Digital Signatures vs. Electronic Signatures: What's the Difference?


CobbleStone Software offers digital signatures.

What is a digital signature?  Is it not that the same thing as an electronic signature?  In an ever-evolving technological landscape in which new and updated terminology and functionality are incessantly presented to a myriad of industries, it can be confusing to know the differences between the two terms mentioned above.  However, those differences are actually quite simple!  Get familiar with these two terms and discover how to utilize 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 the document has not been tampered with after the electronic signature has been applied.

Since the advent of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act of 2000, both digital signatures and electronic signatures have been considered to be as legally binding as handwritten, “wet” signatures in the United States.

Why Digital Signatures Are Needed

An integrated solution for digital signatures and electronic signatures can help your organization to remain compliant and adhere to regulations while securing your signing process!  Organizations from a variety of industries 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.

Some regulations (e.g., eIDAS, or Electronic Identification, Authentication, and Trust Services) and other international, federal, and state laws may now require digital signatures because they provide higher-level authenticity and integrity.

You may be asking yourself: How can I be certain that a signed document has not been compromised or tampered with?

The Benefits of Digital Signature Software

Digital signature software can help you to answer the question above confidently with 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 notarized signatures.  The aforementioned certificate authority (CA) serves as an electronic “notary” for the verification of document integrity and signatures.

You need a digital signature software that allows your organization to keep your electronic signature process secure, and one that offers security certificate, proof of document content integrity and signature timestamp.  The solution that you need is CobbleStone Software.

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

Legally binding, compliant digital signatures with CobbleStone can help your organization to meet the requirements of many international and industry-specific regulations for signature security and verification like eIDAS advanced electronic signatures and more.

Get Started with CobbleStone Digital Signatures Today!

With constantly changing signature processes involving increased regulations, increased threats to security, and increased opportunities for more efficiency, CobbleStone Software is your dependable signing solution for today and into the future.

It’s time to take advantage of an integrated digital signature and electronic signature software solution that powers your organization with simple, fast, secure, cost-effective, and compliant signature options.  Book a free demo to get started today!

Request a CobbleStone Software Demo

Please note that CobbleStone’s digital signatures is an optional add-on to the CobbleStone IntelliSign electronic signature module.  Please contact your Account Representative today for a demo and pricing.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice.  The content of this article is for general informational and educational purposes only.  The information on this website may not present the most up-to-date legal information.  Readers should contact their Counsel for legal advice regarding any particular legal matter

Sean Heck

Written by Sean Heck

Sean Heck is Content Marketing Manager at CobbleStone Software

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