Understanding Digital Signatures
We are living in a world where carrying out daily business and personal activities are becoming very easy and smooth. In an era where digital signatures are being greatly embraced in the entire world, we no longer have any limitations in our business or personal lives.
Typically, physical documents like invoices will always need a handwritten signature to validate their authenticity. Just in the same way, electronic documents will also need authentication. This is the role of digital signatures. They serve to authenticate the electronic document.
The digital signature is an electronic signature that is used by senders of certain documents to show that the document originates from them. They are amazing in also ensuring the security of the document. If the document gets interfered with during the sending process, then the receiver will be able to know there has been an alteration because of the digital signature.
Digital signature certificates contain the person’s name, their pin-code, their country name, the email address, the date when the certificate was issued, and the certifying authority’s name. This certificate gives further validation of the digital signature.
Different countries have different provisions for digital signatures. The governments came up with regulations for their creating as well as their use, and this has helped with the adoption, dependability, and trustworthiness of digital signatures. For a digital signature to be effective and dependable, then it must be created within the confinements of the cryptography that is bound by industry-standards. Otherwise, it may be questionable.
These countries have made laws that govern the acceptability of these digital signatures, and they have become a very reliable way of doing businesses and communicating. They offer a lot of advantages and benefits to every user. As time goes by, paperwork is going to be eliminated because of digital signatures.
Where Can You Use The Digital Signatures
The beauty of digital signatures is that they can be used by anyone for any reason they have. It has no restrictions. This means that the digital signature can be used in so many sectors of life. Here are a few places you can use the digital signature.
For personal use: You can always sign every document that you send out electronically for security purpose. It does not matter where you are sending the document and to whom. You can use it the best way you please.
In business: You can always send electronically signed documents to your business partners, investors, and other shareholders when communicating important official information. There are other examples where digital signatures are applicable, and they include signing business deals and signing proposals.
This also includes those doing business in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction companies (AEC). These signs can also be used in business to sign tenders, procurements, and even in making biddings. They make running of businesses very easy and smooth.
Return filling for GST: With the introduction of GST in India, businesses have seen better days. Even so, the filling of returns is what many people have had issues with. But because of the issuance of digital signatures and the availability of e-filling, the process has been made easier, faster, efficient, and convenient.
Filling of income tax: Many citizens of India always have to file their income tax returns all over India. The introduction of e-filling made things a little easier, and with the introduction of digital signatures, things have become better than ever. You can sign all the documents required while in the comfort of your home.
For ROC e-filling: Companies are required to file numerous documents with the Registrar of Companies in India. Therefore, digital signatures will come in handy when signing these documents.
Finance and insurance sector: This is yet another sector that needs a lot of paperwork. Whether it is the application of loans, mortgages, claiming of insurance or applying for one, signatures will always be required. To streamline these activities and make business smooth and easy, these institutions are using digital signatures.
Digital can be used in every aspect of life. There are no restrictions as to where and when you can use the digital signatures unless stated otherwise in a certain country.
How To Get A Digital Signature
Digital signatures are becoming very popular in the whole world. Countries that approve the use of digital signatures have a structure that governs the acquisition and use of the digital signature. Even so, regardless of the country that you come from, the way of acquisition is standard. Digital signatures are created and issued by qualified individuals. For anyone to get a valid digital certificate, they must get it from a certifying authority (CA).
The Certifying Authority (CA) is a kind of Trust Service Provider, and it is a third-party organization that is trusted and accepted in a country. It has the power of issuing the citizens with digital signatures. These CAs have rules and regulations that they have to keep and be governed by.
When you are in India, you can use the following CAs to get your digital signature certificate.
When in the UK, you can use the following CAs
While in the USA, you can use the following CAs
These are some of the trusted sites that you can use to get your digital signature certificate in India, the UK, and the USA. They comply with every rule that governs electronic signatures, and you will get the best experience with them.
Documents Required For Obtaining A Digital Signature
Getting digital signature has its requirements and the requirements will vary depending on the country where one is. Even so, some documents cut across and one can expect that they may be required to produce these documents.
The reason why these documents are required is to verify your identity. They also offer information about who you are. The information provided by the documents are also used on your digital signature certificate. Therefore, you must always provide the right information. Remember, the digital signature is going to attach to your documents, your identity because it shows you are the one sending the document. Therefore, you must always provide accurate information.
Some of the documents include:
- An application form that has been filled with accurate information and has been duly signed. When you are applying for any certificate, an application form rarely misses in the requirements.
- A photo because this is going to identify you physically. Therefore, always have a passport size photo with you when you go to apply for this certificate.
- Your identification will also be required which can be the driver’s license, your passport, an identification card, or any other. In India, you will also need your PAN card and a few other documents.
- Other than documents, you will also have to provide information such as your working mobile number, your email address, and sometimes your physical address.
- All this information will vary depending on where you are in the world. Remember, the requirements vary. Also, those foreign citizens who are applying for digital signatures in a certain country will have different requirements. The rules that govern such special cases are determined by the always of that particular country.
Common Questions About Digital Signatures
1) How do I add the digital signature to my word document?
It is an easy and simple process. Open the word document that requires a signature, or you can create a new document. At the top of the window, click on the ‘insert’ tab. At the corner of the toolbar, identify an icon that looks like a hand holding a pen, it is called the signature line; click on it. You will get two options, click on the Microsoft office signature line option. A signature setup box will appear requiring certain details. Fill the box accordingly. Click the ‘ok’ button. On the signature line, make a right click then select the sign option. You will see a box next to the letter X, type your name here. If there is an image file that contains your written signature, click the ‘select image’ icon then select the file that has it. When you have done it, click the ‘sign’ button.
2) Does government offer any assistance regarding Digital Certificates?
Yes, most of the governments have a dedicated site to provide information on digital certificates. For example, In India, the ministry has a website dedicated to FAQs on DSC.
3) How will digital signatures help me?
Digital signatures make sending electronic documents easy, fast, and smooth. You can do this from wherever you are and at any time.
4) Am I going to see a person’s handwritten signature on a signed electronic document?
No. What you will see is the name of the signer, their title, the name of the firm, the serial number of their DSC, and the name of the CA.
5) How can one know I am the one who signed the document?
Typically, a digital signature has a private key that is unique to the signer and a public key that receivers use to identify the private key. The public key will read the signature that has been created by the private key, and it determines whether or not it is authentic.
Digital signatures have been around since many years and there is absolutely no harm in giving it a try. Specially, if you are running a business, you should definitely consider getting one as there are multiple applications.
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