The Importance of Time Stamps and Digital Signatures in PDF Documents
Many businesses choose to take the electronic document route as often as possible. The choice makes sense, as electronic documents reduce printing costs by eliminating the need for paper, power and toner/ink. Plus they make storage of documents much more manageable since they reside on a hard drive rather than in a file cabinet or box somewhere.
With the ability to tag electronic documents created with tools such as, finding the right document is also easier; and, it almost goes without saying that when you save time, you save money as well.
One problem that some organizations have when it comes to electronic documents, however, is adding a signature or time stamp to the file. The old way of signing a document was to print it, sign it and then scan it back into the Computer for storage. This method made sharing and storage of the document easier, but it generated quite a bit of waste. PDF editor software, however, provides a perfect solution to this problem through its digital signature feature.
Understanding the digital signature
Official documents are hardly worth anything unless officially signed. The aforementioned solution was one way to sign an electronic document. Another way to sign these files was to scan a copy your signature and place it on a document as an image. The problem with these solutions, however, is that it’s rather easy to forge a signature in both instances. Without much effort, someone can scan a copy of your signature and place that on a document, making it look like you signed it.
PDF software makes this unlikely because digital signatures are more than a mere graphical representation of a signature. Instead of ink, or a scanned image, a digital signature uses digital keys (aka, public-key cryptology) to attach your identity to the document.
Compared to a handwritten signature, a digital signature much more difficult to forge as long as the keys used to create it are kept secure. When applied to a document created with your PDF software, the digital signature will include a graphical representation of your signature in your handwriting, a common name of your choosing, the location where your signed the document along with a time stamp displaying the date and time you applied the signature to the file, which creates an official record of this event.
Not all PDF software solutions provide the full variety of features for creating digital signatures. Complete products, such as PhantomPDF from Foxit, not only enable digital signature creation but also provide other PDF signing options as well as integration with DocuSign, the most widely used solution.
Pairing these features with the ability to create electronic documents that require no printing provides businesses with a cost effective and comprehensive solution for their electronic document needs. While there are vendors that provide specific electronic document solutions, many organizations find that the right PDF software handles these needs perfectly.