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What is an eSeal?

An eSeal is a digital signature solution that allows businesses to efficiently sign and secure large volumes of documents with the organization’s verified digital identity. By cryptographically binding signatures to documents, eSealing protects against unauthorized changes and fraud while enabling automated bulk signing workflows.

eSealing provides the legal validity, security, and workflow efficiency needed to process documents at the speed and scale of digital business. Transitioning from wet ink signing to eSealing enables significant cost savings, fraud prevention, and compliance with digital signature regulations.

More companies accept and require digital signatures on various business documents, ensuring continued growth and adoption. Pre-emptively implementing eSealing solutions helps companies readily adapt to the expanding digitalization of workflows.

Standard documents that benefit from authenticated protection via eSeals include:

  • Purchase orders

  • Invoices

  • Sales contracts

  • Employee onboarding forms

  • Medical records

  • Banking documents

With eSealing, these high-volume documents can be rapidly, digitally signed to prevent threats like fake invoice scams and fraudulent change order requests that have cost organizations millions.

How Does an eSeal Enhance the Process of Documents?

eSealing enables bulk, automated digital signing on behalf of an organization. With one certificate issued to the company, multiple authorized users can seal documents with the organization’s authenticated identity. eSealing can also be integrated into automated processes, allowing the sealing of numerous documents without manual signature application.

The protection digital signatures provide had previously been used almost exclusively for manual, full contract workflows. Automated eSealing extends that protection against unauthorized changes and the embedding of the signer’s digital identity to documents that are also vulnerable to fraud but issued in high volumes making manual digital signing impractical.

One of the key benefits of eSealing is that it can be automated without the need for manual signature application. This means that high volumes of documents can be digitally signed and sealed quickly and efficiently, without the need for individual signers to manually apply their signatures to each document.

For C-levels and other designated staff at your company, eSealing certificates are provided with cloud-based signing platforms such as eSigner.com. The account administrator can issue credentials to multiple authorized employee representatives, allowing them to share access to the same organizational eSealing certificate. This enables improved coordination and logistics in high-volume document processing.

Through the use of a signing operation API, automated eSealing can be integrated into other document workflows and accounting systems including Adobe Acrobat Sign.

How eSeals Securely Bind Documents

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) provides the underlying framework for eSealing certificates. Compliance standards for certificates and digital signatures are set by Adobe and other certificate authority standards bodies. Certificate authorities are then audited against these standards to to be included in the trust stores of Adobe and other document companies.

First, a validation team at a publicly trusted and audited certificate authority like SSL.com validates the company’s identity. Next, through a document signing digital certificate, based on the X.509 standards, a unique cryptographic key pair is bound to the organization’s identity.

Once the certificate is issued, an organization can digitally sign documents using their company’s cryptographic private/public key pair associated with their X.509 certificates. This binds the organization’s authenticated identity to the documents. Signatures are created by hashing a document’s contents to generate unique digital fingerprints, encrypting the hashes with the private key. Upon receipt, signatures are validated with the public key, while the X.509 certificates confirm the identity. This cryptographic process provides tamper evidence and prevents forgeries, improving on ink signatures.

The integration of eSeals with Adobe’s trust store further enhances the security and reliability of digitally signed documents.

Adobe Trust and eSeals

eSeals can be integrated with Adobe’s trust store, allowing Adobe PDF Readers to verify the authenticity of digitally signed documents. When a document is signed using an eSeal certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority (CA) like SSL.com, Adobe PDF Readers display a green checkmark indicating that the document’s signature is valid and the signer’s identity has been verified.

This integration with Adobe’s trust store further enhances the security and reliability of eSealed documents, providing recipients with visual confirmation of the document’s authenticity.

However, to ensure that eSealed documents are legally binding and enforceable, they must also comply with relevant legal and regulatory requirements, which vary by industry and region.

Electronic Document Compliance

In many industries and regions, electronic documents and digital signatures must comply with specific legal and regulatory requirements to be considered valid and enforceable. Some key compliance standards and regulations related to eSealing include:

  • eIDAS (Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services): The EU regulation provides a framework for electronic identification, authentication, and trust services, including digital signatures. eSeals that meet the requirements of eIDAS are considered legally binding within the EU.

  • ESIGN Act (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act): This U.S. federal law grants legal recognition to electronic signatures and records, provided they meet certain requirements. eSeals can help organizations comply with the ESIGN Act by providing secure, authenticated digital signatures.

  • UETA (Uniform Electronic Transactions Act): Adopted by most U.S. states, UETA establishes the legal equivalence of electronic records and signatures to paper-based counterparts. eSeals can facilitate compliance with UETA by enabling secure, verifiable digital signatures on electronic documents.

  • ISO 32000: This international standard specifies the PDF file format, including requirements for digital signatures. eSeals that adhere to ISO 32000 ensure compatibility and interoperability across different platforms and software.

By implementing eSealing solutions that comply with relevant regulations and standards, organizations can ensure that their digitally signed documents are legally valid and enforceable, facilitating secure and efficient electronic transactions.

Use Cases Best Suited for eSeal

Standard high-volume use cases well suited for transitioning from inefficient wet ink signing to streamlined eSeal workflows include:

  • Accounting and billing
  • Sales contracting and agreements
  • Onboarding agreements
  • Document archiving
  • Securing online form submissions

In regulated industries, eSeals also provides compliance benefits to satisfy official demands for valid digital signatures:

  • Healthcare

  • Document management and storage

  • Banking

  • Government

  • Engineering & Manufacturing

How Can You Get eSealing?

Existing SSL.com certificate customers should contact support to current organization certificates to eSealing which removes the requirement for a one-time password for each signature. Those with use cases needing new implementation of eSeal-enabled Organization Validation (OV) certificates can contact the SSL.com support team at sales@ssl.com to discuss tailored solutions fitting their document signing workflows.

Future-Proof Workflows with the Efficiency of eSeals

Digital transformation continues unfolding across sectors; eSeals provides the upgraded legal protections and workflow efficiency gains businesses need to accelerate document processing. Transitioning from manual methods to standardized cryptography’s speed, cost savings, and security is now urgent and accessible.

Whether an organization requires only ad hoc eSeals applied to documents as needed or sealing enterprise volumes in bulk, eSeals seal gaps by future-proofing businesses for the realities of a modern digital economy.

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