One of the main concerns when automating business processes is the avoidance of media discontinuities and the consistent management of documents in electronic form. In many processes this is only possible if it can be guaranteed, that the documents are authentic and have not been changed. This is possible by electronically signing documents.
The process is based on a certification infrastructure managed by a trusted third party, a public certification authority. In Switzerland and Europe, electronic signatures are legally equivalent to handwritten signatures. This has been set up by the legislator to stimulate the development of e-commerce.