Digital Signatures

Business Needs

Businesses can save a substantial amount of money by moving from expensive paper-based processes to electronic form. However this process is often reverted back to paper at the point a signature or approval is required! Organisations need to have trust in their key business documents and ensure that unauthorised changes cannot go undetected. They can also benefit from binding the originator and approver identities into such documents to provide traceability, accountability and a clear sign-off audit trail. Systems and people reading the data need to know that it is original and unchanged.

Ascertia's digital signature solutions provide these trust services to business documents and workflows. They can be used via web-interfaces, high-level APIs or automated systems. Ascertia enables trust within PDF documents, XML data and other files formats, web forms, automated transactions and emails by supporting all the popular digital signature formats: PDF, CMS, PKCS#7, PKCS#1, XML DSig, PAdES, XAdES, CAdES and S/MIME. Read below to learn how our products can be used in different scenarios.

Digital signatures simplified

Ascertia’s flagship ADSS Server product range is based on the industry-accepted concept of delegating security, cryptographic key management, certificate trust building, secure logging and other complex tasks to a trustworthy security server. Such delegation simplifies business applications and improves security through centralised management, policy management controls and auditing features, not to mention much reduced implementation and change costs as a result of this simplified architecture.

Ascertia's ADSS Server is based on industry standard protocols for communicating with an e-Trust server, including OASIS Digital Signature Specifications (DSS) for digital signing and verification, W3C XML Key Management Specifications (XKMS) and Server-Side Certificate Validation Protocol (SCVP) for certificate validation, IETF Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) for real-time revocation status checking, IETF TSP for communicating with a Time Stamping Authority and IETF Long-Term Archive & Notary Service (LTANS) for secure e-notarisation and data archiving.

Ascertia also offers Ascertia Docs as a turnkey document signing and approval workflow solution. Ascertia Docs manages people and documents ensuring that a document owner can quickly upload a document and share it with one or more people or a group of people for review and digital signature. It allows existing locally held signing keys and certificates to be used, or provides each user with centrally generated and held signing keys and certificates as part of the solution. Mobile signing is also supported in Ascertia Docs. Ascertia Docs leverages the power of ADSS Server behind the scene.

Digital signature benefits

  • A verifiable User Identity – unequivocal proof of a user’s national, legal or business status
  • A verifiable Business Identity – unequivocal proof of the legal status of a business
  • They bind verified User or Business Identities into documents or data in a way that cannot be forged
  • They provide certainty that the document or data is signed-off and/or approved
  • They provide non-repudiable legal weight evidence
  • They define who signed in what order and the date and time of this action
  • They help to achieve compliance with many legal & regulatory requirements

Use cases mapping

The following table maps common use cases against Ascertia products. This is not a complete list of use cases, so do get in touch with us if you have any special requirements.

Use Case Ascertia Product(s)

Document Signing, Workflow & Tracking

Upload, prepare and flow a document to specified people for digital signature and approval using server or local keys and certificates.  Available as a product or as a service. 


A cloud-hosted instance of Ascertia Docs

Corporate Digital Signatures

Apply corporate or role-based digital signatures using server-held keys and certificates. Ideal for unattended bulk signing of documents (e.g. e-Invoices). 

On-Demand User Signatures on a Server

Enabling end-users to sign using unique PKI keys held securely on a server, typically generated and certified during a web registration process. For integration into existing web applications.

Client-side User Digital Signatures

Enabling end-user document signing within your web applications, using signing keys held on the desktop or within a smartcard or secure download of roamed signing credentials. For integration into existing web applications.

Desktop PDF Document Signing Application

Enables the creation and digital signing of documents. Full end-user control over digital signature location and appearance. Uses locally held signing keys /certificates

PDF Sign&Seal

A Windows only application aimed at providing easy PDF creation, digital signing, certifying, time-stamping, verifying and DRM protection

Local language support

Ascertia Docs, ADSS Server and PDF Sign&Seal are multi-lingual allowing the end-user GUI to be translated into local languages (including the use of special unicode characters). A number of languages are included by default and others can be provided upon request.

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Years of Digital Signature