GlobalSign Blog

24 Jul 2014

Your Digital Signature Questions Answered (Part 1)

I recently hosted a webinar, Making the Case for Digital Signatures. We had a great turnout and received several questions during the Q&A portion, some of which we unfortunately had to skip due to time constraints.  They were all good questions, so I thought I'd cover a few of them here. First on this list - what your recipient needs to receive a digitally signed document and who takes care of generating the keypair for the digital certificate used to apply the signature.

1. Does my recipient need special software to receive my digitally signed document?

Recipients of your digitally signed document don't need any additional software to verify the signature beyond what they'd normally need to open the document.  For example, a digitally signed PDF can be opened in Adobe Reader and a digitally signed Microsoft Word document can be opened in Word.

Our PDF Signing certificates are compatible with Adobe Reader 8.0+ and Microsoft Office 2003+.

2. Who creates the public and private keys?

The digital certificates used to apply digital signatures are comprised of public and private keys. As the names suggest, public keys can be freely shared and are used to verify digital signatures, while private keys are kept secret and are used to create digital signatures.

The key-pair is generated by the Certificate Authority (CA) who issues the digital certificate. The private key is generated on the device (e.g., token, hardware security module) that requests the certificate, so the CA never has access to the private key.

Wondering how public and private keys fit into the digital signature process? Check out our eBook: An Introduction to Digital Signatures for a behind the scenes look at how they're used to prove authorship of the document and prevent any changes from being made.

Other questions addressed during the live webinar:

  • Can people share certificates?
  • How does the solution compare to others like DocuSign or CoSign?
  • What's the pricing model?

Get the answers and learn more about why you should adopt digital signatures, their benefits, and your solution options by downloading the full webinar. If you have any other questions about digital signatures, please feel free to ask in the comments.

p.s. We received so many great questions during the webinar, I couldn't cover them all in one post without it turning into a novel. Stay tuned for another post with more Q&A!

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