What is the difference between an electronic and digital signature?

Featured image

Share this article

Digital Signature photo

It is important to know the difference between electronic and digital signatures because they have different legal implications. Read our blog to learn more.

What is the difference between an electronic and digital signature?

Electronic and digital signatures have different levels of security. Digital signatures are necessary for sensitive information, while an electronic signature is used when you simply need to confirm the identity of the signer. They are both more secure than wet signatures which are subject to forgery and tampering.

When are digital signatures vs electronic signatures needed?

High-value transactions where security is paramount, such as in the healthcare industry, require digital signatures. In contrast, electronic signatures are perfect for low-value transactions where speed and convenience are more important than security.

How do digital signatures work?

Digital signatures typically use public key infrastructure (PKI) to generate and verify signatures. PKI is a system of digital certificates, which are electronic documents that contain a digital signature and can be used to verify the identity of the signer. PKI signatures are more difficult to forge than electronic signatures.

How do I create a digital signature?

To create a digital signature, you first need to generate a public and private key pair. The private key is kept secret and is used to sign documents. The public key is made available to anyone who needs to verify the signature.

When you sign a document using your private key, the corresponding public key can be used to confirm that the signature is valid.

Read more about digital security and healthcare: Why Zero Trust matters to leadership in healthcare

What is an electronic or e-signature?

Electronic signatures, also known as e-signatures, are electronic versions of handwritten signatures. They can be used to sign documents electronically, eliminating the need for paper copies. E-signatures are typically created using software that converts a typed name or initials into a digital image that can be placed on a document. This image can then be verified by electronic means to confirm the identity of the signer.

Now you know if you need a digital or electronic signature

Knowing the difference between these two types of signatures can help you choose the right type of signature for your needs. For secure and sensitive information, use a digital signature. If you are simply needing to identify the signer then an electronic signature is fine.

If you have concerns about email security and HIPAA violations check out our Guide to HIPAA Violations.

doctor with stethoscope

Healthcare email security concerns?

There is no better solution on the market than Paubox to keep email HIPAA compliant, secure and protected against the barrage of ransomware attacks that clinics and hospitals are experiencing.

Read more: Why healthcare providers should use HIPAA compliant email

Are you in healthcare and concerned about digital security?

While knowing which signature to use is important for healthcare staff, it is imperative for providers and patients to also know that email is one of healthcare’s most significant vulnerability points. In the last three years email was the root cause for 35% of all healthcare data breaches reported to HHS.

Attackers only need one weak link to access extremely sensitive data and often exploit human error through email attacks. So, keep in mind the importance of safeguarding this vulnerability with a Zero Trust Email model built into the security framework for your healthcare organization. Want to learn more about Zero Trust security for your healthcare organization? 

Paubox’s solutions are HITRUST CSF certified, patented, and are the most advanced HIPAA compliant email solutions available. And although Paubox solutions are advanced, they are designed to be effortlessly easy to implement and use. In fact, our software has a 4.9/5 rating by current customers in G2.

Whether you are a large hospital or a standalone clinic, Paubox has the right email product to keep your data, organization and patients safe.

Author Photo

About the author

Anne-Marie Sullivan

Read more by Anne-Marie Sullivan

Get started with
end-to-end protection

Bolster your organization’s security with healthcare’s most trusted HIPAA compliant email solution

The #1-rated email encryption 
and security software on G2

G2 Badge: Email Encryption Leader Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Security Best Usability Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Encryption Momentum Leader Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Security Best Relationship Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Security Users Most Likely to Recommend Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Relationship Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Meets Requirements Fall 2022
G2 Badge - Users Most Likely to Recommend Summer 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Results Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Usability Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Support Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Easiest To Use Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Easiest Setup Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Easiest Admin Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Easiest to do Business with Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Highest User Adoption 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway High Performer Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Momentum Leader Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Most Implementable Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Users Most Likely to Recommend Fall 2022