Corporate Blog

A digital signature is necessary when you want to electronically sign documents, files and forms securely. Some organizations may use an electronic signature, but this is not the same thing. The difference between the two types of signatures is that with digital ones the data is encrypted. In order to decrypt the data you will need the user’s public key after the document has been sent to you. Without the public key you are unable to open or authenticate the document, file or form.

A Digital Signature Can Be Used to Replaced Paper-Based Signature Methods

Your organization can implement and use digital certificates for a variety of purposes. The types of digital certificates in use often follow the X509 standards. These standards are used to break down a digital certificate in to specific areas. Within each area of the certificate, both required and optional information can be provided by the organization. The level of detail provided in these sections can be influenced by the purpose of the digital certificate.

An Organization May Refer to a Digital Certificate as an X509 Certificate

There are several different options you can use to increase the security of your single sign on authentication systems. You could replace this type of system with a two factor authentication system. 2FA systems add a layer of security in front of your existing authentication processes. By adding this additional layer, you can eliminate potential problems and issues with unauthorized access to your network and resources.

You Can Use SSL Certificates as Another Option to Improve Security with Single Sign On Systems

Organizations often want to be able to control the distribution of PKI digital certificates. One way in which they can regulate the distribution is through proper administration of their certificate authority system. Users can submit requests through the system for a digital certificate. Upon receiving the request, the system administrator reviews each one and decides whether to issue the certificate or deny the request.

Options for Using Your Own PKI Certificate Authority System

Simply typing your name into a document or form does not constitute using a digital signature, but is considered a type of electronic signature. The difference between this basic electronic signature and a digital one is the level of security achieved. With the electronic, anyone else can open the document or form and change, modify or even delete your signature. However with a digital one, they are unable to open or gain access to the form or document unless they have been provided with the right decryption key. They are also unable to modify, change or delete your signature.

It is the responsibility of your business organization to ensure you take the necessary steps to secure your network, workstations and data. By taking the time to properly secure these vital operational areas, you prevent unauthorized access and protect proprietary information. It is up to you to decide the types of solutions you want to use, such as 2FA, smart cards, and USB tokens.

Using Security Questions Is Sometimes Confused with 2FA

At the heart of all types of digital certificates is a root certificate. The root certificate contains specific types of information which is needed during authentication processes. The root contains the values and locations of where to look to find the matching private key, when it is held within a certificate containing a public key. Once it connects to the location, the root then calls for the authentication processes to run. As long as they are successful the user is able to gain access.

A Root Certificate Can Be Used with a Digital Certificate to Secure Email

One type of digital certificate is a PKI certificate. This type of digital certificate often contains a public key and is used to verify and authenticate users connecting over public networks, including the internet. During the authentication process, the public key in the certificate is compared against the private key, which can be contained on a server when it is a general purpose authentication tool, like when logging into your online banking website.

A PKI Certificate Can Be Used to Sign Software and Code

The type of certification authority system you require depends upon the size of your business operation. Larger organizations tend to have a bit more flexibility to the types of systems they can pick and choose from, as they often have more money to work with in their budgets. It should be pointed out that CA solutions are available for any size organization, with three different delivery options to fit into any budget and satisfy your requirements.

Delivery Options for Obtaining a Certification Authority System

The current standard used to create most types of digital certificates, no matter how they will be used, is to follow X509. A certificate made using this standard allows organizations the ability to easily share certificates between multiple applications, without compatibility issues. It also allows a business the ability to share certificates with other businesses, like their vendors or customers.

An X509 Certificate Can Have Different Versions