Understand the Difference Between Digital Signatures and Electronic Certificates

Updated: Feb 8



Rapid technological developments and the pandemic situation have changed the way business people carry out their activities to become increasingly digital. One of the digital solutions that are now widely used both by companies and personally is digital signatures.


Understanding Digital Signatures


A digital signature is a signature that consists of electronic information that is attached, linked, or related to other electronic information that is used as a means of verification and authentication.


As their name implies, digital signatures are digital. However, the signature is different from the scanned wet signature that is "affixed" to the electronic document. The function of digital signatures is not only to guarantee the authenticity of documents so that it is possible to validate them, but also to show that a document is legal. Cryptographic systems in digital signatures are provided by electronic certificates.



Advantages of Using Digital Signatures


Here are some of the benefits of using a digital signature.


1. Cost and Time Efficiency

Digital signatures can be a solution for businesses in terms of operational efficiency. Companies no longer incur unnecessary costs such as printing files in order to obtain signatures. The cost savings can then be allocated for other purposes.


2. Easy Access

Digital signatures provide convenience in terms of access. Because they are digital, they can be accessed from anywhere, anytime - from computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.


3. Fast and Practical

Document signing can be done more quickly and practically. Social distancing protocols can be maintained because the parties involved do not need to meet in person.


4. Safe and Comfortable

Ideally, digital signatures are protected by a user biometric authentication system. The system uses a person's biological identity to verify, for example, the shape of a person's face. The person's identity can only be officially verified if the data provided matches the data in the system. Digital signatures also make it easier for consumers to access services without having to wait for documents to be processed.


If the data provided does not match the recorded data, then the user’s identity will not be verified and he or she will not be able to access the signature. Digital signatures can thus help to prevent forgery.


Understanding Electronic Certificates


An electronic certificate is electronic data containing digital signatures and identities indicating the status of the legal subjects of the parties in electronic transactions issued by Electronic Certification Operators, also known as PSrE, or certificate authorities. The PSrE acts as a facilitator, organizer, and supervisor in the implementation of digital signatures. Its job is to establish a hierarchy for digital signing of electronic documents.


When a digital signature is affixed to an electronic document, the electronic certificate will record the signature and various important information that accompanies it, such as the identity of the signer and the time of signing. Without an Electronic Certificate, the digital signature is deemed to be not certified or legal.


Advantages of Using Electronic Certificates


1. Guaranteed Authenticity of Documents

Certified digital signatures that use electronic certificates provide three guarantees of trust for the owner, namely in the form of data authenticity. It indicates the identity of the owner of the certificate in the electronic document; it confirms the integrity of the data so that the activity in the signed electronic document can be monitored; and it guarantees the authenticity and integrity of a document so that the document is undeniable, and the signatory cannot deny having made an electronic transaction. You can check the authenticity of the digital signature by contacting the Electronic Certificate Operator (PSrE) authority as the issuer of the electronic certificate used to perform the digital signature.


2. High Security

Electronic Certificates are secured with asymmetric cryptography to ensure security by attaching a private key to an encrypted electronic document that can only be decrypted using a public key. The public key functions so that the recipient of the electronic document can validate a person's digital signature. If there is a change in an electronic document that has been signed electronically, the digital signature will automatically become invalid.


Electronic certificates are designed to be hack-resistant and counterfeit-resistant and are issued by bodies that can revoke the identity card at any time (for example, if the card is used for other purposes or is lost).


3. User Identity Identification

Electronic certificates contain personal information to help identify and track users. In addition, the electronic certificate contains the information necessary for identification and communication with the authority that issued the document.


4. Easy to Track

Thanks to this electronic certificate, digitally signed documents can be more easily tracked or monitored. When you sign a digital document, the certified digital signature will store a unique code that you can match with the original code after sharing the document with others.


Difference between Digital Signatures and Electronic Certificates


From the understanding, uses, and advantages of using digital signatures, the differences between a digital signature and an electronic certificate can be categorized as follows:


Digital Signature

Electronic Certificate

Validation

Validating the data on the documents sent

Validating sender identity

Function

Shows the status of the document as having legal force and as self-representation

Shows the status of the legal subjects of the parties in the electronic transaction issued by the Electronic Certification Operator, also called PSrE or certificate authorities

Types

There are two types of digital signatures:

  1. Digital signature that has an electronic certificate

  2. Digital signature that does not have an electronic certificate

Only available on certified digital signatures


Now you know the difference between a digital signature and an electronic certificate. Streamline the document signing process by switching from wet to digital signatures. Make sure you choose a digital signature such as VIDA Sign, which has been certified and is registered with the Main Electronic Certification Provider (Rooted CA), in this case the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.




Read: Projected Growth of Digital Signatures over the Next Five Years

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