Today’s technology has allowed most businesses to continue their operations even in the midst of the COVID-19 situation. It’s even predicted to have an upswing, with as much as 30% of the workforce expected to work from home several days a week by the end of 2021.
However, potential issues with remote work can affect the efficiency of your business processes and the security of your files. The latter should be a major concern for both employers and employees because remote workers are being targeted by cybercriminals, and they remain vulnerable.
If you’ve already adopted remote working or are planning to for your business, you should be extra meticulous with cybersecurity. One great way to protect your business is through digital signatures.
What Is a Digital Signature?
When asked to sign a document online, the software may ask you for an electronic signature or what they call a digital signature. However, that’s is not the type of signature that we are talking about here.
A digital signature uses a mathematical algorithm that can be used to verify the authenticity and integrity of any file to which it’s attached.
In essence, they’re virtual fingerprints that allow recipients and other entities to trace the owner of the documents and transactions. This can be applied to emails, credit card transactions, or digital files.
Digital signatures utilize public-key cryptography, which is also called asymmetric encryption. This involves a key pair system that encrypts the data (public key) and decrypts it (private key).
So when you create a file on your computer using a digital signature, you get a hash for it. The hash function is a set of letters and numbers that are automatically generated for your data. The letters and numbers are unique, so the hash cannot be reversed and no other file can get the same value. Along with the hash, the file is encrypted with your private key.
The hash is important because it proves that your document hasn’t been modified from the time you signed or created it. Any alterations made to the file or message would change the hash as well.
Now, when you send the file, the recipient can generate the hash and decrypt it using the public key. The recipient of the message or document can verify the authenticity of the content by checking if the hash they got matches your decrypted hash. If they do, that means no other party altered the digital file.
Conversely, if the recipient can’t open the file using your public key, then that indicates the document might have been tampered with or altered along the way. This shows the authentication process of digital signatures.
It may sound like a lot of work, but with the right tools, the process becomes seamless. We at RealSec can guide you through each step to boost the security of your business files.
Why Are Digital Signatures Important?
Digital signatures make your documents more secure, which is crucial nowadays, with cyber criminals just waiting to pounce on your organization’s technical vulnerabilities. These are the ways that digital signatures help secure your business:
- Authenticate your identity
Just like traditional signatures, your digital signature securely informs recipients that you were the one who sent the files. Whether the files are part of your latest project or HR documentation confirming an employee’s time-off request, using a digital signature makes it easy for the recipient to know the files are legitimate.
- Protect your files
No matter the size of your company, there’s no doubt that you have confidential documents that should be secured. From product development research to employee and customer information, you should place your fingerprints, so to speak, all over these files to prove that they belong to you.
- Boost efficiency
Automating processes can also boost your workplace efficiency. With digital signatures, you don’t have to wait for executives and managers to physically sign a single piece of paper indicating their agreement to the terms of that file. Now, you can send an encrypted email to those involved and get their consent right away.
Similarly, your team won’t need a long turnaround time for their proposals and requests because you can send your approval or insights immediately. Moreover, you can do so without worrying about the security of your files.
These are other ways that digital signatures can streamline your processes:
- Recordkeeping – Encrypted files can be tracked more easily, which helps in organizing your files. Some tools also notify you if the email or document has been opened by the recipient.
- Time-stamping – Digital signatures also have a time-stamping feature. This helps in authenticating and securing a particular file because you or the recipient can easily check the time when the document was created or sent and confirm it with the information that’s logged into the file.
- Auditing – Since encryption can improve your record-keeping process, when implemented, it can make it easier to audit and cross-check files as needed.
- Improve your company image
Aside from the technical importance of digital signatures, investing in these tools and infrastructure also boosts your company image. In this day and age, clients are meticulous about the brands that they choose to support. It seems like every other week, there’s a news report about a company being hacked or having its data stolen. When potential customers see that you take cybersecurity seriously, they won’t hesitate to do business with you because they know that you can protect their information.
These days, securing your files is crucial for protecting your business and intellectual property. One of the best ways to do this is through digital signatures, which utilize public-key cryptography to protect your documents and messages, thus boosting your cybersecurity. To learn more about implementing digital signatures and other cybersecurity measures, contact the REALSEC team today.