Digital signatures are one of the technologies businesses are adopting to keep up with digitization. Digitization is all about adopting electronic ways of executing various tasks. As the name suggests, digital signatures involve the signing of documents electronically.
Such a system brings about efficiency in business operations and allows you to cut unnecessary costs like printing and express delivery fees. But like any other technology, security is often a concern entrepreneurs want to know about before adopting any innovation. In this case, are digital signatures secure?
The answer is yes, and here are the reasons why:
Use Of Digital Keys
You generally utilize keys to access a locked space like a room or a closet. Without the keys, you won’t gain access. The same concept applies to the digital key system of the esignature.
Here, the keys in use are private and public. The original document sender will use a private key to encrypt some of the data they’re sending digitally. They’ll then send the public and private keys to the party supposed to sign, along with the document.
The said signatory will use the public key to authenticate the sender’s identity. Once sure the private key is from the intended sender, the recipient will use the private key sent to decrypt the data and sign the document.
These keys are unique, and you can’t transfer them from one person to another. All users have their own key, enhancing security.
There Is Signee Authentication
The online space is at risk of security breaches, such as hacking, which can compromise many processes. In this case, there’s a possibility of a breach, especially if the document’s recipient carelessly handles their public key, giving access to an unauthorized party. Although it doesn’t happen often, you must guard against such situations.
Digital signatures allow for identity verification before giving complete access to the document. The verification will require inputting a password, code, or personal identification number (PIN), often sent through email. Once you input the correct code, the system verifies it’s the right user and gives access to the document.
However, it’s good to point out that the procedure tends to differ from one digital signing software to another. It’s best to inquire about this with your vendor.
There Is Non-Repudiation
When handling contracts, you’ll work with different types of parties. Some comply with the provisions of the agreement, while others may deny signing the contract when things don’t work in their favor. In such scenarios, the latter may claim they aren’t the ones who signed; hence, they’re not bound to honor the contract.
Using digital signatures can put an end to this difficult predicament. As previously stated, the keys are non-transferable and unique. Therefore, once you sign, the system will identify you as the signee, which also includes the time stamp of the process. No party can deny the authenticity of the signature, securing the interests of all parties. This legal concept, where a party can’t deny the validity of something, is known as non-repudiation.
There Is Document Authentication
In document handling, there’s always a possibility of content alteration. A party might make changes in its favor. If the other party doesn’t notice the alteration, they may sign a document whose contents aren’t as originally agreed upon. The use of digital signatures prevents this deceptive ploy by adding a method of verifying a document’s originality.
Part of the encryption process involves creating a hash message. It contains a string of numbers and letters representing the original document’s exact characters.
Therefore, as the recipient decrypts the message, the system will compare it with the original document’s hash message. Any discrepancy indicates that the document the receiver is about to sign has been altered. The recipient shouldn’t proceed with signing and take it up with the document’s sender.
With this authentication feature, you don’t have to worry about signing the wrong document and being bound by a contract you didn’t agree to.
Points To Note
From the discussion above, it’s clear that digital signatures are secure. However, their security depends on a couple of factors.
One, you’d want to enter into a contract with trustworthy parties. It’s essential because private keys need to be safeguarded. It’s best to know that you can trust that the parties concerned will not disclose the private keys to unauthorized parties for malicious activities.
Two, using digital signing software enables you to sign your documents electronically. Many such tools are available on the market. Therefore, you must do your due diligence before choosing one. Be on the lookout for security features, such as anti-virus. If the technology is not secure, expect security concerns with the signing process, which is bad for business.
Digital signatures are secure for your business transactions as long as you follow the correct procedure. Therefore, you may have plenty of reasons to invest in specialized software and adopt digital signatures in your business. However, the decision is yours to make, so ensure it’s the right one.