eSignatures v/s Digital Signatures – Know the Difference

How Are eSignatures Different From Digital Signatures? 

Know the difference between esign vs digital signature

eSignatures – Introduction

Digital signatures and electronic signatures are popularly deemed to be the same thing; however, the two are quite different from one another. Both forms of signatures are widely used for document and contract execution, but while eSignatures are a smart way to validate a document, digital signatures are frequently used to secure a document.

Depending on the requirement, businesses can use either or both of these types of signatures to sign numerous kinds of documents. There are a few key factors that differentiate electronic signatures from digital signatures. By comparing them, businesses can implement a suitable type of eSignature to make their documentation process flows smoother & seamless.

What Is An Electronic Signature? 

An electronic signature is the digitized form of a wet ink signature. It is associated with any document that has to be authenticated and executed by the parties involved. The aim of electronic signing is to facilitate the intention of signing the given document.

It is a simple and quick mechanism for executing any formal agreement. After a document has been electronically signed, it can be easily validated to take the process forward. The document’s authenticity can be confirmed by identifying the different parties involved.

Know More About eSign Workflow Features  

  • Purpose of Electronic Signatures: The primary purpose of eSignatures is to validate a document. It enables authorized personnel to identify the source of the document, its author, and the different parties involved.
  • The extent of Security Offered By Electronic Signatures: The level of document security offered by electronic signatures is not substantially high. They involve a basic encryption mechanism, due to which the signed document could be tampered with if they fall into the wrong hands. 
  • Regulation of Electronic Signatures: Electronic signs are not regulated by any certified authority. Since no authorizing certificate is involved with this type of signature, the security level of the document signed is low. However, the security mechanisms involved in electronic signatures are covered in the IT Act (2000).
  • Primary Usage of Electronic Signatures: The electronic signing method is easy to use and usually involves a one-step authentication via OTP to sign valid documents.  

Electronic Sign Use Cases: 

Businesses can make use of electronic signatures in place of almost every process that requires a handwritten signature for validation. When a process requires the consent or approval of parties on an electronic document, firms can integrate an eSigning mechanism to carry out the same easily.

Businesses can use this form of signature to authenticate various types of documents, including:

  • Client / customer forms
  • Employee onboarding contracts
  • Sales agreements
  • Supplier / Vendor contracts
  • Age verification procedures
  • Consent forms
  • Purchase orders, and
  • Non-disclosure agreements

To learn more about which documents can be electronically signed, click here

What Is a Digital Signature? 

A digital signature is a unique electronic characteristic that behaves like a signer’s fingerprint. It is embedded in the digital document and a digital certificate is associated with the signed document to enhance its security multifold. 

When a digital signature is created, it carries a set of keys (public key & private key) that help authenticate and secure the document being signed. Using the private key, the signer encrypts the sign-related data. The only way this data can be decrypted is through the use of the associated public key. This means that digital signatures can be used to validate and verify a signed document.

Features of Digital Signatures

  • Purpose of Digital Signatures: A digital signature is mainly used to secure a digital document so as to make it tamper-resistant. This method uses a digital signature certificate with public-key cryptography, which includes a pair of mutually authenticating crypto keys to secure a document. 
  • The extent of Security Offered By Digital Signatures: Due to the presence of heightened safety features, a document authenticated through a digital signature is exceptionally secure. Businesses can keep all their documents and contracts confidential by integrating these signatures into them.
  • Regulation of Digital Signatures: Digital signatures are governed by Certifying Authorities (CAs), who are third parties entrusted with the duty of regulating a digitally signed document.
  • Primary Usage of Digital Signatures: The key intention of a digital sign is to enhance the security of a document. In addition, it is legally binding and enables traceability to the document’s owner through a virtual audit trail.

Digital Sign Use Cases: 

The aim of a digital signature is to secure documents and prevent them from being tampered with by unauthorized users. Digital signs involve encryption technology to make business contracts and financial transactions highly secure.

A few of the areas where digital signatures are commonly utilized include:

  • Finance industries
  • Healthcare services
  • Manufacturing firms
  • Legal department
  • Government offices, and
  • Cryptocurrency transactions

Electronic Signature v/s Digital Signature: Key Differences

              Digital Signature              Electronic Signature
Mainly used to secure & verify a documentPrimarily used to validate a document
Offers a high level of document security Offers a comparatively lower level of security to the document
Regulated by trusted certification authoritiesRegulated by IT Aact (2000)
Employs cryptographic algorithms to secure the documentNo encryption software is used
The intent is to enhance the security of the documentThe intention is to show the document has been authenticated
Considered to be like the signer’s ‘fingerprint’Considered equivalent to wet ink signatures
It identifies the signer’s identity through encryption and decryption softwareIt can be a visual mark/process affixed to a document to give it consent & recognize the signer’s identity

Which Signature Should You Choose For Your Business? 

Electronic Signature: The electronic signing authentication method is mainly used when parties want to enter into an agreement. They show their commitment to the contract by electronically signing the contract. The document becomes legally binding between the parties involved through the execution of eSignatures.

This method of signing is fast and easy to implement. Businesses can use it to execute business documents across domains, ranging from the employee or customer onboarding procedure to enforcing vendor contracts.

Digital Signature: Coming to the concept of digital signatures, in addition to authenticating a document, these signatures confirm the identity of the signer, and the document’s source, and also ensure no changes are made to the document after it has been digitally signed.

The extra layer of security added by the public-key cryptography makes this type of signature highly beneficial for preserving the confidentiality of business contracts.

Based on the type of requirement a business is handling, it can opt for the suitable signature type. Through these technology-driven authentication mechanisms, corporates can substantiate a document in order to execute the required business process.


eSignatures provide a fast, simple, and reliable means for firms to authenticate their business workflows. Businesses can implement electronic signing facilities throughout their various contracting procedures to carry out documentation validation within minutes.

Through SignDesk’s eSign workflow solution businesses can execute the desired type of eSignature online and make their contract authentication procedures quick and convenient.

                                     Check out the different pricing options available here.

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