What are Electronic Signatures?
Anyone who is new to this area could feel confused easily on what electronic signature is all about and to how different kinds of e-signature differs in relation to legality and evidential power. At basic level, any mark on electronic document could be used in capturing the intent of the signer to either accept or approve the content of that particular document. It is not important on how the sign is created or the form of mark. Rather, the most important part is to prove who have made the mark and that the document wasn’t changed.
As you read this article, you are going to learn about the types of electronic signatures used in today’s time.
Number 1. Click-to-Sign signatures – normally, these include of scanned images, typed names, e-squiggles as well as tick boxes. When using this category of signature, there isn’t cryptographic protection for the document. Having said that, the signatures are usually lacking of enough evidences of who have made the signature or protect the document from potential modifications. It could be that they are easily cut and pasted from one doc to the other.
Number 2. Basic electronic signature – in this type of e-signature, it needs the signer to apply their hand signature mark on document and then, it would be protected with cryptographic digital signature. Through basic e-signatures, it creates crypto digital signature using server held signing key like for instance, belonging to a service provider organization. Because of this, this was also called as “Witness” digital signature.
Number 3. Qualified and advanced e-signatures – if you are looking for something that delivers the highest level of assurance and trust for signing keys on every signer, then you should look for AES and QES or Advanced Electronic Signature and Qualified Electronic Signature respectively. This directly links to the user’s identity to signed document such that anyone will be able to verify it on their own by using industry standard PDF reader. Take note as well that these are also called as digital signatures than e-signatures.
Not just that, the signer has the only control of their private signing key which guarantees non-repudiation even if the service provider is not responsible for the creation of signature. Remote signing has tons of benefits including the ability of signing from any machine without using specialist devices similar to hardware tokens, readers and smartcards.
Actually, QES are more of a trusted version of AES since it requires higher level of security in protecting the signing key of user and formal registration process at the same time to verify their identity through qualified Certificate Authority.