The success of e-commerce has led to a growing need to secure commercial transactions, thus propelling the electronic signature into an essential ally to achieve this.
The electronic signature makes it possible to guarantee the integrity, authenticity, confidentiality and non-repudiation of the commercial documents exchanged.
- Integrity: it defines the ability to ensure that the document has not been altered. In other words, the document sent and the document received must remain identical throughout their routing.
- Authenticity: it confirms the identity of the natural or legal person who signed the document.
- Confidentiality: it ensures that the document is exclusively accessible to authorized persons.
- Non-repudiation: Once the document is signed, the person who signed it cannot deny having signed the document.
Thanks to this set of guarantees, the electronic signature has established itself as an essential element for the approval of commercial documents, especially when it comes to business-critical flows.
Its importance is such that today the electronic signature is legally recognized as the mechanism for securing and identifying documents in many countries and legal texts.
In a few words, the electronic signature is based on a set of data necessary to certify the validation of a document by a signatory, while ensuring his identity and the integrity of the signed document.
This mechanism is also called digital signatures or e-signatures. However, the term used does not always refer to the same concept (technical and legal) depending on the country.
How the electronic signature works
The majority of electronic signatures are based on data encryption systems through the use of electronic certificates.
Electronic certificates are used to certify the veracity of the identity of a person (natural or legal). Electronic certificates are issued by Certification Authorities, which operate as trusted third parties. Its role is to act as a neutral intermediary between the various business partners involved in order to preserve mutual trust between the stakeholders.
The advanced electronic signature
This is the most widely used signature, due to the high level of security it provides. It must meet the following criteria:
- Be uniquely linked to the signatory.
- Identify the signatory.
- Have been created using electronic signature creation data that the signatory can, with a high level of confidence, use under his exclusive control.
- Be linked to the data associated with this signature in such a way that any subsequent modification of the data is detectable.
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