Seven Steps to Digital Signature Implementation

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Executive Summary

According to an Aberdeen Group market survey, 98% of the Global 2000 organizations will be using a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) before 2003 for business-to-business electronic commerce and Internet based financial applications. This explosive growth of public key infrastructure combined with recent ?E-Sign? (Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act) legislation and the increased awareness for tighter security for on-line transactions, are fueling the need for a manageable method of implementing digital signature technology in new and existing database applications.

Digital signatures are not a digitized or bit-map representation of a handwritten signature, but an association of a digital or numeric code with a set of electronic data. Implementing digital signatures in relational database applications presents a unique set of challenges.

When we talk about security technologies we typically think of encryption, authentication, authorization, access control, firewalls, intrusion detection, etc. These technologies focus on solving or preventing security problems related to the infrastructure upon which business applications run rather than the applications themselves. Occasionally, digital signatures are introduced but rarely at an application integration level. Instead, we see digital signatures, especially in the public key encryption and its associated infrastructure (PKI) environment, associated with the electronic signing of documents such as email messages, word processing documents, spreadsheets and data files.

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