Demand for signing digital documents is increasing, and there are already a number of different options and suppliers to choose from. However, there are significant differences in function, quality, security mechanisms and legal support among the solutions available on the market today. How do you navigate through this jungle of signing solutions and choose the right supplier? Here are some questions you should ask yourself about the electronic signature.
What is an Electronic Signature Really
“Electronic signature” is a collective term for the techniques and methods used to sign or sign digital documents. This corresponds to a handwritten signature on a physical document. There are many variants of electronic signing, with varying security and degree of legal binding, ranging from signing a PDF file using an electronic pen, to authenticating using a NemID or a biometric feature such as a fingerprint.
“E-signing” and “digital-signing” are other commonly used terms used to describe the above-mentioned signing methods.
Why Choose Electronic Signature
Our society and working life are being digitized and streamlined at an incredible speed. Many expect you to work wherever you are and at all times of the day. This places great demands on the solutions and tools you use. With the use of electronic signing, you are no longer bound to have to be in the office and depend on equipment that prints and scans. You can make quick decisions, and not least, process them while on the go.
Besides saving time and increasing efficiency, it also saves on equipment, maintenance, mailing, and document handling.
By using electronic signatures, you are no longer bound to the office and dependent on printing and scanning equipment. You can make quick decisions, and not least, handle them while on the go.
Is Electronic Signature Legally Binding
The short answer is: Yes, electronic signing is as binding as signing with pen on paper.
As a result of the EU regulation elDAS, which entered into force in the EU on 1 July 2016, Denmark and the EU thus have common rules for secure electronic transactions. The main elements of elDAS are that the European countries approve each other’s solutions for electronic identification (eID) and electronic signature etc. This means that an approved solution for electronic identification and electronic signature in Denmark will be approved in other European countries. This removes the digital boundaries, which has been an obstacle until the EU regulation comes into force.
“An approved solution for electronic identification and electronic signature in Denmark will be approved in other European countries. This removes the digital borders that have hitherto been an obstacle”
eIDAS defines how a qualified signature should have the same legal effect as a handwritten signature. When it comes to the legal interpretation of electronic signatures in general, the legislation is interpreted so that all types of electronic signatures, qualified as well as unqualified – can be given legal effect.
Specifically, the eIDAS regulation states that an electronic signature cannot be denied legal effect simply because it is of an electronic form or that it does not meet the requirements for an electronic signature. What is crucial to the spelling will be in which it is possible to prove the authenticity of the electronic signature and the accuracy of the content of the document.
How Secure is Electronic Signature
The degree of security for the signing solution depends on how the solution is technically designed and what kind of complexity is at stake. Of course, there will be a big difference in the security of a solution where the document resides on email, sign a pdf version electronically, and then send it back via email vs. To use a signing solution that also frames the broadcast, the document is stored and which uses NemID or biometric authorization.
In order to secure a solution for electronic signing, there are several elements that need to be in place:
- The solution must use secure and approved eID based identification solutions
- Secure and approved formats that can be verified in standard applications
- The solution itself must be secure and undergo regular security testing
- One must be able to trust that the supplier takes safety seriously
Furthermore, a signed document must be verifiable by recipients and, if applicable, by a third party, without special tools required. At the same time, the security and quality of the format used must be so good that it is valid over a long period of time.