What is an electronic signature certificate and how to get one?

What is an electronic signature certificate and how to get one?

Business

The electronic signature certificate is the digital equivalent of the handwritten signature. There are several types that can not all be used to respond to a public market

What is that ?

An electronic signature certificate (ESC) is nominative, issued to a single person and not to a company. The CSE makes it possible both to identify the signatory personally, to guarantee to create digital signature the integrity of the document and to engage the signatory. In practice, it is contained on a smart card or on a USB key.

Several companies, called Certification Authorities or Electronic Certification Service Provider (PSCe), can provide a CSE. There are many different types and they can not all be used to respond to a public contract. For example, the electronic certificate used for the tax return can not be used for public contracts.

The CSE must comply with the  General Security Standard (GSR). CSE compliant with the PRIS V1 repository are no longer valid.

How to obtain an electronic signature certificate?

Qualified RGS signature certificates are marketed by qualified trust service providers.

See the list of qualified electronic certification providers .

Prices vary by provider. Annually, they oscillate between 70 € and 130 € and their validity period is generally 2 or 3 years. The candidate must learn, upstream, about the various existing offers, choose the most technically appropriate and the most financially advantageous.

The time of obtaining from 15 days to a month, it is recommended to get the electronic signature soon enough.

The CSE is delivered by hand to verify the identity of the certificate holder.

Who must hold the electronic signature certificate?

The electronic signature certificate (CSE) is nominative, the person signing must have the power to bind the company. The holder of the ESC must therefore be:

the legal representative of the company (manager, president, etc.),

any other person who has a delegation of authority (to be included in the application file).

If the CSE holder leaves the company, a new one must be obtained.

In summary

Before purchasing an electronic signature certificate (ESC), make sure:

that it conforms to the general security reference system (RGS),

it is appropriate for the response to public procurement,

that it will be provided on time,

that the holder of the CSE does have the power to bind the company.

For more information, see the Guide to Procurement for Dematerialized Public Procurementnew window at the Economic Observatory of Public Procurement.

See also the news article The electronic signature of the offer and the application is no longer required

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