Digital signatures have begun to be commonly used in recent years, mainly for business administration. Thanks to continued innovation, they are also being implemented by large companies such as in banking, health, and property.
If you are new to digital signatures, there are a few important things you should know, ranging from benefits, to types of digital signatures, to choosing the best vendor.
Benefits of Digital Signatures
Naturally, digital signatures are an attractive alternative to conventional signatures that use paper and tend to take a long time to obtain. They also offer a range of additional benefits that account for their growth in popularity. Here are some of them:
1. Digital signatures are more efficient
Digital signatures help to improve your workflow. Relying on conventional signatures is time-consuming - sometimes taking days to complete. For example, if a banking company requires a supervisor's signature to approve a customer loan application, but the company manager is unavailable, everything must be put on hold until he or she turns up and signs it. With a digital signature, these processes do not cause a bottleneck: the manager can sign the approval anywhere and anytime. The entire administration process can be over in less than an hour.
2. Digital signatures save companies money
In addition to saving time, the efficiency of digital signatures also has a positive impact on costs, with savings made on the purchase of paper and stationery, and media storage, which must also be in good order to avoid damage to the documents. A survey published by Adobe entitled 'Your Signature Move: Five Great Reasons to Add Electronic Signatures to Government Processes found that in addition to saving paper, using digital signatures can save around $6 per transaction.
3. Digital signatures have a guaranteed level of security
Digital signatures are more secure when compared to conventional signatures that are prone to forgery. Why? Because they contain an electronic certificate encryption process that makes them difficult to forge. The electronic document can only be validated with a digital signature. Protecting documents from the risk of fraud, spoofing, and so on is very important for both companies and the public service sector.
4. Digital signatures can be used in various fields
Digital signatures can be used for various types of documents in various industrial fields, including banking, health, and most importantly the public service sector. They can also be used in international business and trade between countries - as long as the signature is legally recognized by all relevant countries.
Types and Forms of Digital Signatures
Digital signatures come in two types: certified and non-certified. This is based on Article 60 paragraph 2 of PP No. 71 of 2019 concerning the Implementation of Electronic Systems and Transactions.
1. Certified digital signature
A certified digital signature is an electronic certificate device which is issued by a certified Electronic Certificate Operator (PSrE) that has obtained operational permits to use digital signatures by the Ministry of Information of the Republic of Indonesia.
2. Uncertified digital signature
A non-certified digital signature is one that is issued by a company that is not licensed or certified by the Ministry of Information of the Republic of Indonesia. Its use and legality are both limited. They can be used, for example, for QR codes, scanned signatures, and barcodes.
Digital Signature Evolution from “Wet” Signatures
Signatures have been around for a long, long time. They are used to show that someone agrees to an agreement. “Wet” signatures began to be seen as having limitations and hindering the changes taking place in our work and living styles. Wet signatures that require face-to-face processes and testimony hinder the approval process. That's why digital signatures are seen as the next evolution of signatures.
Digital-signature technology is not just about replacing handwritten signatures, but also about creating identity verification and signature authentication flows. These processes rely heavily on digital-technology infrastructure such as the internet and artificial intelligence for biometric detection. This evolution is of course an attempt by human civilization to improve the quality of life. Digital signatures can prevent someone from falsifying identity, falsifying documents, and also falsifying agreements.
Choosing the Right Digital Signature
Now you're starting to believe that digital signatures are a must-have technology. The next thing you need to pay attention to is which digital-service provider to choose. To avoid making the wrong choice, a number of things must be considered.
1. Pay attention to vendor reputation
One way of doing this is to study the vendor’s portfolio. Is it used by large companies and/or state agencies, for example?
Another way is to look at testimonials from previous users. If the testimonials are less than glowing, consider choosing another vendor.
2. Check vendor operating licenses
Make sure your chosen vendor has an official operating license. All vendors in Indonesia are registered with the Ministry of Communication and Information and other related institutions. This includes collaborating with digital-signature providers in other countries. The goal is to ensure the digital signature is universally legally valid without going through a complicated administrative process.
3. Consider the price offer
Do not underestimate the importance of the price factor. Prices can vary widely between vendors. This is generally reflective of the features and other services provided by the respective vendors. Make sure that you get what you pay for. Do not automatically shy away from paying a slightly higher price: wouldn’t you happily pay a little bit more for much more sophisticated features, better security, or a more convenient user interface?
4. After-sales service
Pay attention to the type of after-sales service offered. As the name suggests, this service focuses on user convenience after performing a digital signature. For example, what kind of vendor maintenance is carried out, and how responsive is the vendor when a problem occurs? How often is maintenance performed on key features? All this has a bearing on how optimal the service will be when implementing digital signatures for various activities.
5. Owned features
Make sure you have checked and thoroughly understand what features the signature service provider is offering. These include, for example, the forms used, the level of security, and ease of use.
Bear in mind that there are two types of digital signatures: those that use codes and those that use tokens. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Choose which one is most appropriate for your needs.
Those are the important things you need to know before using digital signatures. Digital signatures can be used by individuals, institutions or companies. Digital signatures continue to grow in popularity, and the technology is set to provide increasing benefits and welfare for the community.
When choosing a digital signature, you should not just look at the benefits that you get. Other aspects such as legality are also important to consider.
Digital signatures are a breakthrough in the digital era, and will usher in better practice. Are you ready to make the switch to digital signatures for your key activities?
If you are ready, then take a look at VIDA. VIDA is an Electronic Certificate Provider (PSrE) registered with the Ministry of Communication and Information of the Republic of Indonesia. As a PSrE VIDA provides digital-identity infrastructure and digital signatures to create better business processes. Contact VIDA for access management solutions, digital signatures, and identity verification systems that have been recognized and used in 40 countries around the world.