Ensure document legitimacy and evidence in electronic archives

One of the most crucial systems in any digitization process is electronic storage. However, in comparison to the old paper archiving method, how to assure the legality and evidence of documents when archiving brings new challenges.

  1. The risks of electronic document storage

Signed, stamped documents can be safely maintained for 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, or even indefinitely in traditional paper archives, assuring legal compliance and evidential value in accordance with current standards.

Switching to electronic storage, on the other hand, raises additional issues and hazards related to the legal worth of documents. Digital signatures, for example, are normally only valid for a period of three to five years. This means that if electronic files are not re-signed or stored in long-term storage solutions after this time, they will lose all value and become nothing more than rubbish files.

The basic digital signature will have a lifecycle that is determined by the digital certificate’s term and will only be used to complete simple electronic transactions with a brief storage period. Basic digital signatures will not ensure technical standards in the case of long-term storage, data integrity, or long-term authentication requirements.

At the same time, because the majority of digital signatures and basic electronic signatures today use the computer’s time source, the digital signature server, the digital signature application server, can interfere with modification, putting the evidence and evidence of documents and electronic messages at risk.

Protecting the content integrity of electronic archives, in addition to the issues of legitimacy and identification, is an issue that requires special attention. Popular archiving formats such as PDF are not designed for archiving and may pose a risk of the document becoming inaccessible for a long time due to technological changes.

2. Important long-term electronic storage solutions

The data transmission must be accompanied with a Timestamp, as specified in Article 30 of Decree 130/2018/ND-CP, to provide the maximum level of dependability and non-repudiation in electronic transactions. Long-term electronic storage has been affected by insufficient implementation and application of legal regulations by users and service providers, resulting in documents that cannot be authenticated in the long run and cannot be proven legally valid when the digital certificate expires or is revoked.

Electronic documents will be able to be put into long-term storage for 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, or indefinitely if a timestamp digital signature is applied from a reliable time source that meets Circular 06/2015/TT-BTTTT, and it will be easy to check the status of digital certificates at the time of signing, regardless of the digital certificate’s term.