What is Digital Transaction Management?

The wide-ranging use of digital technologies such as mobile computing, cloud-based services and e-signatures have fundamentally changed the market dynamics in which companies operate. These advances have forced enterprises to produce results faster and easier.  The latter requires removing all potential obstacles for their clients and personnel to do business.

Digital Transaction Management leverages these technologies enabling companies to manage and control the end-to-end process of creating, handling and singing any kind of agreement digitally. DTM removes the friction inherent in transactions that typically involve people, workflow, paperwork, document handling, data trails and signatures to create faster, easier, more convenient, compliant and secure processes.

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature, or e-signature is a legal concept. It is the electronic equivalent of a paper signature and thus has legal value. It captures a person’s intent to agree with the contents, terms and conditions as specified in the (electronic) document, contract or other record it is attached to.

What is a digital signature?

A digital signature is a cryptography-based technology. An electronic signature created by means of digital signature technology is the electronic equivalent of a notarized paper signature. Digital signatures use the standards and procedures of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to sign electronic data with a cryptographic key. 

A digital signature guarantees the integrity of the document it signs. The contents of the message cannot be modified or tampered with, without breaking the validity of the digital signature. However a digital signature does not always guarantee the authentication of the sender. Only when a qualified certificate links the signature to a person, is the identity of that person legally confirmed. These qualified certificates must be provided by a recognized certificate authority or generated by a secure signature creation device (such as an eID).

The European legislation that regulates e-signatures recognizes these differences concerning digital signatures. When qualified certificates are added, these digital signatures provide non-repudiation and thus their juridical value is guaranteed by law and does not require a court ruling. See also “Are Connective’s electronic signatures legal in Europe?”

Are Connective’s electronic signatures legal in Europe?

Yes. We will discuss the two important legal acts established by the European Union concerning e-signatures.

E.U. Electronic Signatures Directive 1999/93/EC

The Electronic Signatures Directive 1999/93/EC is a European Union Directive on the use of electronic signatures in electronic contracts within the European Union. It specifies that Member States must ensure that advanced electronic signatures – based on a qualified certificate and created by a secure-signature-creation device – satisfy the legal requirements of a signature in the same manner a handwritten signatures does and are thus admissible in legal proceedings. The Directive distinguished three levels of e-signatures. Connective’s eSignatures can provide solutions for any of these types of e-signatures depending on the level of authentication that is required.

Basic Electronic Signature

This e-signature is used for identification. It ensures the signature is performed by the key holder, anyone holding the key is defined as the key holder and can claim the identity of the key owner. A basic electronic signature is admissible as evidence in legal proceedings but the court must rule on its juridical value.

Basic signatures include touch-screen signatures, written with or without a stylus on a tablet or other input device. Enhancing the touch screen signature with biometric information (such as the sequence, speed and specific pressure points of the signature) do not change the level of this e-signature.

Advanced Electronic Signature

An advanced e-signature is created using digital signature technology. It is used for both identification and to ensure the contents of the document it signs, has not been tampered with or altered in any way. In other words, its juridical value pertains to the integrity of the document. The signer’s identity however is still subject to a court’s ruling.

Advanced signatures can be produced using company certificates, two-step authentication (e.g. using an SMS-code or password), bank-card authentication and others.

Qualified Advanced Electronic Signatures

A qualified advanced e-signature is created using digital signature technology and enhanced with a qualified certificate. This final type of e-signature guarantees authentication, integrity, confidentiality and provides non-repudiation. The court cannot make any decision on the juridical value of this qualified signature: it is fixed by the law and is thus irrefutable.

Qualified advanced electronic signatures can be produced using the Belgian beID or any European eID.

 

E.U. eIDAS Regulation (Regulation no. 910/2014)

The regulation on “Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions in the Internal Market” came into force in September of 2015. Different national implementations of the 1999/93/EC Directive by Member States have led to cross-border interoperability problems and thus segmented the EU landscape and created distortions in the internal market. For this reason, the eIDAS regulation will replace the 1999/93 Directive, the latter is scheduled for repeal in July of 2016.

eIDAS addresses a wide variety of issues relating to identification and authentication in both the public and private sector and harmonizes the legal recognition of e-signatures across the EU. In doing so, the eIDAS regulation provides a comprehensive cross-border and cross-sector trust framework which was previously lacking.

Connective’ eSignatures solution is compliant with the eIDAS regulation.

Which operating systems does Connective support for signing?

We support both Microsoft Windows (XP, 7, 8 and 10) and Mac OS X (El Capitan & Yosemite). Additionally our Connective eSignatures solution has a responsive design and works also on the Apple iPad and Android based tablets. Our dedicated apps support both iOS and Android devices

Which browsers does Connective support?

On Windows:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome

On Mac OS

  • Safari
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome

 

For each browser, support is extended to up to two releases back.

Support for Microsoft Edge is currently on our roadmap and will be extended once Microsoft clarifies the direction they will take regarding plugins for Microsoft Edge.

Due to security concerns, Google Chrome no longer supports the NPAPI plugin architecture, the technology required to run Java applets. This change has effectively disabled NPAPI based plugins. Other major browsers may follow suit, so Connective has chosen a proactive approach by developing an extension that does not use the NPAPI architecture and is supported by Chrome.

Do I need any additional software to electronically sign a document?

No. Connective’s eSignatures solutions upholds a zero footprint principle, meaning no installation of additional middleware is required. At first-use of Connective eSignatures a small extension will be added to your browser and that’s it, you’re good to go. No updates, no driver installs and no insecure java run-times.

Do I need any additional hardware to electronically sign a document?

That depends on the type of signature you would like to use. A basic, manual signature can be drawn by simply using your mouse or touchpad. However if you want to provide a qualified advanced e-signature by using your beID or other eID, you will need an eID reader. Connective supports most PCSC smart card readers.

In addition, Connective maintains a constantly increasing list of partnerships, to ensure compatibility with a wide variety of soft- and hardware. These partners include: Vasco, OpenTrust, Microsoft Pinpoint, CertEurope, K-Sign, GlobalSign, QuoVadis, Topaz Systems, SafeNet, Wacom, StepOver and Option.

Digital Transaction Management leverages these technologies enabling companies to manage and control the end-to-end process of creating, handling and singing any kind of agreement digitally. DTM removes the friction inherent in transactions that typically involve people, workflow, paperwork, document handling, data trails and signatures to create faster, easier, more convenient, compliant and secure processes.

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