The advancements in technology have brought us many great things. Among them are digital signatures. In simple terms, these are unique fingerprints through which a document may be deemed authentic and no two persons share the same one.
A digital signature can be used to sign a legally binding document. Because it’s secure by design, it’s deemed as compliant with industry regulations. This has several practical implications, meaning that a contract between two entities can be established without the physical presence of either.
Underneath the lid is what’s referred to as Public Key Infrastructure (or PKI for short). This is a mathematical scheme that’s used to identify who signed the document and even the time when it was signed. The complex architecture of the technology prevents someone from falsifying it and tampering with it, even during transit.
In practice, digital signatures can be used in a myriad of scenarios that go beyond the signing of documents. Examples include verifying the validity of a credit card transaction, an email, etc. When the technology is used in the latter, virtually the whole email acts as a building block of the digital signature.
Every digital signature employs the power of public and private key cryptography. As the name implies, only the signer can view the private key and it’s part of the encryption. The public key, on the other hand, is what’s used for decrypting the message so the intended recipient can view it.
Powerful encryption is at the heart of every digital signature.
This gives people the confidence to conduct their business online rather than having to be physically present in the same room. Nowadays, when it’s very much the norm to collaborate with people from all over the world, the technology truly is a lifesaver.
At any time you wish to sign a document using a digital signature, you can use any computer or smart device. To create one, you need to work with the appropriate Certificate Authority. During the process, an online form will pop up and you will be asked to populate it with relevant details.
When the contents of a digital signature are formed, the algorithm looks at the content of the documents to calculate the unique hash value. Together with the sender’s private key, an encryption is formed. When the document arrives to the receiver, their computer uses the public key to decrypt it and thus make the content readable.
The advantages of digital signatures are numerous:
– Time and cost savings. Since a legally-binding document can now be signed with the click of a button using a plethora of smart devices, this allows for substantial time and money savings since no traveling is required and no paper or ink is consumed in the process.
– Efficiency. Digital signatures can be placed on a myriad of documents within minutes. This not only speeds up the process but also allows for tracking what documents still need to be signed.
– Security. The underlying technology prevents someone from tampering with the signature and ensures its validity.
– User experience. Since digital signatures allow you to conduct business from anywhere in the world in a streamlined fashion, this makes things easier for those who live in remote areas.
As people are getting more comfortable using digital signatures during their day to day lives, the benefits of this technology are cast in the spotlight. Thanks to their practicality and secure design, conducting business from every nook and corner of the world is now a streamlined experience.