Electronic Seals (eSeals) are regularly adopted by all types of businesses and organizations to help build trust into their digitally signed documents. In fact, in 2022, approximately 75% of all digital signatures generated were Electronic Seals. In this blog we’ll recap why eSeals are important for business and explore GlobalSign’s Qualified Trust Seal offering, which provides a whole host of benefits for organizations of all sizes.
What are eSeals and Why Are They Important for Business?
Types of Electronic Seals
Traditionally there are two main levels of electronic seals used to digitally secure documents:
- AATL for Advanced Trust Levels
- EUTL for Qualified Trust Levels
eSeals are commonly used to ensure a document's origin and integrity, and the different types of seals bring different levels of trust. Using a digital signing solution, electronic seals can be applied to documents automatically, saving organizations both time and money. However, for qualified trust level seals, these must be applied using a Qualified Signature Creation Device (QSCD), and requires some level of manual authentication from the signer.
When Do You Need an Electronic Seal?
Electronic Seals are commonly used to automatically sign large volumes of documents for organizations, such as financial invoices or statements. They are also used to build in trust into sensitive documents where businesses need to ensure the integrity and origin of the document, such as a quotation or report, or when there is a specific legal framework to comply with.
Due to these industry demands, there is a clear requirement for organizations to digitally sign with a seal, and with the addition of compliance regulations, such as eIDAS, there is an increasing need for qualified trust in seals that can be issued automatically. This is where Qualified Trust Seals come in.
What Is a Qualified Trust Seal and How Can I Sign with One?
A Qualified Trust Seal is an additional level of electronic seal that enables organizations to automatically sign internal documents with European Union Trust List (EUTL) trust. A Qualified Trust Seal is backed by a qualified digital certificate and issued using a Hardware Security Module (HSM).
A Qualified Trust Seal is administered via GlobalSign’s Digital Signing Service (DSS), which allows users to automatically apply a Qualified Trust Seal to their documents, without the need for each seal to be manually authenticated by the signer.
The Difference Between the Seal Solutions Available
With a new level of eSeal introduced, the table below breaks down the key differences between these signing solutions:
When Might a Qualified Trust Seal Be Used?
A Qualified Trust Seal is to be used for automatically generated documents – e.g., invoices, statements, and sensitive documents such intellectual property, quotations and reports.
- Digital Signatures and Contracts: Ensuring the authenticity and integrity of digital contracts and agreements, making them legally binding and tamper-proof by applying a seal.
- Government Documents: Applying seals to official government documents, licenses, and certificates to maintain authenticity and streamline administrative processes.
- Healthcare Records: Securing electronic health records with seals to maintain patient privacy, prevent unauthorized access, and comply with regulations.
- Financial Transactions: Verifying the integrity of financial transactions, electronic funds transfers, and invoices, thereby preventing fraud and ensuring accurate record-keeping.
- Intellectual Property Protection: Protecting intellectual property rights by using seals on digital documents related to patents, copyrights, and trademarks.
- E-Commerce: Enhancing the trustworthiness of e-commerce transactions by using seals to confirm the authenticity of orders, invoices, and payment receipts.
What Are the Benefits of a Qualified Trust Seal?
- Qualified Level of Trust: A Qualified Trust Seal is generated with a qualified digital certificate. It doesn’t require manual authentication and so it can offer an automatic signing solution that meets the trusted levels of eIDAS regulations.
- Powered by DSS: GlobalSign’s cloud-based Digital Signing Service (DSS) and is the fastest and easiest way to deploy trusted digital signatures and seals into any signing application. Last year, approximately 75% digital signatures generated were Electronic Seals, and this is driven by its high availability, meaning seals have a 99.95% uptime!
- EUTL Trusted: A Qualified Trust Seal is trusted by the European Union Trust List (EUTL) and accredited to deliver the highest level of compliance for identity assurances as per the EU eIDAS regulation. This means that documents signed with a Qualified Trust Seal are widely recognized in cross-border transactions among EU member states.
- Seamless Authentication: Qualified Trust Seals can be deployed automatically through DSS which is a huge advantage for organizations as it enables bulk signing. It does not require any multi-factor authentication by the user, which is generally a requirement when signing with a qualified signature. A Qualified Trust Seal provides the benefits of a qualified level seal, but with the ease and convenience of an advanced level seal, it’s a win-win!