What is a digital signature?  Is it the same thing as an electronic signature?  In an ever-evolving technological landscape, in which new and updated terminology and functionality are relentlessly presented to a myriad of industries, it can be confusing to know the differences between the two.  But it’s actually quite simple.  You can use both e-signatures and digital signatures to establish a secure, user-friendly, compliant and rapid signing process.

How electronic signatures work

An electronic signature (or e-signature) is an electronic signing process that functions as a means of accepting an agreement or contract.  Electronic signature software can employ a wide variety of standard electronic authentication methods to confirm signatory identities – such as email address, company ID, password protection and a secure PIN.  Proof of signing can be indicated with a secure process that includes an audit trail.

How digital signatures work

Digital signature solutions leverage certificate-based digital identification for validation of document integrity.  These certificates are often issued by a certificate authority (or CA) and provide proof of signing with trusted timestamps, and through the use of encryption, to bind a digital certificate associated with a signature to the corresponding document.  Essentially, digital signature certificates serve to guarantee that the document has not been tampered with after the electronic signature has been applied.

Why digital signatures are needed

An integrated solution for digital signatures and electronic signatures can help your organisation remain compliant, and adhere to regulations while securing your signing process.  Your business can benefit from replacing manual, paper-based signing processes with electronic signatures for shorter contract lifecycles, reduced costs and automated document workflows.  Upgrading from electronic signatures to digital signatures can further improve security, compliance and signature acceptance. Digital signatures provide higher-level authenticity and integrity.

The benefits of digital signature software

Digital signature software can give you a secure, comprehensive and compliant process.

If electronic signatures are the virtual equivalent of handwritten signatures, then digital signatures can be considered the virtual equivalent of notarised signatures. You need a digital signature software that allows your business to keep your electronic signature process secure, and offers security certificate, proof of document content integrity and signature timestamp.  You need Contract Insight.

Contract Insight’s digital signatures provide a secure, transparent, user-friendly and compliant signing process.  You can save time, money and resources with a process that is more secure, accepted, streamlined, cost-effective and efficient than one relying on manual, wet signatures or basic electronic signatures.

Contract Insight from Four

Contract Insight is a cloud-hosted (SaaS) or deployed (on-premise) contract management solution.  The acclaimed platform is trusted by thousands of professionals for their contract management, legal document managementprocurement and sourcing needs.  Used by many Fortune 500 companies, Contract Insight gives you real time visibility into your contracts. It doesn’t just shore up your security; it will help you meet contract compliance regulations, centralise your contract management and improve your overall contract administration process.

For more information, contact John O’Brien, CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrators providing business processes improvements in financesupply chain and operations, across a broad range of industries.