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The digital signature that certifies your identity, professional status, and organizational affiliation.

The Digital Seal that Keeps your Digital and Paper Documents Secure

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Trusted timestamp service for time-sensitive documents and emails.

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The software that makes digitally signing all your PDF documents easy.

ConsignO Desktop

A digital and trusted electronic signature platform with high-level legal reliability.

ConsignO Cloud

Ensures the reliability of thousands or millions of documents by automating your business processes.

Consigno Server

Easily check signatures, PDF/A compliance, and VDSs (visible digital seals).

Available in mobile, Web or Server version.

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Foundation

Electronic Signatures

We’ve previously described how signatures are divided into three categories:

  • Physical or handwritten signatures;
  • Biophysical signatures (such as DNA, fingerprints, or retinal identification); and 
  • Electronic signatures, which we will cover on this page.

Electronic signatures cover many things: They are signatures supported by electronic media that may include name entries (online forms), email signatures or headers, click-through agreements, combinations of a username and PIN or a username and password, scanned images of handwritten signatures and even audio recordings. It is therefore necessary to differentiate between electronic signatures and digital signatures. (You can read all about digital signatures by following this link.) A digital signature is a type of electronic signature in which the link between the signatory and the signed information has been reinforced through cryptography, thus making it more reliable. To measure the robustness of an electronic signature, the same six attributes are analyzed as for handwritten signatures: permanence, link, stability, identification, non-repudiation and intention. These elements are defined in the article on signatures. Before going any further, here is a list of definitions to help you learn and understand our concepts:

  • Identifier. A unique designation for a natural person or legal entity given by an organization or an authority. For example, first and last names, usernames, member numbers and SIN are all considered to be identifiers.
  • Identity. The social agreement between an identifier and a natural person or legal entity. Each person possesses as many identities as identifiers.
  • Identification. Process of declaring the identifier in order to recognize a natural person or legal entity. This can be done by answering such questions as “What is your name” or by entering a username or member number in an online form.
  • Authentication. Process of verifying the identifier to confirm the link between the identifier and the natural person or legal entity. This may involve, for example, comparing the username and password with the information stored in a database.
  • Authentication factors. Three elements are required to confirm that the correct natural person or legal entity is responsible for a transaction or is the signatory of a document; the first is what is known about the person or entity, such as a name or image; the second is physical documentation, such as a piece of identification; the third is a biometric factor, such as a fingerprint or DNA analysis. In general, the authentication is considered to be strong if two of the three authentication factors are used.

Despite the fact that non-official documents have lower reliability stakes and that an electronic signature is a quick and valid method, an electronic signature is insufficient for official documents in electronic format. For official documents, digital signatures are optimal. We explore this possibility in our next topic. Want to know more? Refer to our article on documents (relating to official documents) and our article on digital signatures.