What Is Digital Signature Software?
Signing documents online has become significantly more popular in recent years. It helps businesses streamline their processes and close deals without ever needing to meet someone face-to-face. For modern business owners, e-signatures are essential.
As technology evolved, people and governments needed to address the legality of these electronic signatures. Various laws, such as the U.S. E-SIGN Act, made them legally binding. However, it didn’t address the issue of verification. Anyone can add an e-signature to a contract.
Digital signature software was the answer. Although digital and electronic are often used interchangeably when referring to online signatures, there’s a notable difference between the two.
While an e-signature is legally binding, it’s superficial. Essentially, it’s a visual representation of a signature and can be scanned, digitally generated, or even drawn on a notepad. However, it’s difficult to maintain and nearly impossible to authenticate.
Digital signatures are like a fingerprint. They work with PKIs or public key infrastructure.
When you digitally sign a contract, the software generates a private and a public encryption key. To verify your identity, the person opening it must provide your public code. If anything has been tampered with, the unique hash will have changed.
As a result, the key won’t authenticate the document. While it’s not foolproof, it’s one of the most secure and legally binding ways to sign and verify an electronic contract.
The two types often work hand-in-hand, and e-signature platforms will either include the service or offer it as an add-on. You’ll still get to add your symbolic John Hancock to the document. The backend adds the encryption, generates the hash, and gives the signature your digital fingerprint.