Differences between Electronic and Digital Signatures

With Electronic and Digital signatures becoming more and more common and known to the average person. There are still a lot of people who are unsure about certain things.

In this post, we will hopefully be shedding some light on one of the main questions we get asked: “What is the difference between electronic and digital signatures?”

 

Electronic and Digital Signatures

 

 

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What is an Electronic Signature?

An electronic signature is a digital form of making a mark on an electronic document, as a method for signing a document. It serves the same purpose as a wet signature, as it is meant to be a form of identification and consent on the document.

What is a Digital Signature

A digital signature is a form of electronic signature and is used for the same purposes. However, a digital signature is accompanied by public key infrastructure (PKI). This allows it to leverage cryptography to protect the document, as well as added steps to validate the identity of the signer.

What are the differences between these signatures?

Now that we have a better idea of what each of the signatures is, let’s dive into the key differences that there are between them.

Electronic signatures are a very quick and simple way to digitally sign an eForm, whereas digital signatures are a bit more complicated, as they require extra steps to validate the signer’s identity.

Electronic signatures can be used for most documents, however, digital signatures are recommended more for sensitive or legally binding documents.

When you sign an eForm with an electronic signature, they are not protected with cryptography. Digital signatures come with Public Key Infrastructure, to ensure they are encrypted, protected and tamper-proof.

Digital signatures are accompanied by a digital certificate that ties the signer’s identity to their signature. This usually includes additional steps such as password confirmation or receiving and entering an OTP when signing. Electronic signatures have no means of validating a person’s identity as the intended signer.

Digital signatures come with embedded time and date stamps, to ensure their longevity, whereas electronic signatures have no way of confirming when a document has been signed.

Conclusion 

While both electronic and digital signatures are digital ways of signing electronic forms, the digital signature is by far the better option. This is due to the additional protection and validation steps that come with digital signatures. However, electronic signatures can be just as good, if not better in terms of their simplicity to use and incorporate (keeping in mind, they cannot be used if you intend for a document to stand up in a court of law).

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