Cryptography in Digital Signature Encryption
Security is a top agenda for large enterprises in today’s fast-paced world, including the security of documents in an enterprise workflow. That’s where technology, such as digital signatures, comes in as a solution that ensures the authenticity and integrity of digitally signed documents. At the core of technologies such as digital signatures, complex encryption protocols ensure documents are safe. This encryption protocol is possible due to the Cryptographic Key pair – the private and the public key.
But what are cryptographic keys? How do they encrypt signatures and documents? Why do they come in pairs? Oddly enough, why do they work in pairs? In this blog, I’ll answer these complex questions for you with the help of an example so you can feel confident about how encryption and digital signatures secure document workflows.
Security Imperative for Enterprise Document Workflow
Let’s begin with the basics. Why is security a priority for enterprises, and why are organizations investing in technology to improve it? Embracing advanced technologies allows you to enhance security and business performance. Enterprise workflows are no exception to the security trend and require advanced technology to manage them securely. Document transaction management technologies, including digital signature software, make use of encryption to ensure the security of a document.
The encryption protocol is used to protect the digital signature workflow, and it ensures the core values of digital signatures are intact during a transaction – authenticity, confidentiality, integrity, non-repudiation, and compliance—all thanks to the cryptographic keys.
Digital signature technology is based on a framework known as the Public Key Cryptography, and the Cryptographic keys are an integral part of this framework that protects documents. Enterprises must implement digital signatures based on such a recognized and accepted framework.
The Cryptographic Key Pair
The Private Key
The private key is one-half of the encryption puzzle. As the name suggests, this key is to be kept secret – it must not be shared with others.
· Encrypting the signature: A private key is created when the document is signed digitally, and it is used to encrypt the signature.
· Integrity and tamper protection: Restricted access to private keys ensures that the documents in workflow are not tampered with.
· Authentication of identity: A signer’s identity is verified using the associated key pair – the public key. We’ll discuss authentication in detail with an example in upcoming sections.
The Public Key
The public key, as the name suggests, does not require secretive storage. It can be freely distributed to trusted parties in a document transaction to decrypt the signatures.
· Decrypting the signature: Encryption seals the document signature, but how do you unseal it? Decryption. Encryption by the private key can only be undone by a public key from the same set.
Understanding With an Example.
Let me demonstrate the workings of cryptographic keys with the help of Amanda and Ben – two simple beings who are about to initiate a document transaction that requires a signature. Amanda is the signer, and Ben is the recipient of the document.
How can Amanda secure her signature? How can Ben ensure the signature’s authenticity and the document’s integrity?
Let’s break down the steps involved in their signature transaction
1. Amanda signs the document using a digital signature, and a cryptographic key pair is generated.
2. Amanda’s private information is used to encrypt the signature, and the particulars of the documents are sealed.
3. The signed and encrypted document is sent over to Ben using a trusted channel along with Amanda’s public key.
4. Ben, at the receiving end, uses Amanda’s public key to decrypt the document.
Being able to decrypt the document signature using Amanda’s public key assures Ben that it is, in fact, Amanda who signed the document because her private key is confidential. Had the document been tampered with, Ben wouldn’t be able to decrypt the document. Cryptographic keys also ensure non-repudiation since Amanda is the sole custodian of her private key, which encrypts the signature.
And that’s how cryptographic keys ensure authenticity, integrity, confidentiality, and non-repudiation. As mandated in regulatory frameworks such as NIST FIPS 140-2, using cryptographic modules in digital signatures is also a compliance requirement.
- Documents transaction security must be prioritized at enterprises.
- Ensuring robust cryptographic protocols are followed is essential to secure enterprise workflow.
- Cryptographic key pair enhances security and compliance.
- Private keys must be stored safely to ensure confidentiality and non-repudiation.
- Private keys are freely distributed to verify authenticity and ensure document integrity.
Digital signatures enhance document security for businesses globally. Are you worried about the security of your enterprise’s workflow? Certinal eSignature solution meets the security and compliance demands of global businesses. Certinal offers standard, advanced, and qualified digital signatures that employ advanced encryption to ensure compliance. Experience the full power of Certinal eSignature by requesting a demo today. Book Your Demo.