Digital document signing is becoming standard protocol as businesses process thousands of electronic transactions each day. But what is it, and why take the time to use it with your documents? Is there any real benefit?
What is digital document signing?
Digital document signing is a software-based process that places encrypted data within your document. It should not be confused with electronic signature (e.g., your name typed or drawn into the document).
Why is digital document signing so important?
The digital signature creation process involves using a mathematical algorithm to create data matching what’s in your file—this is known as the hash. The software encrypts this information, along with other data, using a number known as a private key. The encrypted data and another number, known as the public key, together make up the digital signature, which is appended into the document. Understanding this technical setup, when you digitally sign a PDF, or when you digitally sign a Word doc, your recipient’s software will use the public key to decrypt the document. But the software also will try to calculate a new hash. If this new hash doesn’t match the original hash from the document, it means that someone has altered the document. Thus, digital signature details enable your recipient to verify your identity and have confidence that no tampering has occurred. Today’s business contracts and other documents often include sensitive information and have significant legal implications. For this reason, being able to digitally sign a PDF online brings enormous protection to everyone involved. This protection often translates to improved trust, which can mean benefits such as longer partnerships, increased sales and faster payments. Combining these advantages with the general benefits of working electronically—for example, reduced overhead, more space, and the ability to conduct business anywhere, anytime—can give a business a serious edge in the increasingly sophisticated and competitive marketplace.