Electronic vs Digital Signatures, and are they legal?


Adobe Acrobat Sign & Acrobat Pro

Streamline Agreements with Digital Signature Workflows

OfficeLabs, an Adobe Certified Partner specialising on Adobe Sign and Acrobat Pro to empower businesses to revolutionise their approval processes with secure and legally binding electronic signatures.

We fully integrate Adobe Acrobat Sign into Microsoft SharePoint, Teams, Dynamics 365 and other solutions allowing you to manage digital signature workflows directly within your existing environment to create, route and get agreements signed.

But what are the different signature types and are they legal?

Boost Efficiency and Security with Electronic Signatures

An e-signature or electronic signature is a legal way to get consent or approval on electronic documents or forms. It also replaces handwritten signatures for virtually any process.

Effortless Signing: Ditch the paper chase! Sign and get documents signed electronically, saving time and resources.

Enhanced Security: Our solutions ensure tamper-proof documents with legally compliant electronic signatures for complete peace of mind.

Improved Productivity: Integrate signing seamlessly with SharePoint, Teams, and Dynamics 365, keeping your work flowing smoothly.

Streamline Agreements Across Your Business

Accelerate Sales Cycles: Close deals faster with online signing, allowing customers to sign anytime, anywhere.

Simplify HR Onboarding: Get new hires on board quickly with efficient electronic signature workflows for onboarding documents.

Secure Legal Documents: Ensure the validity of contracts and other legal documents with robust digital signatures.

Electronic, or Digital signatures are most commonly used for Sales & Marketing, Hiring/HR and Legal (NDAs, etc.)

Secure Digital Signatures

Adobe use a type of e-signature is a certificate-based digital signature, making it the most advanced, compliant and secure type. Digital signatures are ideal when you need the highest level of assurance of each signer’s identity and document authenticity.

Trusted & Compliant
Unique to You
Easy to Validate

Digital Signature Types: Understanding AdES and QES

Digital signatures provide a secure and convenient way to electronically sign documents, ensuring authenticity and integrity. However, there are different levels of assurance associated with various digital signature types. We will dive deeper into two common types: Advanced Electronic Signatures (AdES) and Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES).

Advanced Electronic Signature (AdES):

An AdES offers a strong level of security for electronically signed documents. It incorporates the following characteristics:


Signer Identification: The signer’s identity is linked to the signature in a verifiable way. This could involve using a digital certificate issued by a trusted third-party Certificate Authority (CA).


Non-Repudiation: The signer cannot deny having signed the document after the fact. This is achieved through cryptographic mechanisms that create a unique link between the signature and the signer.


Document Integrity: Any alterations to the document after signing will be detected, ensuring the document remains tamper-proof.

AdES are commonly used in situations where document security and signer identification are important, but the highest level of legal compliance may not be mandatory. These scenarios might include internal contracts, non-disclosure agreements, or permission slips.

Qualified Electronic Signature (QES):

A QES offers the highest level of assurance among digital signatures. It builds upon the features of an AdES with additional requirements:


Qualified Certificate: The signer uses a digital certificate issued by a qualified Trust Service Provider (TSP). These certificates adhere to stricter regulations and undergo more rigorous validation processes.


Signature Creation Device: The signature is created using a secure signature creation device, such as a hardware token or smart card. This device ensures the privacy and security of the signing process.


Time-stamping: A trusted timestamp is applied to the signature upon creation, proving its validity at a specific point in time.

QES are ideal for situations where the highest level of legal recognition and enforceability is required. These scenarios might include legal contracts, financial transactions, or government-issued documents.

Choosing the Right Digital Signature Type:

The appropriate type of digital signature depends on the specific needs of your situation.

By understanding the differences between AdES and QES, you can choose the most suitable digital signature type for your needs, ensuring the security, integrity, and legal validity of your electronic documents.

Adobe Acrobat Sign supports all these signature types.

Are electronic signatures legal?

Absolutely. Electronic signatures are legal, trusted, compliant and enforceable all around the world. For more information click here, which also includes information on how the UK differs from the EU.

Global Compliance for Your Digital Transformation

At OfficeLabs, we understand the importance of legal compliance. Our solutions ensure your digital signature workflows meet the highest global standards, giving you confidence in every transaction.

Ready to Unlock the Power of Electronic Signatures?

Contact us today to learn more about how OfficeLabs can revolutionise your approval processes with secure and efficient electronic signatures.

Published On: September 5th, 2022 / Categories: Automation, Productivity /