The evolution of Internet has made it possible to do many things without leaving home. However, it is necessary to confirm one’s identity when dealing with authorities, courts, economic entities and business partners. Nowadays, this is done with an electronic signature, which can be considered equivalent if a handwritten signature (depending on the type of electronic signature used). What is an electronic signature and how does it work?
Electronic signature combines technical, organisational and legal means. As a result, it is a tool to verify the identity of the person signing the given document. In other words, an electronic signature is a set of data in electronic form that allows identification of a specific person, so it can be used as a method of authentication. In this way, an electronic signature is equivalent to a handwritten signature.
The definition of electronic signature is found, inter alia, in the Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market. In this document, electronic signature is defined as “data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign.”
What are the types of electronic signature?
Due to the degree of technological advancement and security levels, Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council distinguishes three types of electronic signature. They are:
- “Standard” electronic signature. That is the electronic data previously mentioned, which is used by the user as a signature.
- Advanced electronic signature. For an electronic signature to be considered advanced, it must meet the following requirements: be uniquely assigned to the user; allow identification; be created using signature creation data; and be linked to the signed data in such a way that any subsequent modification is recognisable.
- Qualified electronic signature. It is the most advanced electronic signature. It is distinguished by the fact that it is created using a qualified electronic signature creation device and is based on a qualified electronic signature certificate.
Another division can be made based on the types of certificates. In this way, qualified and non-qualified certificates are identified. As a rule, a non-qualified signature is used to sign e-mails sent. Importantly, it does not have the same legal force as a handwritten signature.
Secure electronic signature is the qualified electronic signature. Such a signature is considered universal. Because it has the same legal force as a handwritten signature, it is commonly used when dealing with authorities – including, for example, courts, tax offices or ZUS. Qualified signatures are also used in healthcare.
What is an electronic signature used for?
In simplest terms, an electronic signature is used to sign documents in electronic form. Both in Poland and other European countries, this form of signature is becoming more and more popular. This has to do with the development of the online environment. At the same time, the fact that a qualified signature is the same as a handwritten signature means that electronic transactions are considered secure.
Where is a secure electronic signature commonly used? Today it has a wide range of applications. It is mainly used by entrepreneurs, who use it to deal with contractors and authorities. Electronic signature allows you to:
- submit e-statements for ZUS and the tax office,
- submit applications to public administration offices, including also CEIDG and KRS,
- sign agreements and arrangements,
- sign the electronic invoices generated,
- send formal e-mail correspondence.
In the latter case, the recipient of the signed message can be sure that they are contacting, for example, the owner of the company or a person authorised to engage in negotiations.
Electronic signatures are also widely used by entrepreneurs participating in public procurements. Thanks to the use of a secure electronic signature, they do not have to submit their bid by post or in person at a designated place.
Individuals use qualified signatures to a lesser extent. If you are party to a complex legal dispute, having a qualified signature saves you considerable time and reduces the costs associated with sending registered mail.
Electronic signature – main benefits
The online environment is developing dynamically mainly because of the savings offered and the possibility of exchanging information quickly. However, in order for your correspondence to be considered authentic, it is advisable to use an electronic signature. Using an electronic signature solution means, above all:
- security – the recipient can be certain that documents or correspondence bearing a qualified signature are genuine,
- convenience – it takes just a few clicks to sign an agreement or a declaration, which significantly streamlines correspondence with contractors or authorities,
- eliminating paper documents from the workflow – for companies this means savings that can be counted in the tens of thousands of zlotys a year,
- document flow process optimisation – documents are easier to access and can be archived electronically,
- time savings – sending electronically signed documents takes just a moment, and the recipient can read their content almost immediately.
A qualified signature is also more secure than a handwritten signature. The latter can be counterfeited. A secure electronic signature, on the other hand, is designed so that data tampering is automatically disclosed. In addition, the tools for electronic signatures are only at the disposal of the person authorised – the user.
Although an electronic signature has many advantages, like any solution, it also has its drawbacks. Signing documents with an electronic signature means, first of all, having an IT infrastructure. Without appropriate equipment, secure electronic signatures cannot be used.
Where and how to create an electronic signature?
In order to sign documents sent or received with a qualified signature, it is necessary to purchase one. How to obtain a qualified signature? A secure electronic signature is a commercial and paid solution. If you are an entrepreneur from Wrocław or its surroundings and you see the potential of electronic signature and you want to start using it, do not hesitate to reach out to us. At Netvet, we have prepared an offer for those interested in using an electronic signature.
How to obtain a qualified signature with us? We value both time and budget of our clients and therefore offer:
- on-site visits – you do not need to meet our employee in our office or at a notary office, nor do you need to visit the company issuing the certificate,
- comprehensive, also technical, assistance – we issue a qualified certificate for our client, install it on the computer and set up the signature according to the needs in the software used, e.g. in Płatnik,
- remote assistance – we provide assistance by telephone from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; in very urgent situations we are available to our customers 24 hours a day.
Normally, the installation process at the address specified by the customer takes up to 30 minutes.
We would like to remind you that although you can purchase an electronic signature online, you cannot create an electronic signature in this way. Why is that? For security reasons, it is necessary to check the identity of the person who will use the signature.
How much does a secure electronic signature cost?
Electronic signature is a commercial solution. Its price depends primarily on the type of kit and the period for which the electronic signature will be valid. We offer our clients electronic signatures on very competitive terms. Our offer includes:
- certificate on e-ID or card issued by Eurocert,
- electronic signature set, CARD, consisting of a cryptographic card, qualified certificate and software for signing documents and verifying the electronic signature,
- electronic signature set, TOKEN, consisting of a cryptographic card, Gemalto IDBridge K30 Reader, qualified certificate and software to sign documents and verify the electronic signature,
- electronic signature set, Classic, consisting of a cryptographic card, Omnikey 3021 USB Reader, qualified certificate and software to sign documents and verify the electronic signature,
- electronic signature set, Microreader, consisting of a cryptographic card, Token Omnikey 6121 USB reader, qualified certificate and software to sign documents and verify the electronic signature.
How much does an electronic signature cost? Depending on the selected product, the cost is from PLN 119 to PLN 369 net. Lower prices apply to certificate renewals – from PLN 109 to PLN 249 net. For the full range of electronic signatures, please visit our website: https://netvet.pl/podpis-elektroniczny/.
We encourage you to take a look at our proposals and make use of our e-signature services.