We live in a modern world ruled by the internet and complex mind-boggling technology. Over the last few years, most aspects of our lives have gradually transitioned online – meaning most of our vital information and confidential data is now stored in a man-made machine.
Although mostly safe, Jim DePalma emphasizes that it’s not impenetrable. In 2017, it was estimated that around 4 billion people were affected by data breaches – with the total cost of cybercrime reaching a staggering $600 billion. This number is only set to increase in the years to come.
This is where digital signatures come in.
Digital Signatures – Explained By Jim DePalma
A digital signature is an electronically generated and unique identifier that verifies the authenticity of digital documents or files – such as contracts, tax returns, legal documents, etc. In other words, it’s like a physical signature, but for the online world.
Digital signatures use a complex algorithm to generate a code that is unique to both the document and the signer. This code can then be verified by anyone with the required software – making it impossible to forge or tamper with.
Not only do digital signatures provide a much-needed layer of security, but they also offer a number of other benefits, such as:
Why Get a Digital Signature?
Increased Efficiency: Traditional signatures can often be slow and cumbersome, especially if multiple parties are involved. With digital signatures, the entire process can be completed in a matter of seconds – without the need for physical documents or faxes.
Improved Accuracy: One of the advantages of digital signatures is that they can’t be forged or altered in any way. This means that you can be confident that the document you’re signing is exactly as it should be.
Reduced Costs: Digital signatures can save businesses a lot of money in printing, postage, and storage costs.
How Do Digital Signatures Work?
Jim DePalma explains that digital signatures use a complex algorithm to generate a unique code that is specific to both the document and the signer. This code is then ‘locked’ into the document using a private key – which is only known to the signer.
When someone else tries to open the document, they will need to use the signer’s public key – which is freely available. If the keys match, then the document is verified as authentic. If not, then it’s either been tampered with or was never signed in the first place.
What are the Different Types of Digital Signatures?
According to Jim DePalma, there are 3 main types of digital signatures.
Standard Digital Signatures: These are the most basic type of digital signature and are typically used for lower-risk documents, such as non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and marketing contracts. They offer a good level of security but are not as secure as other types of signatures.
Advanced Digital Signatures: These are more secure than standard signatures and are typically used for higher-risk documents, such as financial contracts and legal documents. They use a stronger algorithm and offer increased levels of security.
Qualified Digital Signatures: These are the most secure type of digital signature and are typically used for mission-critical documents, such as government contracts. They offer the highest levels of security and are regulated by law in some countries.
Jim DePalma believes that with the increasing rate of cybercrime, digital signatures have become a vital tool for businesses and individuals who need to sign and send documents electronically. They offer a much-needed layer of security, as well as a number of other benefits, such as increased efficiency and improved accuracy.