Electronic signatures (e-signatures) and digital signatures are gaining traction as the world is moving closer to digitalization. There is a significant difference between them, and both terms are often utilized interchangeably, which may create confusion.
Generally, e-signatures and digital signatures enable the electronic signing of documents, but they operate differently when it comes to legality, security, and implementation. E-signatures are used for digital contracts, agreements, and forms. This type of signature can be made by simply typing one's name into a document field or using a stylus or finger on a touchscreen device. No doubt, electronic signatures are easy and secure for everyday use.
However, digital signatures are an improved form of electronic signature that provides encryption-based technology to verify the signer's identity and enhance the security and authenticity of the signed document. To authenticate the signer's identity and bind the signature to the document, digital signatures require a unique digital certificate issued by an impartial third party. As a result, digital signatures are more difficult to forge than e-signatures and offer more excellent legal protection.
If your company intends to sign documents electronically while still complying with applicable laws and protecting sensitive data, you must clearly understand the difference between electronic signature vs digital signature.
What is a Digital Signature?
A digital signature is an electronic fingerprint that can verify the origin of a digitally transmitted message or document. It is created with the help of cryptographic algorithms, which makes it difficult to forge or alter the signature.
The main features of a digital signature, include:
Digital signatures authenticate the document or message's author and verify the signer’s identity. The signature can be checked with a public key infrastructure (PKI) or another digital signature verification tool to ensure authenticity.
This type of signature ensures the integrity of the message or document that is not tampered with after its initial transmission. It is undoubtedly considered void if the document is altered in any way.
As the signer cannot deny signing the document or message, non-repudiation is a crucial feature of digital signatures. This is because a public key infrastructure can accurately verify the authenticity of the signer's unique signature.
There is no need for physical or paper-based documentation because digital signatures are easily generated and verified.
Digital signatures are legally binding and recognized in many countries, making them a trusted and widely accepted method of signing and authenticating digital documents.
What is an Electronic Signature?
The electronic signature is used to verify the signer's identity on digital documents and is considered an excellent replacement for a handwritten signature. It is a widely accepted signature because it is legally binding with electronic documents. There are plenty of benefits of using the electronic signature that makes this signature more convenient and trustworthy than a traditional signature.
The key features of an electronic signature include:
With the help of an electronic signature, the signer's identity can be verified in several ways, including passwords, biometric authentication, and digital certificates. These methods enable signature authentication that reduces the chances of it being forged.
The signer cannot claim they never signed the document by using an electronic signature. This can be accomplished accomplish with the help of digital certificates, which serve as a form of personal identification for each signer.
Electronic signatures provide security and protection for the signer and the document's authenticity. This can be achieved using the encryption technique, making it impossible for unauthorized access.
Electronic signatures are simple to use, which makes them very appealing. You can sign this type of signature by sitting anywhere or any place, but you need to access an internet connection. Because of this, most companies find these signatures very useful for online business and other forms of telecommuting.
Electronic Signature Vs Digital Signature
Signing electronic documents can be accomplished in a few ways, the most common of which are electronic and digital signatures. While both have a significant signature difference that can confirm the integrity of a digital file, they take different approaches and provide varying degrees of protection.
Electronic signature Vs digital signature.
Electronic signatures have different categories, including typed signatures, scanned signatures, and even a simple click on an "I Agree" button, which is used to sign electronic documents. Generally, a document can be considered as a “sign electronically,” if the signer's identity is verified and the indication of signer's intent.
Digital signatures are more secure than electronic signatures.
Digital signatures, by contrast, use cryptography to produce a unique digital fingerprint of the signed document. After this digital fingerprint is added to the document, the signature can no longer be revoked, even if the original document is altered. Contracts, agreements, and financial transactions are typical examples of legally binding documents that frequently utilize digital signatures because of the added security they provide over electronic signatures.
Moreover, digital signatures are considered authentic if the signer has a digital certification by a prominent certificate authority (CA) that can verify the signer's identity. This also ensures the signature's authenticity and non-repudiation.
In short, companies can employ both signatures to sign the documents digitally. But both signatures offer different levels of security features. For example, digital signatures provide a higher level of security and consider a preferred method for legally binding agreements. On the other hand, electronic signatures are widely accepted and used for informal agreements that do not offer high security.
The choice between a digital and an electronic signature platform depends on the security and authentication required for the document. If you're looking for a next-generation decentralized platform for the digital signing of legal contracts, financial transactions, or sensitive documents, then our dSign tool is a preferred choice because it provides a high level of security, robust authentication, various signing options, and more.
Alternatively, electronic signatures can be a suitable option for informal agreements and documents that do not need to be certified, making implementation simpler.
Therefore, when selecting between electronic and digital signatures, companies should consider the needs of the business and the nature of the documents. Both approaches have pros and cons, making a final choice should be based on a careful evaluation of needs and potential consequences.