Electronic Signatures Vs Digital Signatures
14
Nov

How Electronic Signatures Are Different From Digital Signatures?

The world is moving towards an era of e-governance & e-transactions and hence electronic and digital signatures play an important role in authenticating documents. All signatures related to electronic media are termed as electronic signatures and they include digital signatures. All digital signatures are electronic in nature but all electronic signatures cannot be categorized under digital signatures. Many of the companies are providing electronic signature services to clients across various segments as they are simple in nature. Any voice, image or impression by a person used as a signature on electronic document becomes electronic signature. Digital signatures are imprinted signatures with a mathematical scheme embedded in the document or mail.

Electronic Signatures

Electronic signatures are very simple and easy to use and they are widely accepted by many companies across the world.  A user can do an electronic signature by clicking the mouse or tracing a signature with finger on the document.

PROS

  •  Easy to use as they can be applied with a click of mouse or you can trace a signature onto the document with your finger.
  •  They do not have the hassle of coding and other securities and hence provided by many companies issuing e-signatures.
  •  Lower transaction costs involved with electronic signatures make it a hot favorite against signing of a paper based document.
  •  You can go green with electronic signatures by saving tress, which could be cut down for manufacturing paper.
  •  It will speed up any business contracts and legal formalities which is a plus point for your organization.

CONS

  • Electronic signatures are not regulated like the digital signatures and do not come with an embedded finger print.
  • The electronic vendors set their own standards and you are forced to believe them, when they say their electronic signatures are secure.
  • Electronic signatures are not coded like the digital signatures. This coding is the main thing which authenticates the identity of the signer and the time on which the document was signed.
  • Electronic signatures constitute an image placed on the document and it will not give any information regarding document being tampered with.
  • One more drawback is that you need to check back on the vendor to know whether your document is tampered or not and if you want to change the vendor then you will lose all your previously signed documents on the vendor’s server.

Digital Signatures

Digital Signatures are a variety of electronic signatures which are coded with a mathematical algorithm to authenticate the signer identity and secure the document against any tampering. A digital signature has an embedded finger print which can be verified by digital verification.

PROS

  • Digital signatures with verifiable embedded finger print provide highest security to the document owners. These fingerprints get altered immediately if the document is tampered with. Some of the digital signatures issuing companies comply with International standards.
  • Adhering to high PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) standards, the digitally signed documents are highly trust worthy and authentic.
  • More & more countries today are legally accepting the digital signatures due to their high level of security and signer identity verification.
  • In case of digital signatures there is no need for the signatory to rely upon vendors to retain the authenticity of his digital sign for a document. Even if you change the vendor the authentication of the digital signature by a signatory remains inside the document.
  • Digital signatures can stand against any kind of independent verification by any authority in the International arena. The authenticity of the signatory can be proved in any court of law across different countries of the world.

CONS

  • Getting digital signature is a little costly affair as the vendor has to comply with code generation and International standards of PKI (Public Key Infrastructure).
  • The technology used for developing digital signature is high end and not all the companies provide them and these technologies have a very short shelf life.
  • In order to use digital signatures effectively both the senders and the recipients may have to obtain digital certificates from trusted certified authority.
  • The senders and receivers may have to buy verification software at a cost to verify the authenticity of digital certificates.
  • In some countries laws related to digital signature are nonexistent; people may get in to trouble in such countries for having digitally signed documents.
  • There are many digital signature standards and they are incompatible with each other. Hence sharing of digitally signed documents becomes complicated.