The days of pagers and fax machines are long gone. Snail mail has also greatly diminished, and even wet signatures are becoming old-fashioned. The digital revolution has transformed the very fabric of how we connect, interact, and conduct business. And, if we’re not keeping pace with the latest trends and advancements, we inevitably fall behind. 

For businesses and organizations, maintaining the same rate of progress as the competition is a multifaceted challenge. How do you keep the operational costs low and become more efficient while adhering to strict security guidelines? It’s a continuous task where even the smallest of details can make a positive difference.

One such aspect is the way you sign your documents and ensure their integrity. With digital signatures becoming the norm, you’re missing out on tons of benefits if you still don’t use them in your company. But before listing a few of them, let’s see how the document signing works.

Document signing and digital signatures

To apply a digital signature to a document, you need a document signing certificate. You can get it from a Certificate Authority that acts as a trusted third party. The CA validates the requestor’s identity and then issues a document signing certificate. Breaking the certificate’s encryption is beyond human capabilities. That’s why a digital signature is by far the most secure type of electronic signatures.

Based on asymmetric cryptography, document signing certificates have a private key, which only the signatory holds, and a public key available to everyone. Together they use the PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) to generate the digital signature. Here’s a real-life example of how the signing process works:

  1. Let’s say you want to send a file to one of your clients. First thing, you’ll open it with your default program and follow the instructions for that particular program to apply a digital signature.
  2. Your program will generate a hash value of the file’s contents and encrypt it with your private key to generate the digital signature.
  3. Now, you can send the digitally encrypted file to your client.
  4. Your client will open it with his preferred program, and it will identify that the document includes a digital signature.
  5. Your client’s device will attempt to decrypt the digital signature by using your public key and re-generating the hash.
  6. If the hash values match, then the document is authentic.

Benefits of document signing

In a world where sensitive data security is under threat, protecting documents’ integrity and proving their validity is essential for any business and organization. The use of the digital signature helps companies save costs and dedicate more time to their clients. With document signing, you can close contracts on the go from your mobile or tablet without setting time-consuming physical meetings. Below you’ll find several benefits of document signing and digital signatures:

  • Legal validity. In jurisdictions such as the US and EU, digital signatures hold the same legal status as traditional paper-and-ink signatures, including non-repudiation. This means the signer cannot later disagree with the terms of the contract or refute ever taking part in the agreement.
  • Efficient document processing. According to a study by FinancesOnline, it takes just 37 minutes on average to obtain a digitally signed document compared to 5 days for traditional signatures. That’s a whopping 22,000 hours saved annually. Moreover, document signing contributes to 80% error reduction and 85% productivity improvement.
  • Cost reduction. Businesses that use digital signatures can cut down document handling costs by as much as 85%. 
  • Flexibility. With document signing certificates you can apply digital signatures to a wide range of files, including Microsoft Office, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, and Adobe.
  • No expiration date. Digital signatures include a timestamp with the original date of the document signing, letting you know that the document is altered after the original document signing certificate has expired.
  • Environmentally sustainable. Digital document signing reduces the amount of paper printed, copied, and filed. According to Corp Magazine, US businesses waste $8 billion every year for handling paper documents. Digital signatures can save as many as 2.5 billion trees by 2040.

Who needs document signing?

From critical industries to small businesses, every company needs digital signatures to operate efficiently in the current digital landscape. Many sectors, including the legal and medical care ones, have requirements that regulate the use of digital signatures. Here’s just some of the entities and instances that can’t do without document signing:

  • Government agencies
  • Law firms
  • Insurance companies
  • Investment/Private banking
  • Shipping companies
  • Accounting firms
  • HR departments
  • Loan applications
  • EU laws and regulations

Where can you get a document signing certificate?

At SSL Dragon, we offer the best document signing certificates on the market. Issued by DigiCert and Sectigo, the leading commercial Certificate Authorities, our affordable document signing certs are a great addition to any company that wants to secure, protect and optimize document workflows.

Final Words

Digital Signatures have become an indispensable part of the way companies and organizations conduct business. With so many documents processed daily, their integrity and security become top priorities. Hundreds of industries have already streamlined their workflows by transitioning from ink to digital. Now it’s the perfect time to join them.