How secure is your digital signature solution?

Published Date: 23 December 2019

When it comes to electronic signature, the first question we ask ourselves is: is it really secure? In recent years, the possibilities to sign a document electronically have been increasing, which leads us to wonder about digital security and the legality of the electronic signature.

Although more and more companies are using this technology, you may wonder if your data, documents and signatures are really secure. Also, it is essential to make the right choice when you opt for an electronic signature solution.

 

How to guarantee digital security?

To guarantee a certain level of digital security, the choice of your solution is essential. It is important indeed to use an electronic signature solution which protects you as an individual or as a company, but which also allows you to create official and legally compliant signed documents.

Well designed digital signature solutions offer you the possibility of using a whole series of methods to identify and authenticate signatories. This range of different signature levels needs to comply with international legislation on electronic signatures and EU directives.

 

What makes an electronic signature legal?

The eIDAS regulation, which entered into force on July 1, 2016, ensures that electronic signatures are legally binding. These European regulations mean that any electronic document you send between two EU countries is secure, legal and regulated. Regulation (EC) No 910/2014 allows EU members to make transparent transactions between countries. 

 

Beware of non-compliant electronic signature solutions

Many of the “certified” digital signature providers out there are simply “pasting” your signature into a PDF document as if it were a simple image. The problem is that this kind of practice will generate a document that has no real legal value. Indeed, this document is not linked to any particular person, that is to say, that it is impossible to determine or prove who is the signatory.

Worse, you can edit the contents of the document after it has been signed and no one else would know. This process can cause you serious problems and put your team or business at risk. Proving the validity of documents is a standard practice in every business and not being able to perform this simple task, puts your whole business at risk. 

Imagine someone taking a photo of your signature on a paper document and then “simply” uploading that image to one of these applications. He/she can then create a contract, saying that you previously agreed to a monthly salary of 150.000 DKK and then request the amount from you. And now what are you doing? How can you prove that you didn’t sign this agreement when it is your signature on the document?

Such a practice is dangerous because you cannot pretend that a document signed in this way is reliable and then refute the authenticity of a document signed in the same way. Generally speaking, this practice offers no protection to the signatory or the content.

 

Electronic signature versus handwritten signature

So finally, why not just manually put your signature on a paper document? Nowadays, a conforming electronic signature is more widely accepted than a handwritten signature because there are irrefutable layers of security and authentication. The electronic signature contains a lot of information on the signatories, but also on the signed document, as well as on the place and the time at which the agreement was signed.

A handwritten signature can be easily copied or forged, while an electronic signature that complies with digital security protocols is 100% certified.