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Qualified Trust Seals - How Do They Compare to Other Electronic Seals?

Qualified Trust Seals - How Do They Compare to Other Electronic Seals?

The demand for convenient and efficient document signing and sealing solutions continues to drive technological innovation. As organizations seek faster, more secure, and environmentally friendly ways to manage their documents, technology providers are responding with increasingly sophisticated tools and platforms to meet these needs.

‘Qualified Trust Services’ provide a whole host of services, however at times this can be confusing as to what service may be required. For this purpose, we take a look at the various Trust Services offered - in this case, Advanced Electronic Seals, Qualified Electronic Seals, and Qualified Trust Seals and how they are an important component of the evolving landscape of electronic seals and document authentication.

An Advanced Electronic Seal and a Qualified Electronic Seal Comparison

An Advanced Electronic Seal (AdESeal) is an electronic seal (a digital stamp issued by a legal person, for example, an organization) that possesses the following characteristics:

  • Uniquely linked to the signer: It is uniquely linked with the creator of the seal
  • Capable of identifying the signer: Identifies and verifies the identity of the signer of the seal, ensuring that the origin is known and authenticated
  • Created using a secured Private Key: The seal is generated in a HSM using a private key that is under the exclusive control of the creator. This control provides a high level of confidence in the authenticity of the seal.
  • Detects subsequent data changes: The seal is linked to the data it represents in a way that allows any subsequent changes to the data to be detected. This ensures the integrity of the sealed data.

A Qualified Electronic Seal (QESeal) is a digital seal that provides additional levels of assurance on the identity of the signer  and an enhanced protection and level of assurance on the seals generation.

They are backed by qualified certificates which, through adherence to more rigorous criteria established in the eIDAS Regulation, offer increased assurances regarding the identity of the signer, consequently elevating the legal confidence associated with the generated electronic seals. Qualified certificates are issued by Qualified Trust Service Providers (QTSPs) that have undergone comprehensive audits and have been officially designated as qualified by a national competent authority, as evidenced in the EU Trusted List (EUTL).

For this purpose, additional requirements are necessary:

  • Created by a Qualified Signature Creation Device (QSCD): A QESeal is generated using a Qualified Signature Creation Device (QSCD). This device complies with strict security and technical standards to ensure the highest level of trust and authenticity in the seal creation process.
  • Based on a Qualified Certificate for Electronic Seals: The creation of a QESeal relies on a qualified certificate. This certificate, issued by a qualified trust service provider, verifies the authenticity of the seal and the identity of the entity applying it.

ENISA Security Guidelines Qualified Electronic Seals_GlobalSign.jpg

Source: ENISA - Security guidelines on the appropriate use of qualified electronic seals

A QESeal shall be recognized as a qualified electronic seal in all Member States

This equivalence is gained from the fact that qualified electronic seals are supported by: 
i) trustworthy process technology, similar to advanced electronic seals, 
ii) qualified electronic seal creation devices, and 
iii) qualified trust service providers (QTSPs) which are supervised by EU MS-appointed supervisory bodies.

When bulk signing becomes a requirement

Organizations often have a requirement to be able to sign large volumes of documents, automatically, and in bulk. Signing documents with Qualified Electronic Seals or Qualified Signatures requires the use of a QSCD and typically involves using specialized software or platforms designed for this purpose. Due to this, it makes difficult  to apply qualified signatures and seals automatically, in high volume.

Enter GlobalSign’s Qualified Trust Seal

A Qualified Trust Seal is an enhanced type of an advanced electronic seal that, enables organizations to automatically apply an electronic seal that has a European Union Trust List (EUTL) root of trust to their internal documents. This seal is generated using a  qualified digital certificate and is applied through the use of a Hardware Security Module (HSM). The benefits of a Qualified Trust Seal are:

➔    Qualified Level of Identity Trust
➔    Automated Deployment
➔    High Volume Signing
➔    Seamless Authentication
➔    EUTL Trusted, providing the seal with a Qualified Root of Trust

Qualified Trust Seals enable organizations to automatically seal internal documents with the identity trust level of a qualified signature, using a HSM (Hardware Security Module) enabling
the ease and convenience of applying high-volume seals through the simple use of APIs.

The administration of a Qualified Trust Seal is facilitated through GlobalSign's cloud-based Digital Signing Service (DSS). This service empowers users to automatically apply a Qualified Trust Seal to their documents, eliminating the necessity for manual authentication of each seal by the signer. 

Find out more about Qualified Trust Seals by reading the Sealing Documents with Qualified Trust Datasheet

Talk to our team about sealing solutions today

If you would like to learn more about innovations on the horizon and how digitalization is driving the adoption of electronic signature services in both the EU and UK, read GlobalSign's eBook.

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