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What Is a Digital Signature & Why Is It Important?

by Ayla El Assaad

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

Learn more about digital signatures, what information they include, and the legality and trustworthiness of digital signatures.

With e-signing rapidly being adopted as the new signing norm, you’re probably wondering what makes digital signatures unique and why they’re important. This article will answer those questions, so don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

What Is a Digital Signature?

A digital signature is an advanced type of electronic signature that comes with enhanced security features that make it difficult to forge or manipulate. When you create a digital signature on a document, a unique number or digital fingerprint is generated through a cryptographic process. This is issued by an official authority with the purpose of guaranteeing the authenticity of the signee and their signature.

What Information Should a Digital Signature Contain?

Different countries have different requirements for the type of data that digital signatures must have. But in general, digital signatures are embedded with certain information that helps identify the signee. With Smallpdf’s eSign, for example, the certification includes the signee’s name and identity information and a Long Term Validity (LTV) timestamp that stores the date and time of the signature.

Why Are Digital Signatures Important?

Digital signatures are the most secure form of electronic signatures and the most trustworthy, making them ideal for sensitive legal documents and contracts. The certification and authenticity information stored within a digital signature is very difficult to manipulate or forge.

It is still important to keep the specific requirements of your country in mind when it comes to the legality of digital signatures. If you’d like to explore the legality topic in more detail, check out our article on the trustworthiness of digital signatures here.

If you’re curious about creating your own digital signature or you’re interested in trying out a digital signing solution, then check out Smallpdf eSign. You can even sign-up for a 7-day free trial to unlock premium features, including timeline activity management, unlimited signees, and LTV timestamping.

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Ayla El Assaad
UX Writer @Smallpdf