Anatomy of a Digital Signature

Back in the day, before the age of digital signatures, documents and contracts had to be signed, delivered, faxed, or scanned and then filed. This process was time-consuming and costly. Today, with the advent of digital signatures, we are better equipped to replace outdated processes and improve productivity and efficiency.

Secure Digital Identities

Electronic fingerprints are analogous to digital signatures. The digital signature is like a coded message that securely identifies a signer in a recorded transaction. When you sign a document with a digital signature, you are linking the document’s fingerprint to your identity. The information is then permanently incorporated into the document. If someone tries to tamper with it after being signed, the document will show evidence of this. This is why it is time to update to digital signatures if you work in a highly regulated business or any industry that requires this level of protection.

Digital Certificates

To ensure security and global acceptability, digital signatures use a standard, approved format called Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). A digital signature is a PKI-based digital certificate that verifies the signer’s identity and assures that electronically transmitted documents and digital messages are not altered with or counterfeited.

Digital certificates are digital credentials used to verify the online identities of people, computers, and other networked entities. Passports and driver’s licenses are examples of identification cards that work similarly to digital certificates. They usually include a public key as well as the owner’s identification. They are issued by certification authorities (CAs) that verify the identity of the certificate holder before and after the certificate is granted.

Digital signatures are also comparable to physical signatures. However, with digitally signed documents, a digital signature provides significantly more security and assurance of the document’s origin, identity, and integrity. Digital signatures are legally enforceable in most countries as they meet the highest security standards.

What Does a Digital Signature Look Like?

The PKI certificate, which is software code, sits at the heart of a digital signature, the digital signature is not visible. Document platforms, on the other hand, may provide immediately identifiable proof that a document has been digitally signed. This appearance, as well as the certificate details displayed, differs depending on the document type and processing platform. A digitally signed Adobe PDF, for example, includes a seal icon and a blue ribbon across the top of the page that indicates the document signer’s name and the certificate issuer.

Digital signatures can also include an image of your physical signature, date, place, and official seal, and can appear on a document in the same manner as physical signatures do. Digital signatures can be disguised even though the digital certificate is still valid. Invisible digital signatures are useful when a document, such as a photograph, does not ordinarily display the image of a physical signature. The document’s properties may expose information about the digital certificate, the issuing CA, and an indication of the document’s legitimacy and integrity.

If a digital signature is faulty for any reason, the document will tell the user that it should not be trusted.

Integrating Digital Signatures

KRIS Document Management System (DMS) implements digital signatures to streamline your business processes and eliminate repetitive requests for document signing.

Documents can be signed by parties spread across the globe, ensuring records are updated and executed quickly. Our consultants are ready to assist with helping your business improve document management with greater speed and increased security, while reducing costs.






Find out how a Document Management System can simplify your everyday office processes.