What is Time Stamping?

Escrito por: Natalia Herrero Fecha Wednesday 2, September 2020 Categoría: General

The use of electronic signatures is more and more widespread. In order to guarantee the integrity of electronic evidence, we use time stamping, the perfect complement to know that we carry out transactions in a safe and reliable way. Why? Let’s see what it consists of and what a company needs to have it.

Time Stamping: the security of the electronic signature

The time stamping of an electronic document is a mechanism used to prove electronic evidence, indicating that a series of data have existed at a given time and have not been altered since the time the document was signed.

That is,

It is a method that guarantees the integrity of the electronic signature, that it has been carried out at a given time without being able to be modified and also recording the specific date and time of the moment of the signature.

Therefore, time stamping provides an extra value to the electronic signature due to the amount of non-alterable data and information produced at the time of its creation, guaranteeing its veracity.

When and why use it

There are numerous reasons that make the time stamp a great solution for companies. Among them, to guarantee the security of information, to improve management and access to it, and to react quickly to theft or malicious modification of information.

Its advantages are very clear on e-commerce. This method, by the amount of information and veracity that certifies, gives more confidence to users, giving answers to questions such as:

When was an invoice or order issued? Who was responsible for the signature and when? Can I file a claim for non-payment? How do I prove that an invoice has been paid and since when?

All these answers are provided by the time stamp, serving as evidence in case of litigation, ensuring confidence in the operations.

We can also apply it in the signing of service contracts and in proceedings with the Public Administration, avoiding penalties for failure to meet deadlines and being useful in case of litigation for non-payment.

time stamping

Who issues it? The TSA

As we have pointed out throughout the post, the time stamp shows the exact date and time at which an operation was carried out with a series of electronic data, with the legal consequences this has for the parties involved.

For this reason, it cannot be provided by one of the parties, as it could be manipulated and would not guarantee confidence in the data recorded. Therefore, a time stamp must be provided by a trusted third party, known as a Time Stamp Authority (TSA).

A Time Stamp Authority is a trusted certification service provider whose service is based on offering official time stamps with full legal guarantees.

They are totally impartial to the interests of the operation or transaction being carried out. In Europe, these third parties are legally defined as Time Stamp Service Providers, or Time Stamp Authority.

How to get a time stamp?

It is important to have a time stamp that guarantees the veracity of the electronic signature. And, as we have just seen, this time stamp must be issued by a TSA. But how can this be done? Follow three simple steps:

  1. When a person signs a document, they request a time stamp from the TSA.
  2. The TSA returns a time stamp containing the hash, date and time at which the document was stamped, including the electronic signature data.
  3. The TSA stores all issued stamps in case they are required in the future.

    This ensures the integrity of the electronic evidence collected during the electronic signature process.

    At Ivnosys we offer our time stamping service, the ideal complement to guarantee the security of digital documents. We ensure the full legal validity and no alteration and/or manipulation of the information, acting as a Qualified Trust Service Provider, complying with the maximum legal rank required by eIDAS and Third Party Trust Regulations.

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