The introduction of the systems of electronic document management at enterprises is becoming widespread. Managers are striving to improve workflow and reduce the time spent on processing paper correspondence.
The introduction of the systems of electronic document management at enterprises is becoming widespread. Managers are striving to improve workflow and reduce the time spent on processing paper correspondence. For the maximum benefit from the use of e-documents, it is necessary to think about electronic signatures.
A Brief Introduction to E-Signatures
An electronic digital signature is a special information that is added to an electronic document. It helps to verify whether changes were made to an electronic document after it was signed and ensure that the person who signed this document was identified. It is possible to add an e-signature to an electronic document using a private key and special software.
What is a private key? A private key is a set of symbols in the form of a computer file. At the same time, the private key plays the role of a pen when you are signing a document on paper.
To verify the digital signature on an electronic document, a public key (a different set of characters) is used. After generating a digital signature, the public key becomes a part of it and is not used separately.
A public-key certificate is a document that certifies the identity and ownership of a public key by a signer. Such a document is issued by an accredited key certification provider like SignNow, and it exists in electronic form. To verify the digital signature on a document, you must have a signer’s certificate and use a special e-signature platform.
The certificate is used to verify the digital signature on the document. It is not secret and can be freely shared online and through other open communication channels.
As a result, we get the following. One person or organization signs a document using a private key, and another verifies the signature on that document using the public key.
Many of those who have already used the SignNow e-signature service identify it with a small file generated by a computer on a flash drive.
Pros of Using an Electronic Signature
Using an e-signature provides:
The legal force of electronic documents
By legal force, electronic documents signed with an e-signature have the same force as documents with a handwritten signature or seal. Every resident of the country has the opportunity to use an electronic signature and carry out legally significant actions through electronic document management.
Using an e-signature, you get additional options for encrypting documents. This ensures the confidentiality of information, which excludes access to it by any person who does not have a private key.
Improvement of business processes at enterprises
Electronic document management at enterprises significantly reduces the volume of paper documentation. An e-signature saves employees’ time and costs of enterprises associated with the conclusion of contracts, execution of payment documents, and their forwarding to the counterparty.
Conducting business relations at a modern level
The use of an e-signature significantly speeds up the conduct of commercial transactions. This factor eliminates the need for additional meetings and hours of negotiations.
How long does it take to apply an e-signature to a document?
The procedure of applying an e-signature to a document takes a few seconds, depending on the client’s option for storing the private key.
Do I need to keep the public key secret?
No. A public key is called public because it does not need to be classified. Anyone who wants to verify the validity of your digital signature must use the public key. This key is contained in a public key certificate file, and it is secured against counterfeiting.
Is it possible to counterfeit an e-signature?
No, if the private key is stored correctly by its owner, counterfeiting is impossible. Follow the recommendations on the storage and use of the private key contained in the documentation, and you will be protected from forgery.
Is it possible to discreetly forge the text of an electronic document signed with an e-signature?
It’s impossible. Any unauthorized changes in the document will be instantly detected since verification of the digital signature will show that the document has been changed after signing.
Paper documents with a signature and seal can be stored, but is it possible to store an electronic document signed with an e-signature?
Of course, this is much more convenient. No filing cabinets, storage folders, or staplers are needed for electronic documents. You will not have to waste precious working time flipping through folders in search of a document lost in the archives.
The archive in paper form occupies several shelves. While in electronic form, it fits on a small disk or flash drive, which can be hidden in a safe, placed in a bank depository, copied for reliability, encrypted, etc. In fact, many more operations can be done with it, allowing you to save your information from accidents and malicious intent. Scanning such an archive and finding any necessary electronic document in it is a matter of a few seconds. And at the same time, along with the document, the digital signature will also be preserved in the archive, which, even after years, will confirm its authenticity to you and anyone else.
An electronic digital signature remains an effective solution for everyone who wants to use the latest technologies and be successful in business. Documents signed with an e-signature can be transferred to their destination in a matter of seconds. All participants of electronic document management receive equal opportunities, regardless of their physical location.