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Can Digital Signatures Be Trusted?

by Ayla El Assaad

You can also read this article in German, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese and Russian.

We’ll take you through the legality of electronic signatures and what security features to keep in mind when using an e-signature software.

As more of our work moves online, you might be considering an electronic or digital signature solution for your business—or maybe you’ve received an e-signature request yourself. It’s normal to wonder if an online-based signature solution is safe and if it’s legally binding. We’ve put together this guide to help you out, but first ...

How Do We Define a Digital Signature?

An electronic or e-signature is a reproduction of your signature on a digital document or file. A digital signature, on the other hand, is a more advanced form of an electronic signature with additional security features. When you digitally sign a document, a unique digital marker or fingerprint is generated to authenticate you. An official certification authority usually issues this.

Is a Digital Signature More Secure Than an E-signature?

In short, yes. Both e-signatures and digital signatures are legally binding—always check your local laws—but a digital signature is more secure. The unique digital marker generated when you digitally sign can be verified and is very difficult to forge or tamper with.

Security Features of Digital Signatures

Depending on the e-signature software you’re using, you’ll find various security features on offer. Some of the most important to look out for are TLS encryption and GDPR and eIDAS compliance. Some solutions, like Smallpdf's eSign tool, also offer real-time timeline activity tracking, email verification, and Long Term Validation (LTV) timestamping.

Are Digital Signatures Trustworthy?

Absolutely! Digital signatures can be verified and authenticated using any PDF reader. It’s very difficult to tamper with or forge a digital signature.

If you’re looking for a secure and easy-to-use electronic and digital signing software, then check out Smallpdf eSign. You can take advantage of our 7-day free trial for access to our Pro features, including timeline activity management and unlimited signees.

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Ayla El Assaad
UX Writer @Smallpdf