Help Strengthen Your Cybersecurity Efforts with Electronic & Digital Signatures

As business has inexorably moved online, electronic signatures have become an increasingly standard tool. Used appropriately, they can improve business efficiency while also protecting the authenticity and integrity of your documents and emails. And that is especially in the face of ever-evolving cybersecurity risks.

This article explains what electronic signatures are and how advanced digital signature technology can enhance their safety. It then focuses on how this can support secure email communication in particular.  

Signing Documents in a Digital Age

Whether for business proposals, contracts, project proposals, mortgage applications, or expense claims, approving documents and ensuring their authenticity and validity is a crucial business activity. 

For centuries, ink signatures and other presentational devices supported that, and the wax seal on royal proclamations of old is a very visible example of such authentication. But the digital transformation of society has been overturning all that. Documentation and important messages are now, overwhelmingly, being shared and agreed upon online. This may be PDFs, emails, or other document formats. 

digital electronic signaturesThis rapid rise of digital working has endowed great benefits. It supports flexible, remote working patterns, facilitates greater efficiency with faster turnarounds possible, and involves a lower carbon footprint given there is less printing and posting of often weighty hard copies. 

But this change also raises security challenges. How can businesses be sure that only authentic email messages or digital documents that really are from who they say they are from get sent to recipients? How can they be sure that these retain their integrity and do not get tampered with? And how can they ensure that, when important documents are approved online, these are legally secure?

Questions such as these have always raised challenges. For example, all through history there are stories of documents being faked, tampered with, or repudiated by one of the parties involved. But there is little doubt that the complicated cybersecurity landscape of our online world is posing new threats and challenges. 

A Palette of Solutions

Fortunately, technology offers a palette of solutions, some of which offer levels of security which far surpass traditional pen and ink signatures. Electronic signatures play a core role in this. When used appropriately, and especially when enhanced with advanced digital signature technology, they allow businesses to reap the many benefits of online working while greatly mitigating the security risks.

Businesses need to understand the range of solutions on offer. For example, what are the different types of electronic signatures? And how does utilizing digital signature technology add an extra layer of security? Knowing this leaves organizations better placed to determine which approach to electronic signatures is best for them. 

The Legal Landscape

Organizations also need to be aware of the legal landscape relating to electronic and digital signatures. Not all signatures are equal! Legislation varies between jurisdictions so businesses may reach different decisions about electronic signatures depending on where they are operating. 

legal landscapeFor example, in the US, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) is the primary legislation. This pretty much gives electronic signatures the same legal status as handwritten signatures. In the EU, meanwhile, the Electronic Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS) Regulation operates. The eIDAS is more stringent: a higher security threshold needs to be met to ensure the legal validity of electronic signatures - generally more robust digital signature technology must be used. And other parts of the world have their own, slightly different legislation. 

On top of this territorial variation, regulations also apply differently depending on the nature of the document. For example, wills and testaments will often have different stipulations to business contracts. Thus, it is vital that organizations understand the legal requirements of whatever documents they are working with, wherever they are operating.         

What Is an Electronic Signature?

The term ‘electronic signature’ is fairly generic and covers a very wide range of possible approaches. 

At its most basic level, an electronic signature (or eSignature) replicates in digital form what a handwritten signature does with ink on paper. So, it could be simply typing your name on a document. Or it may be inserting an image of your pen and ink signature (e.g., insert signature in Word document). It may even simply be ticking an “I consent” box to indicate your approval of something. 

For many situations that will be considered enough. For example, where the two parties are well known to each other, within the same organization,communicating through the same network, and trust each other. Think, for example, of a line manager signing off their team member’s holiday request form. 

However, further types of electronic signature offer additional, sophisticated layers of security by utilizing digital signature technology, making them more appropriate for more sensitive documents, external documents, and where trust and security is more critical. 

Types of Electronic Signature 

There are three main types of electronic signature to be aware of: simple, advanced, and qualified. Each involves different technologies, protocols, and security measures. They thus differ in their level of protection, investment required, and legal ramifications. 

Let us consider each type in turn, starting from the very simplest.

Simple electronic signatures (SES) 

The EU defines simple electronic signatures (SES) as "data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign". 

As such, they can take a very wide variety of forms. Some examples have already been given above: typing your name on a document, scanning your signature and inserting this, or simply clicking an “I accept” button. In addition to this, it might even be an audio file attached to the file responding to it. They can vary.  

A SES entails an acknowledgement and/or acceptance of the document concerned. And, when formatted carefully, they can be made to look smart and professional - adding informal weight to business communication. But a SES does not have to provide anything more than this basic acknowledgement. 

e signature typesDoes that matter? Well, it might. Consider the following. 

  • Firstly, a SES does not include any sort of user ID authentication and verification. It is impossible to be certain who really signed the document: the eSignature itself does not prove the identity of the signer. 
  • Secondly, a SES alone does nothing to protect the integrity of the message or document involved. It may get altered at some point during the signing process (whether accidentally or deliberately) and this may not be spotted. And even if it does get noticed, it is not always easy to unpick when and how it happened.

Where trust can be assumed and where the risk of tampering is very low, the use of an SES alone will often be deemed sufficient. Their use is quick (almost instant) and involves minimal cost, effort, or additional infrastructure. Moreover, in some territories (and for some purposes) such a simple signature will also be considered legally binding. 

However, more than this will often be required. For example, the authentication and integrity limitations described above might leave the organization vulnerable. Trust between the parties may not be as implicit. Or the stakes involved may be higher. Or there may simply be more stringent legal requirements that have to be complied with. 

In those instances, extra security measures may be needed. And that may mean utilizing digital signature technology - that is, an AES or QES.    

Advanced electronic signatures (AES)  

Next up from an SES, we have advanced electronic signatures (AES). These may well accompany the basic expression of signing, e.g., an image of a signature, as per the SES above. But an AES goes much further than that eSignature alone. 

With an AES, a more sophisticated range of digital signature technology, particularly cryptographic technology, is employed to enhance the security around the signing process. We will look at how this works shortly. But, for now, it is important to be clear on the benefits. 

First, this digital signature technology offers an authentication process. That means there are steps to verify the identity of the signer, validating that the person who signs the email or document is really who they claim to be. This can help to protect against fake or malicious communications.  

Second, there are steps to ensure the integrity of the document or communication itself. In other words, this ensures that the document or message does not get tampered with once it has been signed. With this in place, even a tiny change - such as a comma being removed - will not go unnoticed.   

Finally, these greater security features offer the benefit of non-repudiation. With a clear audit trail in place, the signer cannot deny having signed the document or message in that form.

The above means that an AES offers far more security than an SES. However, in some situations, even more than this may be required. And that is where a Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) comes in.  

Qualified electronic signatures (QES)

As with an AES, a Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) utilizes digital signature technology to confer sender verification and to protect the integrity of the message or document once signed. And this, in turn, helps to ensure non-repudiation. The benefits of an AES and a QES are thus similar. 

However, a QES provides an even greater degree of confidence in those protections. Indeed, a QES is the equivalent of having the document or message signing process witnessed by an official. This means that a QES often has more automatic legal weight. In the EU for example (under the eIDAS regulations), a QES is the only electronic signature type currently automatically deemed to have legal equivalence to a handwritten signature.  

Quite simply, a QES provides the highest level of security for electronic signatures. Again, we will look at how this works shortly. 

What Is a Digital Signature?

There is some confusion about the terms ‘electronic signature’ and ‘digital signature’. Indeed, they are sometimes used interchangeably - and often in different ways in different places. 

digital signaturePartly this reflects differing legal situations between territories. The inconsistencies also reflect the way the different options and technologies are used for different purposes. And then there is just plain misunderstanding! This scope for confusion is unhelpful when attempting to appreciate the differing technologies and protections associated with each electronic signature type. 

In this article, all three of the types considered above - SES, AES, and QUES - are considered as electronic signatures. ‘Electronic signature’ is a broad category. However, they are not all digital signatures - as that classification is more a more narrowly defined subset. In fact, only the latter two - advanced and qualified electronic signatures - are classified as digital signatures. This is because they utilize specific digital signature technology. And it is the use of that technology that endows the additional security benefits.  

A digital signature is, therefore, generally more sophisticated than a simple electronic signature. The cryptographic technology that underpins a digital signature provides layers of security that most more basic electronic signatures cannot. 

This makes them far better suited where the stakes are higher. This includes situations where the identity of the signer should be verified, where the integrity of the document requires protection, or where it is important to ensure that the signer cannot - in the future - repudiate their signature.    

What Is the Difference between a Digital Signature and an Electronic Signature?

There are, then, some notable differences between simple electronic signatures and electronic signatures that are underpinned by digital signature technology (e.g., AES and QES). These are summarized below.


An SES is a straightforward expression of authorship, acknowledgement, or agreement in relation to a document. A digital signature may also include that but, additionally, it will verify the signer and protect the integrity of the document concerned. A simple electronic signature requires trust to be given between the sender and receiver. A digital signature, on the other hand, does not. 

Common use cases

The three electronic signature types above - SES, AES, and QES - offer a security hierarchy of approaches depending on the context. Where the risks are small - for much low-stake communication between friends, colleagues, or clients, for example - a simple electronic signature may well be deemed sufficient. 

However, as the stakes increase, a more secure, digital signature becomes more appropriate. Thus, formal agreements such as employment contracts, rental agreements, and sales contracts will often need to utilize an AES. And, for large value financial transactions or other crucial legal documents (e.g. NDA templates), a QES is de rigueur. 

Ease of creation and investment required

The application of a simple electronic signature (SES) to a document can be quick, easy, and cheap. As we have seen, it can be as simple as typing a name, inserting an image, or ticking a box. It requires no particular additional equipment, infrastructure, or investment.

Digital signatures on the other hand are a more complex affair. The sophisticated cryptographic technology that underpins them relies on a range of infrastructures, techniques, and protocols. This all comes at a cost. For instance, businesses wishing to issue digital signatures need to purchase digital certificates (explained below) and these can be expensive to secure and retain (especially as they need to be renewed fairly frequently). 

digital esig creationMoreover, given the greater complexity involved, organizations that use AES or QES usually invest in third-party document handling signature tools to manage the process. There are a lot of these to choose from, each offering slightly different processes, features, and prices (see this DocuSign API pricing blog, for example). It can therefore be time-consuming choosing one for a business - and will need to be reviewed often. Likewise, if a business wishes to digitally sign its emails, it needs to ensure that its email platform effectively supports this.  

However, with good tools and processes in place, much of the cryptographic complexity involved in digital signatures can be concealed from users themselves. For example, users do not have to be fully aware of how ‘public’ and ‘private’ keys, digital certificates, and hash functions are keeping everything in order behind the scenes. 

Third-party document handling tools can smooth the process for all electronic signatures. With them, much of the workflow involved in digital signing can be automated, helping to reduce scope for human error. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that the greater protection that digital signatures bring does also require investment of effort and money to ensure those systems are established and properly maintained.            

Level of protection and security

A digital signature authenticates the identity of the sender or signer, the integrity of the message or document, and rules out repudiation of the message or document further down the line. 

An advanced electronic signature (and even more so a QES) offers comprehensive protection. There can be high confidence that the document has been signed by the right person and then tightly sealed from further changes. For example, if the document is altered in any way after signing, this will be flagged.

A simple electronic signature, on the other hand, is often just a name or other insertion added to a document. There is less certainty about exactly who made that addition and whether the document was altered in any way once it had been signed.       

Legal status

The legal status of the various electronic and digital signature types varies depending on the territory and the use case. Some document types (such as wills) tend to have more stringent legal requirements concerning signatures. 

However, as a rule - and especially in the EU - the more advanced digital signatures carry far more weight than simpler electronic signatures. Indeed, in many instances, a digital signature is required to comply with legal requirements.  

Importance of Electronic Signatures in Cybersecurity

digital esig cybersecurityTo be fair, even technically simple electronic signatures can offer security advantages over traditional pen and ink (or ‘wet’) signatures. For example, while just typing a name on a document or clicking a box may not seem very secure, and possibly open to misuse, there are approaches to an SES that are more robust. 

The EU’s eIDAS regulations are deliberately quite open about the exact nature of an SES and the technology used - leaving room for technical innovation. And, certainly, the SES category is very broad, with much diversity. This opens the door to more secure approaches to the SES being used. Consider the following for example. 

  • While still vulnerable, an SES signing process can nevertheless use personal details (e.g., phone number or email address) as a form of authentication. 
  • The use of PIN codes or passwords as part of the signing process makes the SES far more secure. For example, it might include sending a unique, time-limited passcode to the signer’s mobile phone.
  • Biometric identification is becoming more common and could become part of a signing process.
  • While cryptographic keys are usually associated with digital signature technology, these can be used in different ways to enhance security. 
  • Robust general cybersecurity measures can make for safer electronic signing processes.     

In other words, just because an electronic signature is not a fully digital signature (underpinned with digital signature technology) that does not necessarily mean it is totally unsecured. They are not all equally vulnerable. 

Ultimately, there are many different ways of doing electronic signatures - many of which are more secure than others. Indeed, technological innovation will likely lead to further innovations here in the coming years.    

Importance of Digital Signatures in Cybersecurity

While there are other ways of enhancing cybersecurity when it comes to signatures, digital signatures currently provide the most robust, consistent, and established framework for it. 

This benefits so many areas of business, from approving crucial documents to signing off business emails. For example, when an email is digitally signed, the receiver can be confident that it is a genuine communication from the sender. It is worth outlining the process that enables a digital signature to provide this reassurance. 

What follows describes a typical process for an advanced electronic signature (AES). In reality though each signature handling platform does work slightly differently. And a qualified electronic signature (QES) is broadly similar but with a few additional features - these will be considered last of all.  

Digital certificates

Before you can digitally sign something, you need a digital certificate.

Digital signatures are facilitated by something called the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) which is a set of protocols, procedures, software, and hardware. That infrastructure also governs how a network of organizations called Certificate Authorities (CA) - which are a type of Trusted Service Provider (TSP) - are able to issue the digital certificates that enable digital signatures. 

With a digital certificate, a business (or individual) can add a digital signature to the documents and messages they need to send. Acquiring that digital certificate acts as validation that the business (or individual) is who they say they are. How? Because it is the responsibility of the trusted, third-party Certificate Authority (CA) to do that before issuing the certificate. 

In other words, having the digital certificate authenticates the sender (so recipients can trust the data’s provenance). It also makes two important cryptographic tools available for the signature: a ‘private key’ and a ‘public key’. The former allows the sender to add their digital signature to subsequent communication; the latter allows recipients to verify that signature.

Generating a Digital Signature

With a digital certificate in place and appropriate procedural tools (e.g., a robust email platform or document signing program), the business is able to add its digital signature in the following way.

  1. Once the message or document is ready to send, the document signing program or email platform is used to generate a unique hash code. This represents the message in a fixed-length, coded form - consisting of a mixture of numbers and letters. If even one aspect of the original message is changed (e.g., a comma deleted) then a completely different hashcode is generated.
  2. This hash code is then encrypted using the sender’s ‘private key’ (which is provided by the digital certificate). The private key applies a mathematical algorithm - unique to the sender - to the hash code. (The encrypted hash code can only be decrypted with the sender’s public key.)  
  3. The resulting encrypted hash code becomes the central element of the sender’s digital signature. The digital signature also includes a few other elements, such as the hashing algorithm and the date stamp for when the sender ‘signed’ the document.    
  4. The message or document, along with its digital signature, can then be sent to the recipient. (Although the Certificate Authority may sometimes require additional information before that can happen.)    

Note that the private key encrypts the hash code - the digested version of the message - rather than the message itself. This increases the speed and efficiency of the process. The hash code is far shorter: any length document gets condensed into a fixed-length digest. This code is usually much quicker to encrypt and decrypt than the entire document itself.  

Authenticating the digital signature

What happens at the other end? Once the message and its digital signature is sent, a similar process is followed but in reverse order.

  1. The receiver’s computer applies the hashing algorithm (sent as part of the digital signature) to the document or message to generate a hash code for it. Because the receiver is using the same hashing algorithm as the sender, the resulting codes should match - but only so long as the document or message is unchanged.   
  2. Simultaneously, the receiver’s computer is able to obtain the sender’s ‘public key’ from the relevant Certificate Authority. It applies this public key to the encrypted hash code from the sender (i.e., the digital signature) - that is, it decrypts the hash code sent with the message. 
  3. By comparing the two versions of the hash code, the receiver’s computer is then able to confirm (or not) the authenticity and integrity of the message or document. If the hash code generated in step 1 matches the decrypted received hash code in step 2, it proves that the message was not altered in any way after signing.
  4. In that case, when required, the receiver can themselves sign and return the document. (However, they may have to complete further security steps before they can add their electronic signature.) 
  5. On the other hand, if the two hash codes do not match, that indicates that something has gone wrong. 

From this process alone, it is not possible to ascertain what exactly has gone wrong. There are two possibilities. The data may have been altered (or tampered with) in some way - resulting in differing hash codes. Or the public and private keys are not aligned - suggesting an issue with sender authentication. In either case, the digital signature would be flagged as invalid.

Simple for the user

There is, of course, a lot of complexity involved in this process. 

A business first needs to acquire a digital certificate by applying to a Certificate Authority. These can be expensive but, once approved, can then be downloaded. 

But from there most document management and email applications can deal with the technical details, drawing on the certificate to automate most of the work involved. For example, applying a digital signature to an email needn’t involve more work for the user than clicking a “Digitally Sign” button. The rest is automated.

In many cases, the sender’s digital signature is all that is required - a digitally signed response is not always required. However, where a response is needed, or something needs to be signed, many of these services will also automate this process for the receiver. However, there can be complications here if the recipient does not have a digital certificate or does not use the same services.

How are qualified electronic signatures different?

Qualified electronic signatures (QES) are pretty much the same as advanced electronic signatures. They just include a few additional characteristics that can enhance the recipient’s confidence that the data received has both authenticity and integrity. 

qesFirstly, they require the sender to acquire a qualified digital certificate. These can only be issued by a qualified trust service provider. This ‘qualified’ status is awarded to organizations at a governmental level, i.e. their authority comes from the state. 

These qualified bodies are then responsible for ensuring the authenticity of the certificates they issue, e.g. to check the applicant is who they say they are. They have to abide by even more stringent requirements to ensure that. For example, they have to have face-to-face contact with the applicant (either in person or online video). Therefore, a digital signature based on a qualified digital certificate has a stricter validation process at its foundations.

Secondly, a QES also involves the use of a Qualified Electronic Signature Creation Device (QSCD). This might be software or hardware - for example, a cloud-based security module or USB token - and, again, has to be certified. This aspect helps to ensure additional security in various ways. For example, the QSCD ensures that the cryptographic keys are created correctly, stored securely, and used only by the right people.    

The above makes a QES more complex and expensive. Thus, they tend to be used for sharing the most high-stake messages and documents.        

Potential Security Drawbacks of Digital Signatures

Electronic signatures - especially those underpinned by digital signature technology - can be a very secure way of sharing documents and messages. However, there are still risks. 

Can be easy to forge simple electronic signatures

Firstly, the more basic the electronic signature, the more vulnerable it is from a cybersecurity perspective. The simple electronic signatures (SES), as we have seen, are open to misuse - for example, basic eSignatures are easy to forge. The use of additional security measures such as PINs and passwords can improve things but there is still scope for fraud and misuse.

Digital signatures are not immune to danger

It is not just simple electronic signatures at risk. More advanced signatures, underpinned by digital signature technology, are not without dangers. Not least, there is a danger of the cryptographic private key being stolen. Hackers will target them where possible. 

A stolen private key can cause many problems. For example, cybercriminals can use a private key to sign fake messages and documents. They can then launch phishing attacks by disguising themselves as a legitimate source. The vulnerability of cryptographic keys is one reason why a QES (which used a QSCD to protect the cryptographic keys) offers a higher level of protection.

And other risks have been identified in the digital signature process - vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. For example, it is worth remembering that a digital signature does not encrypt (or hide) the message itself. That can present a vulnerability. It is crucial that a business’s cybersecurity stance considers all these risks and addresses any gaps.  

Phishing scams

The perception of security offered by digital signatures can make them a tempting target for cybercriminals. For example, scammers have tried out phishing campaigns where they mimic legitimate businesses sending out documents to be signed. 

Targets are sent eSignature envelopes (as an email) inviting them to review and sign a document. If the target clicks on the link they are taken to a fake site requesting them to enter personal credentials (which can then be exploited by criminals). Or they might be taken to a malicious document which downloads malware onto their computer. Cybercriminals are inventive. There are all manner of ways in which they will try to bypass a business’s security measures to exploit weaknesses. 

Businesses need to consider how their customers and employees may be targeted in this way via phishing emails. For example, businesses should ensure that their emails are consistently and clearly branded and presented - making it easier for malicious emails to be spotted. And employees should be trained and kept updated about the dangers they face and the email security best practices they should engage in.

Not a silver bullet

The use of digital signatures should be just one part of a coherent and robust overall cybersecurity posture. Using digital signatures does not lessen the need for all the other many aspects of cybersecurity. 

A business is only as secure as its weakest link. Therefore, a multifaceted defense is considered best. Just to give one example, we will later look at how using end-to-end encryption like TLS alongside digital signatures can add another layer of defense to emails (by encrypting the message itself). A coherent strategy, combining a range of approaches, is likely to leave fewer vulnerabilities in your online operations.      

Evolving dangers

And, finally, the cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for new vulnerabilities, and developing new techniques to exploit them. Who knows what dangers may emerge tomorrow? In this shifting context, the use of any digital tools, including electronic signatures, needs to be regularly risk assessed. 

Application of Electronic and Digital Signatures to Email Security

Email plays a crucial role in many business operations - from marketing to customers to liaising with suppliers. In a world of increasing cybersecurity risks, being able to validate email messages by digitally signing them is a great advantage. Let us look at some issues specific to emails. 

Email sender authentication

Digitally signing an email allows senders to demonstrate their identity and authenticity to the recipient. When used alongside an awareness of protocols such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, recipients can be assured that a business’s emails are genuine. And, by helping to make genuine communication more obvious, it can go some way to reducing the dangers of fraudulent and spoof emails.

Document and certificate authentication

In a similar way, digital signatures can help to demonstrate the integrity of an email and its content. If it is tampered with after being signed by the sender, this will be flagged. With so much negotiation and crucial business dialogue happening over email, protecting the integrity of communication in this way is important.

Tamper evident seal

The idea of a tamper evident seal can also help to reassure recipients. Once an email is digitally signed on the email application, it is effectively ‘sealed’. Thus, digitally signing email not only provides business communication with genuine security, it also allows a business to project a powerful perception of security to its partners. The supplier, client, or customer can then feel confident in the integrity of the messages it receives. 

End-to-end encryption

e2eeIn recent years, end-to-end encryption (E2EE) has become a further popular means of protecting email communication. This provides a means for the data itself to be encrypted during exchange. Only the intended recipient is able to decrypt the data. If anyone else tries to intercept the data, they will only see the encryption - which will be meaningless to them. 

There are other forms of encryption protection but often these only kick in when a message passes through the server, not as soon as it leaves your device. With alternatives, there is thus a gap between device and server for hackers to exploit. End-to-end encryption is applied as soon as the data leaves a device: the data is encrypted for its entire journey.

The E2EE technique thus protects the privacy of data. It also provides a broader protection - right down to the device level. This can help to deter would-be hackers. End-to-end encryption makes it impossible for hackers to meaningfully tamper with emails. They would be presented with an impenetrable jumble: there is no way to usefully tweak or manipulate such encryption.

As noted already, there is no single silver-bullet for cybersecurity. Instead, a combination of measures can help to reduce the risks each individual organization faces. For example, combining digital signatures and E2EE for email communication is better than doing only one or the other. Each does different things.

  • The digital signature authenticates the sender and flags any inconsistencies between the sent data and the received data. But it does not encrypt or hide the data itself.
  • E2EE makes the contents of a message indecipherable to all but the sender and recipient. It confers privacy and blocks tampering, but it does not inherently authenticate the sender.   

In brief, along with digital signatures, E2EE can endow a business’s email communication with the following:

  • Authentication - the sender is who they say they are.
  • Integrity - the message has not been altered since it was sent.
  • Non-repudiation - the sender cannot deny having sent it.
  • Privacy - nobody but the sender and receiver can see it.

Frequently Asked Questions about Digital Signatures and Email Encryption

There is so much more involved to fully understand how digital signatures and email encryption can support cybersecurity. Here are just a few frequently asked questions.

Are Outlook digital signatures sufficient for secure emails?

An Outlook digital signature offers a reasonable level of security when emailing data. However, if the privacy of data is also a concern, Outlook digital signatures can be combined with email encryption. 

What is S/MIME?

S/MIME Encryption (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) is an email security protocol that combines the benefits of a digital signature with email encryption. The message encryption element means third parties cannot spy on your communications. And the digital signature element demonstrates the authenticity and integrity of your emails (while establishing non-repudiation). 

What are the benefits of using a digital signature certificate?

A digital signature certificate authenticates a business or individual. A validated certificate is required to allow them to add their digital signature to documents and messages. A certificate is also required to allow them to encrypt data.

Can I use the same certificate on my laptop and mobile device?

Yes, certificates can be ported to your mobile devices.

Stay Alert in a Fast-Moving World   

There is little doubt that digital signatures are a great way to handle documents and emails securely. Moreover, they help a business demonstrate integrity and authenticity to its stake-holders - whether they be clients, customers, or suppliers. And when combined with encryption techniques, the privacy of those communications can also be protected.

However, technology is moving ever so fast. And that means new opportunities - and dangers - are always emerging. It is crucial to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in cybersecurity, making sure that your security posture is evolving to meet the challenges of each new day. There is no room for complacency.

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