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Zertificon Blog

We provide encryption solutions and write about 'Secure Business Communications'.


Why digital email signatures and encryption go hand in hand

Email signatures and encryption

More and more companies are addressing the issue of certificate-based digital email signatures. Digital signatures for emails create trust in electronic communication. They enable the identification beyond doubt of an email sender.

When you use digital signatures, you protect your communication partners: you give them the means to check your signatures to decide whether they trust incoming emails. With digital email signatures, fraudsters who carry out phishing attacks in your name have much less chance of success.

Digital email signatures are a milestone on the road to secure digitalization! Nevertheless, you can only talk about email signatures if you talk about encryption. Otherwise, their separate existence is only theoretical. Therefore, a signature gateway must also at least be capable of decryption.

Limiting email certificates to the signature function does not work in practice

If you want to use digital email signatures, you must include or publish the associated email certificates. With the certificate, the recipients of your emails can check the validity of the signature. The email certificate encloses its intended application purpose, defining the processes for which the certificate can be used.

The problem, however, is that there is no guarantee that email programs or even email gateways from different manufacturers will evaluate this information. Practice shows that email certificates with the sole purpose of “digital signature” are also used for encryption!

You will receive encrypted emails from your communication partners as soon as you send your digital signature certificates—in general, Certificate Authorities publicly publish certificates. If you cannot decrypt emails, your company and communication partners incur significant and unnecessary extra hurdles.

Intended purpose of certificate entryExample: Certificate info in Z1 Global TrustPoint

An email certificate for digital signature is not cheaper than a certificate for signature and encryption. The certificate issuance process is the same for both. Digital signatures signal to contacts that you possess encryption capabilities.

You should think of signature and encryption together to never leave your communication partners hanging; that’s the only way you’ll be accessible when others want to encrypt with you. With over 20 years of certificate-based secure email communication expertise, we can assure you that trying to use digital signatures without encryption will fail.

With our Z1 SecureMail Gateway, we help you implement signature and encryption with minimal effort. At Zertificon, we automate the essential technology for certificate management like no other provider in the market.

Start your request now to learn how easy and centrally managed certificate-based email encryption and signature can be with Z1 SecureMail Gateway. Check out this article for further insight on why you shouldn’t use email signatures without encryption: What are email key pairs and certificates, and how are they used? 

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