ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE

What is the difference between digital signature and electronic signature?

SIGN.PLUS Team
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4 min read

Digital signature vs electronic signature. What is the difference, and which one is the right choice for your business?

These days, more and more companies, businesses, and entrepreneurs are using and implementing electronic signatures into their daily operations. However, many people believe that digital signatures and electronic signatures are the same thing and don’t know the difference between digital signatures and electronic signatures. It is easy to confuse these two seemingly similar technological processes, yet throughout this blog post, you will learn the difference between electronic signatures and digital signatures,  when to implement each one of them and how to start signing away.

Keep on reading to learn:

  • What is an electronic signature?
  • What is a digital signature?
  • What is the difference between digital signatures and electronic signatures?
  • Digital signature vs electronic signature – Which one is right for you?

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature, also known as an E-signature, is an efficient way to digitally sign your documents. It is a legally viable method to get approval or consent on digital documents. An electronic signature can be used in any instance where your physical signature would be used and is the online equivalent of your signature. The formal definition of an electronic signature is “an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record…adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”. This means that your digital signature holds the same legal authority as your physical signature as defined under the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN). Finally, the term electronic signature (eSignature) is a broad term used to encompass all the different types of signatures used and created electronically, this term also includes digital signatures.

What is a digital signature?

A digital signature is your version of an electronic fingerprint that is embedded into a document. The process incorporates an algorithm that encrypts the signature to generate a unique digital certificate. This certificate is a receipt that securely associates a signer with any interactions within the document and a signer must have this certificate in order to be associated with a specific document. This makes unwarranted tampering practically impossible and ensures the integrity and security of your digital documents.

What is the difference between digital signature and electronic signature?

Purpose – A digital signature is used with the intention of protecting a document and it is frequently used when digital documents need to adhere to regulatory requirements such as but not limited to evidence collection in court cases as well as litigation documents, medical research reports, or documents requiring professional seals. Electronic signatures on the other hand are used to verify a document and indicate consent on the behalf of the signer. They are typically used with less sensitive digital documents such as invoices and contracts.

Security– A digital signature is created and enforced by using cryptographic algorithms in the encryption and decryption of digital documents. The digital signature is regulated and verified by certification authorities, and for it to be verified, proof of identity needs to be provided. With the electronic signature, no algorithms are used, but with SIGN.PLUS we encrypt all documents at rest using 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), with each user’s unique encryption key, offering Swiss-grade security even for electronic signatures.

How it is represented – With digital signatures, the “fingerprint” is embedded into the signed document with the creation of the digital certificate. An electronic signature can be represented in a myriad of ways, it is not limited to the electronic version of your handwritten signature, but a password, a pin code, or any other form of confirmation or consent.

Digital signature vs electronic signature – Which one is right for you?

So, digital signature or electronic signature? should you implement a digital signature or an electronic signature? When it comes to dealing with everyday, straightforward contracts and forms, an eSignature solution will provide you with all the necessary tools to sign your documents efficiently and hassle-free. You can further request the signatures of others to streamline the signing of your outbound documents as well.

If the digital documents which require your attention are more sensitive, or need to adhere and comply with data and privacy regulations, a digital signing solution is more suitable for your needs. This method requires some extra steps for the setup, but provides all the security measurements required to comply with privacy restrictions.

Looking for a secure and compliant electronic signature solution? SIGN.PLUS is a legally-binding electronic signature solution allowing you to create your own digital signature and seamlessly sign documents anytime and anywhere. We offer electronic signing solutions for the legal, medical, and real estate sectors, with all the privacy requirements already implemented.

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