How do digital signatures work?
A digital signature is a specific type of electronic signature that requires the signer to authenticate their identity using a certificate-based digital ID. The digital certificate is generally issued by an independent Certificate Authority (CA), which verifies the identity of the signer before issuing the certificate. Digital signature solution providers, like Adobe Sign, meet PKI requirements for secure & legal digital signing.
In some jurisdictions, like the European Union, a distinction is made between two types of electronic signatures that are typically implemented using certificates: Advanced Electronic Signatures (AdES) and Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES). While both are uniquely linked to the signer, the latter requires that participants use Qualified Certificates issued by accredited CAs as well as a qualified signature creation device (QSCD), such as a smart card, USB token, or cloud-based trust service.
In addition to providing audit trails, with digital signature solution providers like Adobe Sign, the signed document itself can produce evidence of each participant’s signature. During the signing process, the signer’s certificate is bound to the document using the private key uniquely held by the signer. During the validation process, the reciprocal public key is extracted from the signature and used to both authenticate the signer’s identity through the trusted CA and to confirm that no changes were made to the document since it was signed.
How is Adobe Sign’s approach to digital signatures unique?
Adobe’s approach to digital signatures offers more flexibility than other signature solutions. With Adobe Sign, you can create end-to-end signing processes that include digital signatures, e-signatures, or a combination of the two, providing flexibility to build workflows in accordance with your own specific compliance or risk profile. It supports the full range of secure signature creation devices, including USB tokens, smart cards, and cloud-based digital certificates. And it lets you work with the certificate authority or timestamp authority of your choice, with support for hundreds of trusted authorities through the European Union Trusted List (EUTL) and the Adobe Approved Trust List (AATL).
With Adobe Sign, organizations in the European Union can confidently deploy signature processes in compliance with both the Advanced Electronic Signatures (AdES) and Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) requirements specified in the new electronic identification and trust services (eIDAS) regulation.