What is Digital Signature Software?
Digital signature software is used for authenticating digital texts, files, documents, and messages. Digital signature is considered valid for contracts, tax forms, invoices, transactions, legal and corporate processes. Online digital signature software can be easily used in place of manual handwritten initials and ensure complete security against frauds.
PDF signature software solutions are developed for capturing digital signatures through cryptographic applications. Once done, these signature formats can be attached or pasted to documents as valid proofs.
Software solutions for digital signing are used by businesses big and small, organizations, institutions, and individuals to send documents/contracts to multiple clients Some of the best Digital signature software also provides summary reports, authentication, response data, document tracking , and helps manage liability waivers.
Digitally signed documents ensure that the original content is not changed, tampered with, or misused in any way. It requires no papers, printer, ink, electricity, courier services which reduce overhead costs for organizations.
How Does Online PDF Signer Software Work?
Signing a PDF document electronically requires third-party Software, also known as PDF Signer Software. Adobe Acrobat is one of the most used PDF signer software. Here is how to sign a PDF electronically with Adobe Acrobat.
- Select the PDF file that needs to be signed and open it in the PDF signing software or application.
- Go to Tools panel, search for Fill & Sign option and click on the same. (Tools panel is in different locations in different applications.)
- An Add Signature option would appear after clicking on Fill & Sign option. Click on this option to sign it digitally.
- After selecting the Add Signature feature, three new options would pop up - Draw, Image, Type. This is where you would add the Digital sign.
- Use any of the three options to put a Digital signature - Attach Image, Type the Signature or Draw it. It's as per the end user's convenience.
- Once done, drag the e-signature into the space assigned for Signature in PDF file, and the e-sign for PDF file is done.
- Save the PDF file before sending it.
Is Electronic Signature Software Safe?
Electronic signature software is considered safe because of the security features like encryption, digital identity, and easy verification of signee. Digital signature has a massive advantage over manual handwritten Signature in terms of verification, encryption, forgery, and trial.
Here are a few reasons why electronic signing software is considered safe:
- Encryption: Electronic signature software encrypts signed documents for security reasons to protect the document from unauthorized access.
- Digital identity: Digital signature software uses digital identity to verify signee. Every individual has a unique digital identity which is assigned through their government certified documents like Aadhar, passport etc.
- Tamper-proof: Any modifications in the signed document will be recorded, and hence any tampering could be easily detected.
- Authentication: It's easy to authenticate whether the signer is a genuine person or not through eSignature software, as every individual has a unique digital identity.
- Record: There have been no severe cases of tampered digital signature, and it is considered among the safest ways to execute contracts and agreements.
Digital Signature Software Requirements Across Different Industries
Digital signatures have a wide range of applicability. Here are the major industries relying on digital signature certificates.
- Engineering and Construction: Engineering and construction assignments are time-bound projects that have a good number of investments at stake. Time-bound completion is thus mandatory to make it both profitable and successful. Therefore, PDF Digital signature software is relied upon to finish paperwork such as signing up contracts, tenders, appointments, quotes, purchase agreements, and subcontractor agreements on time.
- Tax and Accounting: Taxation and accounting services are full of legal/official documents such as assets and confidential letters, purchase agreements, RS forms, employee contracts, letters of consent, agreements relating to finance, etc. Such paper processes are hectic, requiring signatures from varied sources situated in different locations, within a day or two.
- IT Companies: IT companies use online signature software to sign contracts, thus helping these companies save resources on fax, email, and coordination. It also ensures proper security and efficiency in their work.
- Corporate Sectors: Teams like finance, HR, IT sales & marketing, and legal extensively use PDF Digital signature software for handling important documents. Whether someone has to sign a non-disclosure agreement, company policy agreements, or lease agreements, they need Digital signature software for authentication.
- Government Sector: Government bodies at both state and central levels have increasingly started using Digital signature software to increase compliance when it comes to signing agreements. You will thus see this sector using e-signature software for contracts/agreements involving payroll, HR, housing papers, procurement forms, citizen business agreements, and other types of internal agreements.
- Financial Sector: This is another sector, which has its share of paperwork at its disposal to complete. Applications for a loan, mortgage services, and reasonable faith estimates are the major areas where PDF Digital signature software leads to quick signing processes. For signing in electronic form for loan requests, reimbursement forms, investment applications, and opening accounts, some of the best Digital signature software are being used.
- Healthcare Industry: Government laws strictly govern the healthcare sector. It is necessary for ensuring full compliance, seamless services, and security of documents. As a result, you will find healthcare systems depending on Digital signature software for approving medical device equipment acquisition, tenders from pharmaceutical companies, managing insurance claims, clinical studies, etc.
- Other industries like education, hospitality, banking, and insurance also rely primarily on Digital signature software to validate documents through electronic Signatures.
Different Types of Digital Signatures
- Simple Digital Signature (Class 1): This type of digital signature is not encrypted. This kind of Signature is used to validate primary documents such as online forms to allow the installation of software applications or filling up admission/examination forms. Wet Signature scanned by electronic means or email signatures is an excellent example of a Simple Digital signature.
- Basic Digital Signature (Class 2): An essential digital signature is not much different from the basic level of a digital signature. The only difference is that the Basic version of the Digital Signature can recognize changes in a document once it has been signed.
- Advanced Digital Signature (Class 3): This type of digital signature has legal implications for it is binding on the contracting parties. It uses asymmetric cryptography technology and public key infrastructure to identify signature tampering and verify the user's identity.
Common Features of Digital Signature Software
While there are multiple types of digital signing software available in the market, most of them share a few standard features.
- Electronic Signing: This is the prime feature of Digital signature software. Say goodbye to signing documents manually with paper and pen. Adapt this convenient model for a safe and secure signing process. Electronic signatures are equally verifiable and legally valid alternatives to handwritten initials.
- Authentication: Authentication is another prominent feature of eSignature Software. It helps in validating the signee of the document. The software verifies in seconds whether an electronic signature belongs to the particular signee.
- Encryption: Digital signature verification software provides verification features to ensure that the digital signature is authentic and not duplicated. Most of the best digital signature tools use secure encryption techniques to prevent identity theft.
- Integrity of Data: Digital signing software encrypts documents with a unique algorithm so that no third party can tamper with original data. Also, a timestamp is added during the signing, ensuring that the document isn't modified afterward.
- Trail of Documents: Digital signing tools retain a trail of documents for their entire journey from the sender to the addressee. It ensures the authenticity and integrity of data every time it is signed to its delivery.
- Remote Signing: Documents do need to be carried everywhere physically because with digital signature software, and you can save documents on cloud storage, email, or any other device for accessing them anytime and from anywhere.
- Bulk Send: If you want documents signed by multiple people, then a digital signature platform could be an answer. All you got to do is import documents from computing devices and upload the CSV file as it contains the details of all the recipients. Next, add a field for Signature for these recipients and press the send button. It's done as soon as you receive bulk signatures.
- Integration: Automate workflows, manage contracts, and facilitate document signing online by integrating PDF signature software with varied file storage applications. Then use inbuilt templates and brand styles for customizing these documents.
Advantages/Benefits of Digital Signing Software
Digital signature verification software has numerous benefits over the manual documentation process. Its benefits include but are not limited to;
- Legal Validity: Digital signatures are valid and legally binding in any court of law. They are as authentic and as admissible as any handwritten signature or thumbprint would be. It has added benefits such as archiving documents, time stamping, and tracking.
- Secure Medium: Digital signing is not just legally valid but also highly secure. Signing parties are provided with passwords, codes, and PINs to authenticate their identity before signing. These advanced security features go a long way in ensuring that no document has been altered without requisite permission.
- Outstanding Customer Experience: Digital signing tools are a boon for customers, mainly because they can now easily access the documents. Even legal or contractual papers can be processed with a digital signature even from the remotest of locations. On the other hand, companies too don't have to wait long for receiving signatures.
- Workflow efficiency: With the above benefits in place, Digital signature software streamlines the workflow across departments and makes them efficient, convenient, and fast. Moreover, additional features such as status tracking let the signing authority or signatory track a particular document's stage.
- Cost-saving: Processes such as shipping, parcelling, packing, delivering documents are all expensive and time-consuming. But through Digital signature software, you can get documents authenticated with online PDF software and save costs, resources, and time.
- Environmental benefits: Government bodies, corporates, and non-profit organizations can significantly reduce the carbon footprint by minimizing the dependency on physical papers for signing and authentication processes.
Difference Between Digital Signature and Electronic Signature
Technically, the term electronic signature is a broader term than Digital Signature because it includes all types of signatures in electronic format. However, in general, Digital Signature is based on the Digital ID of the signee verified by a Certifying Authority. At the same time, electronic Signature is considered any other format of eSignature like scanned Signature. Here are a few
- Security: Digital signatures are highly secure platforms as they ensure encryption of Signatures to make them foolproof. Electronic signatures include not just initials but also images and symbols to highlight the person's identity signing a paper.
- Purpose: The Digital Signature is primarily used to secure a document with encryption and decryption. An electronic Signature helps verify the identity of the signee.
- Verification: Digital signing software follows a strict verification mechanism for providing a certificate-based Digital ID to the signing authority. It is done to maintain the authenticity of the Signature. Electronic signatures use email addresses, phone numbers, and pin codes to verify the identity of a concerned person.
- Validation: Trusted service providers or reliable certificate authorities provide validation for Digital signatures. Its again essential to ensure full compliance and security. Electronic signatures do not follow the validation procedure.
- Tamper Proof: Digital signatures are extremely tough to tamper with. Any changes in the document would get highlighted. In electronic signatures, identification of such tampering or forging is not possible.
- Technology: Digital signatures use asymmetric private key encryption and public key decryption technology. Electronic signatures are often technology neutral. These are secured with a private pin code or password.
- Legal Validity: Digital Signature verified by Certifying Authority is legally permissible in the Court of Law. Electronic Signature may or may not be admissible in Court of Law depending upon the circumstances.
|Digital Signature Vs Electronic Signature
||Encrypted and more secure
||Initials, images, & symbols
||Securing a document
||Verifying a document
||Certificate-based Digital ID
||No verification requirement
||Tampering is traceable
||Tampering is untraceable
||PIN, Security code
||Admissible in Court of Law
||May or may not be admissible
Considerations When Purchasing Digital Signature Software
There are dozens of electronic signature software out there in the market. Every Software has its pros, cons, and specialization. Making sure that you choose the best Digital signing tool for your organization must be of prime importance.
One must consider the following points while purchasing a PDF signer software
- Ease of Use: The foremost requirement is to look for a Digital signature platform that can be easily understood and implemented by users across an organization, even if they are technically not well-versed with the system. Also, there can be no downtime or errors while using the Software.
- Applicability: It would be helpful to choose electronic signature software that is widely accepted as it would be easy to execute contracts and agreements with third parties beyond the office.
- Compatibility: The Digital signature should have high compatibility with cloud platforms and smartphones for easy mobility and sharing of documents within the organization.
- Transition Needs: The e-signature software should provide simple ways for organizations to set up an automated workflow to transition from old paper-based processes to innovative platforms seamlessly.
- Budget: In the case of Digital signing software, it would be best not to go for open-source Software. There are many affordable options available today that can provide you with Digital signature capabilities at a minimum investment. Choose the Software the fits your budget and serves your need.
- Features: Every organization has its requirements and policies while signing up for documents. So, one will have to evaluate their exact requirement, the number of users, and preferences before selecting the Digital signing software.
- Scalability: Organizations may start as a small unit and grow into a large organization with multiple branches. The signing software that you choose must be scalable enough to accommodate the growing number of documents for validation within no time.
- Customization: Some entities need features like branding and logo insertion and special mentions in case of electronic signing. Selecting Software that offers customization could be a wise decision.
Relevant Digital Signature Software Trends
Digital signing is a dynamic technology. Though electronic signature software has been around for more than a decade now, there are a few trends that you must consider while updating or implementing a Digital signing system in your organization
Here are some Digital signature software trends that you should watch out for:
- Smartphones: The use of smart devices as a digital
- signing tool is increasing as they provide mobility and convenience to users. So, it's essential to look for software with easy mobile compatibility. eCommerce companies like Flipkart and Amazon are already using this to verify delivery of goods through smartphone signatures
- Cross-Platform Compatibility: There is an increased demand for secure electronic signature software that works across multiple operating systems and web browsers. Ensure that your signing solution is compatible with various OS, browsers, and devices so that no user faces any difficulty in signing up documents.
- Integration: With technology becoming more integrated with everyday work, the need for interoperability between digital signing software and other enterprise mobility solutions is also increasing. Thus, it would help if you looked for a solution that has integration capabilities with third-party applications.
- Blockchain technology: Blockchain technology is becoming an essential part of the digital signature world. Many organizations are adding blockchain technology in their signing processes, which will make electronic signature secure from tampering.
- Cloud technology: As the work environment is transforming into a more collaborative model, the reliance on cloud-based and browser-based document management applications increases significantly.