Digital Transformation Glossary
At Conclude we know exactly how confusing and intimidating all the technical jargon can be, so we have created a handy glossary of terms to help you navigate your way through it!
Advanced Electronic Signature
An advanced electronic signature (AES) uses similar technology to standard electronic signatures but adds an extra layer of security and reliability by assigning a unique “signing key” to every signatory. This signing key links a user’s registered and verified identity to each of their signatures, allowing for proven identity.
In South Africa, “an advanced electronic signature is a digital signature created with a digital certificate from an accredited Authentication Service Provider, following a face-to-face identification process with the subscriber. It is deemed particularly reliable in law and is prima facie valid, i.e. is always assumed to be valid and have been applied correctly, to eliminate the burden of proof to the distributing party.” (Source: LAWtrust “What are Advanced Electronic Signatures?“, March 29, 2018.
A qualified electronic signature (QES) is slightly better than an AES, as the signer’s identity is verified by a qualified Certificate Authority when registering for the digital certificate.
A certificate authority (CA) is an organization that validates the identity of a person or entity (for example, a website, email address, company, etc.). This validated identity is linked to a specific cryptographic key in the form of a digital certificate.
A Click-to-Sign signature is the most commonly used form of electronic signature. Click-to-sign allows the user to enter a simple signature (typically a typed name or ID number, or template image signature) to acknowledge what they’ve signed and identify themselves as the signatory. These signatures are mainly for simple things like deliveries – they offer no real certification of the signee and offer very little legality or protection as it is difficult to confirm who actually signed the document.
A digital certificate is a cryptographic key that authenticates the identity of a person or entity by serving as a credential to validate that entity is who they purport to be – it serves as a digital ID or passport. A digital certificate also provides security by enabling the encryption of data traveling over a network such as the Internet or ensuring the integrity of electronic documents signed with the certificate so that they cannot be altered in transit.
A digital signature is a specific technical implementation of an electronic signature and is characterised by a “digital fingerprint” that is embedded in the document. The signer is required to use a digital certificate to sign the document that links the signer to it. The digital certificate is often issued and authorised by a designated Certificate Authority.
The terms “electronic signature” and “digital signature” are often used interchangeably, however a digital signature is a highly secure type of digital signature, and currently has the highest trust and authority for e-signatures.
There are two types: advanced and qualified e-signatures.
The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002, the South African law that regulates electronic communications and transactions.
Electronic signatures or eSignatures are electronic methods of applying a signature to a document. An electronic signature is any electronic symbol, process or sound that is applied to a record with the specific intention of signing the record or document.
Standard Electronic Signature – According to the ECT Act, a Standard Electronic Signature is “data attached to, incorporated in or logically associated with other data and which is intended by the user to serve as a signature” This type of signature may be drawn using digital tools or can be a scan of a signatory’s handwritten signature
Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security – This is the technology used to secure an internet connection. SSL uses encryption to “scramble” data so that anyone who tries to intercept it, will not be able to decode it. TLS is a more modern, secure version of SSL.