner knowing it. That's just a beautiful toy. The only real way to digitally sign documents is a digital signature.
An electronic signature is defined as data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign.
How many times have you read this cold definition in the last six months and have you tried to understand what is being said here? Let's try it easier: a digital signature is completely different from a simple handwritten signature. And this is not scanned or reproduced signature that we put on the document.
Simply put, this is your signature in an electronic version. You can confirm your identity and sign documents.
A digital signature is a unique code that is created for one person and a specific document - digital signature encodes a unique combination of numbers and actions that are unique in each case. If you saw this code on an electronic document, it would look like a meaningless patch of characters. However, you can do 2 things with this code:
• Identify the signatory;
• The integrity of the document.
For example, by signing a document by e-signature, it is easy to prove during the legal dispute that the document is the original. So, all you need to remember about the definition of the digital signature is: a digital signature is a unique code. How does it work? Let us examine the details.
How Does Digital Signature Work?
A digital signature looks like a simple card with a chip or a USB flash drive that holds and saves a signature specially created for that person. The signature itself consists of several parts. The most important ones are the public and private key.
The public key, along with the personally identifiable data, lies securely in the same medium given to the man. The device is designed so that the private key from this medium cannot be extracted either physically or by programming.
Your digital signature is essentially a meaningless patchwork of characters. Every time a document is signed, another character collection is created. If different people sign the same document, they will all get a different set of characters, but people are identified as each of them have a private key that is used to create the patchwork.
During signature verification, according to the signed data and the person's public key, it is verified if the signature is placed by the private key of the person or not. The person's private key is not used during signature verification, and only a public certificate with a public key is used.
During signature creation, algorithms are used that make it impossible to set a private key under a public key, or to obtain a recurring character set. This allows you to ensure that no person can sign for another person and no one will be able to deny your signature. Any change to the data will be detected during the verification.
How does digital signature works? - Photo credit: youtube.com
A Cipher Without Trace
The digital signature is encoded by an asymmetric cipher. Electronic banking code cards operate on the principle of a symmetric cipher.
Symmetric cipher: both the sender and recipient of the code have the same information. It is not possible to determine whether the code is led by the owner or the thief.
Asymmetric encryption of a digital signature uses two different algorithms to encode and decode the same message. Both keys are related, but having a public (issued to human) key is not able to explain the contents of the private key.
When checking the signature, you need to know the signed document, what algorithms are used, and what the person has signed. A personal certificate with a public key is usually placed on the same media.
You do not need to panic if you lost digital signature media. The person must apply to the facility and the place that issued the certificate and demand that the certificate is suspended. The signature will immediately become null and void. All signatures made after this date will be declared invalid. A four-digit PIN security code is only additional security, and one should behave in the same way as a lost bank card.
Electronic Signature - Photo credit: blog.helastel.com
What Can We Do With A Digital Signature?
Essentially, the same things can be done with a digital signature as an ordinary signature - document authentication and identity identification. The only difference is space: the digital signature is only valid in electronic format.
Imagine that your company must enter into a service contract with colleagues in another city or even country. How would you plan the signing process? You can choose from 3 options:
1. Travel to another city and sign a contract by hand;
2. To send the contract by registered mail;
3. Take advantage of the digital signature.
The first 2 options will take a lot of your time and will cost you extra. Who would like it? My recommendation is not to consider a long time, choose the third option, and start providing services the next day. The company would not only save but also start earning more quickly than its competitors.
Mostly, a digital signature is used to validate any type of computer document (even images or audio recordings).
An important detail is that both parties should agree on signing electronically. Because contracts signed with two different signatures will not work.
So always choose one way. And the scanned signature does not turn into a digital signature.
Sign Electronic Documents - Photo credit: twitter.com
The benefits of a digital signature in business and public sector are obvious - it helps to organize work more efficiently. Documents travel independently through the virtual space, and people get rid of courier labels. In this way, there is extra time on the agenda of each employee for previously delayed jobs, and sometimes for a conversation with colleagues at a coffee cup.
A digital signature is often used to access some specialized information systems (Tax). In this case, email your signature will act as a means of confirming your identity. The digital signature can be used in many banks' electronic banking systems instead of password cards or password generators.
It should also be noted that complaints from individuals to public administrations may be submitted by signing them electronically. The customs formalities of import and export may be accomplishes using electronic signature. More and more public procurement bodies want to receive offers virtually and signed by electronic signature.
Using e-signature, you don't need to waste time and go to the office. Everything you can manage with a few clicks.
Digital signature - Photo credit: twitter.com
Mobile And Digital Signature Is The Same
The digital signature can be acquired in several different ways, but all operate on the same principle. You can install a signature on your ID card. True, then a card reader will be required for which you will have to pay.
The signature can also be placed on a USB storage device. Purchasing digital signature tool on these media will also have to prepare your computer and install the required programs. However, the easiest way is to have a signature on your mobile phone's SIM card. This will not require any additional devices or high costs.
There is no difference between a signature on a card, a USB stick, or a SIM card.
The final result is an electronic signature that does not differ substantially. The knife can be sharpened manually and with an electric sharpener. With one more comfortable, but the result is the same - sharpened knife.
For a signature on a chip card, you may need to pay. Signature on a USB storage device is a bit more expensive. For a signature on a chip card, you may need to pay. Signature on a USB storage device is a bit more expensive.
Mobile signature - Photo credit: trendhunter.com
You can also sign electronic documents using your mobile phone. Telecommunications companies offer mobile signature service when the electronic signature is stored on the SIM card.
The mobile signature allows you to opt out of additional devices because the scanning device is replaced by a mobile phone with a new SIM card having e-signature capability. For a user who wants to use mobile e-sign, just need to change your existing SIM card to a new one and sign electronic identity agreement.
Mobile signature infrastructure is secure: the personal key on the mobile phone from unauthorized use is protected by two codes - the phone and the signature (so-called sPIN), which only the user knows. Even if he loses his phone, a stranger, without knowing the code, cannot use the e-signature. And with the SIM card locked, there is no way to make unauthorized use of your mobile signature.
My advice - use Mobile Signature
Well, what to do when the electronic signature is already in your pocket or on your mobile phone? Note that the electronic signature has the same legal effect as a regular signature.
With an electronic signature, you can connect to many online portals, including banks. All banks operating in my country can be connected by a mobile signature. We cannot connect to all banks with ATK card or USB storage device because, unfortunately, not all banks have installed this service for their clients. So far, the most popular way of using such a signature is the same electronic banking, but its use on the other pages has gradually grown.
For personal use, I would advise you to use a digital signature on your SIM card on your mobile phone. USB or chip cards are mostly used by those who need the electronic signature at work when it is used frequently.
Mobile signature - Photo credit: arq.ro
It Is Easy To Sign Electronic Documents
With digital signature we can sign electronic documents (contracts), provide electronic applications or complaints to state institutions, use the electronic services of various institutions, thus saving time and reducing costs.
Signing electronic documents with e-signature is simple enough, and specific actions depend on the software you choose. In most cases, software manufacturers describe what steps to take to sign a document with their hardware. Typically, a person who wants to sign an electronic signature needs a qualified electronic signature certificate that can be obtained from a certification service provider.
You also need a computer, a chip card reader, and a digital signature software. The chip card reader can be installed on a computer, on a keyboard or connected by a separate connector as an external device. Digital signature software is required for the recipient to receive and verify an electronic document in a particular format.
A card reader is a computer accessory that allows you to connect an electronic signature card chip to a user's computer. A typical card reader looks like a small flat box that has a slot for inserting a card at one end, and a cable from the other end of the box has a USB plug at its other end that connects to the computer's USB port. The card reader can also be integrated into a computer keyboard - the slot for inserting a card is usually located on the right side of the keyboard, at the end of the keyboard or at the top. Card readers are mainly sold by specialized electronics stores.
Digital signature software - Photo credit: diena.lt
Advantages Of Digital Signature
A digital signature is an electronic equivalent of a normal signature and an identity document that allows you to conveniently connect to online information systems and sign electronic documents with a signature in a legal way. The main advantage of a handwritten signature is that it is virtually impossible to counterfeit such a signature.
The massive use of electronic signatures is mostly influenced by a fairly wide range of public and private services. The majority of the world's banks have already made a significant part of their e-banking services available to digital signature users.
Convenient: The mobile phone is always nearby. No need for passwords or code cards. You can sign legal documents wherever there is an Internet connection.
Quick: You can connect to different online systems as fast as using code cards.
Simple: It is enough to know how to use the phone and remember the signing PIN.
Safe: Your signature is protected by a special signing PIN that only you know. In addition, the phone is protected by the normal PIN code. If you lose your phone, you just need to block the SIM card.
In general, bigger e-signatures' breakthrough is only hampered by habits, psychological hurdles, and stereotypes that perhaps a written signature is more reliable or that an electronic signature will not be recognized, for example, by public authorities.
The answer to these fears is that in the case of written signatures, in order to determine whether a particular person has signed a particular document, a handwriting examination (which would take a considerable amount of time and is performed only in exceptional cases), paper documents can be lost and so on. And if to use a qualified electronic signature, a properly functioning electronic signature verification tool can do this right away.
A digital signature - Photo credit: delfi.lt
In addition, service providers who want to issue qualified digital signature tools are subject to very stringent requirements, and electronic documents are stored in dedicated databases that provide security. For these reasons, you can believe electronic documents are safer than paper.
Perhaps the more realistic the threat is that the development of IT is also improving online burglaries and the possibility of counterfeiting electronic signatures. However, individuals must make an effort to keep their data secure - use strong and complex passwords to access publicly available services, not to use the same passwords on several different service portals, never open emails or links in them if the email address is unknown. In any case, the security of the electronic signature is greater than the written signature, and it is worthwhile to overcome the psychological barriers to make the company more modern.
At The Final Note
The digital economy is rapidly replacing the old way in all areas of modern society. Personal life and workplaces are transforming, new professions and tools of interaction appear. In the era of such large-scale transformations, the problem of information security in organizations is becoming increasingly important.
Electronic documents signed by digital signature are gaining their popularity. Public authorities have relocated communication for many public services in the electronic space, and people started entering into electronic transactions. So, with time, we all will encounter the need to acquire a digital signature.
Ciphers and codes exist, probably, from the moment humanity learned to write their impressions of the world around. If you think about it a little, even an ordinary alphabet is already a cipher. So, it is not a surprise at all that digital signatures were created on the basis of ciphers.
Applying digital signatures makes it easier for people to live in many areas - from simpler document approval at public authorities to more convenient handling of any business documentation. Electronic signature moves the paper documents to the past.
More and more people and organizations are using digital documents instead of paper documents to conduct day-to-day transactions. By reducing dependency on paper documents, we are protecting the environment and saving the planet’s resources.
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