ActivePDF Blog

Wait... Isn't a signature a signature?

Despite the fact that companies and government organizations around the world have
invested huge sums in automating their business workflows, many are still printing
paper for the purpose of obtaining signature approvals. Projects can be held up for days
and costs accumulate while documents are mailed between offices, partners, suppliers
or customers in order to collect signatures.

More and more organizations are interested in adopting a paperless process and
automating their document workflows; as a result, to cut operational costs, improve
efficiency, address legal compliance and limit liability.

Digital Signature vs Electronic Signature

A digital signature takes the concept of traditional paper-based signing and turns it into
an electronic “fingerprint.” Everything (characters, images, etc.) in the document are
pumped through a “process” to create what we will call a “magic number”. Any change
to the document alters the magic number. The magic number is then “locked” with a
private key and stored inside the document or logically associated with the document.
The magic number can be “validated” with a public key. Digital signatures ensure the
authenticity of the signer. Any changes made to the document after it has been signed
invalidate the signature, thereby protecting against signature forgery and information
Posted: 1/8/2015