Secure e-documentation, or why use an electronic seal?

Nearly 92% of companies know that electronic signed documents have the same legal value as documents signed by hand*. Are they aware that they can also use the e-seal in their business? Do they distinguish it from a qualified electronic signature? Do they know what documents they can sign? These questions were answered by Mirosław Jaworski, Junior Product Manager of Asseco Data Systems, in an interview with Asseconews.

We can use the electronic signature not only in business but also privately, e.g. when settling taxes. So this solution is widely known. It is a different story with the electronic seal. I have the impression that many entrepreneurs are not aware of such a solution or do not distinguish it from the e-signature.

A qualified electronic seal is a trust service that enables the creation of official company documents and public documents in electronic form with their full legal validity and evidence value under the law. What makes it different from a qualified electronic signature is the information contained in the certificate. The signature contains the details of a specific person, which makes it possible to identify that person. The stamp does not contain information about a natural person, but only the data of an entity with legal personality (i.e. company, organization, public administration entity). So we use it when we want to indicate that the document comes from a particular sender, e.g. in the case of telephone invoices that are issued in bulk, it is important for the customer to be sure that they are reliable.

What documents can we seal electronically?
The possibilities are almost limitless. These can be e.g. HR department documents, commercial offers, marketing materials, invoices, or general correspondence. Electronically sealed files are much safer than their paper counterparts, as any change in them is immediately detected.

Does this mean that the seal can also be used by state institutions?
Definitely. A qualified electronic seal ensures the confidentiality of data and the reliability of the organization. Therefore, it can be used by public administration entities and local government units. Of course, it is also widely used in business, both in small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations. The e-sealing service is essential in automating the processing and distribution of millions of electronic document volumes, so it is a valuable tool for organizations in the financial, telecommunications and energy sectors.

Increasing the level of security of document circulation while reducing costs related to document processing may encourage many entities to take advantage of this solution. What should companies or institutions that decide to implement the electronic seal in their organization pay attention to?
First of all, whether it is compatible with eIDAS. This is an EU regulation which has introduced certain standards for the authenticity and integrity of electronic documents, including their cross-border nature and pan-European recognition by Member State administrations and courts. The Certum qualified electronic seal offered by Asseco Data Systems meets the EU requirements. Our clients can be sure that their documents have legal effect both in Poland and in the member states.

Is making a seal a complicated process? How to prepare for it?
It is not a difficult task. In the case of the Certum seal, all you need to do is go to https://sklep.certum.pl/, make a purchase, then generate the documents, fill them in and send them back to our certification center together with the identity confirmation. The last step is simply to download the certificate. If a customer needs support, they can also contact us through one of the 300 partner points we have throughout Poland or through our hotline at 801 540 340 340.

*Source: The “Business in the paperless era. Are we ready for it?”, 2020