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The basics of electronic signatures for large corporates: an introduction to SES, AES, and QES

In the rapidly evolving world of digital transactions and paperless operations, the concept of an "electronic signature" has become increasingly relevant, especially for large corporations engaged in extensive document processing and distribution. In this blog, we focus on what electronic signatures are, how they function, and the various types of signatures available to large organizations.

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What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature, also referred to as an e-signature, is the digital equivalent of a handwritten signature. It comprises electronic data used by the signatory to electronically endorse a document or transaction. The primary advantage is the ability to efficiently and swiftly sign documents without the need for printing, manual signing, scanning, or physical delivery.

What are the requirements for a digital signature?

A digital signature must meet specific criteria to be considered valid and legally binding, particularly in the corporate realm:

  • Authenticity: The signature must accurately represent the identity of the signatory.
  • Integrity: The signature must ensure that the signed document remains unaltered since the time of signing.
  • Uniqueness: The signature must be unique to the signatory and not easily replicable.
  • Verifiability: It should be possible to verify the validity of the signature.

SES, AES, QES - What do these terms mean?

In the world of electronic signatures, various terms are used to denote different levels of signatures, and large corporations often have specific requirements:

  • SES (Standard Electronic Signature): This is the simplest form of an electronic signature, where the signatory, for instance, accepts a document by clicking a button. It still holds legal value, but large organizations may require more advanced options.
  • AES (Advanced Electronic Signature): An advanced electronic signature provides higher levels of assurance, such as identity verification and traceability of changes made to the document. This type of signature is frequently used for legal documents and is pertinent to large-scale corporations.
  • QES (Qualified Electronic Signature): This represents the highest level of electronic signature, necessitating specific hardware or software and accompanied by a qualified certificate. It possesses the same legal standing as a handwritten signature and is suitable for businesses with stringent compliance requirements.

How to create a digital signature?

The process of creating a digital signature can vary, depending on the tools and software utilized by large corporations. Generally, the process involves uploading the document to be signed, designating the parties authorized to sign, selecting the preferred signature type (SES, AES, or QES), and subsequently transmitting the document. Once all parties have signed, you receive confirmation, and the document is marked as "Signed."

Digital signature regulations 

In the European Union, Regulation (EU) No. 910/2014, known as 'eIDAS,' has been in effect since 2014. This regulation governs electronic identification means and trust services for electronic transactions. eIDAS establishes a common framework for secure electronic transactions within the EU and recognizes electronic signatures as valid, provided they meet specific criteria. Compliance with this regulation is crucial for large corporations, particularly when dealing with extensive document processing.

Efficiency and Security with Electronic Signatures for Large Corporates

Electronic signatures offer large corporations an efficient and secure means of signing documents and conducting transactions without the need for physical presence. Understanding various signature types and applicable regulations is essential for effective utilization in the modern business environment. With the right knowledge and tools, electronic signatures can streamline and simplify corporate processes while preserving legal validity. Explore more about the possibilities of electronic signatures on our page. Unifiedpost, recognized as a Trusted service provider for eIDAS, is the intelligent solution for smooth electronic signing and document delivery for large corporations.

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