In an ever-growing digital world, it has become essential to prove the existence of specific data at a particular date and time, especially in a business dispute.

Associating a date or time with a document, also known as “trusted timestamping,” provides auditable proof of the exact time the record or transaction was created, updated, or deleted. That is why your business must use trusted timestamping to secure documents and transactions.

Business analyst at LAWtrust, Riaan de Villiers, says a document with a trusted timestamp is a formidable piece of evidence that will help settle disputes about the time of a transaction very quickly.

He cites the example of signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with a specific contractor. After some time, it comes to light that the contractor has leaked sensitive information to a third party. During the dispute, the contractor says that the information leaked before the signing of the NDA. However, your organisation’s lawyers argue that the information leaked after the contractor signed the NDA. A trusted time stamp on the document will help you quickly resolve the issue by providing an accurate and verifiable time when the NDA was signed.

“The exact time of a transaction can come in handy in the case of a dispute. Sometimes, however, a normal timestamp obtained from a user’s computer may not be enough. Any user can easily manipulate the time and date on their computer. A trusted third party — timestamp authority — supplies a trusted timestamp and applies a verified and auditable date and time from a Coordinated Universal Time source,” adds de Villiers.

Furthermore, the timestamp is protected from tampering using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) cryptography combined with industry-standard cryptographic hardware. Applications such as Adobe Reader can automatically query the evidence in a timestamp to verify that the timestamp has not been changed maliciously or by accident.

LAWtrust’s Trusted Timestamp Authority is available as a cloud-hosted service or can be deployed on-premises for a wide variety of needs. The service provides independent and irrefutable proof of time for business transactions, e-documents and digital signatures. In addition, the timestamp can independently prove when a digital signature was applied even after the signing certificate has expired.

The LAWtrust TSA Server is an effective, flexible Timestamp Authority server designed for use as an Enterprise TSA or as a high-volume commercial service TSA. It supports RFC 3161 TSP and Microsoft Authenticode timestamp protocols and provides effective timestamp service management with detailed transaction logs with viewing, searching, reporting and archiving options.

It supports robust signing algorithms like RSA and elliptic curve cryptography and also supports all standard hashing algorithms.

The LAWtrust TSA Server is easy to install, configure and manage using secure web browser management screens. It records and archives issued timestamps if required for legislative or regulatory purposes or as evidence to simplify dispute resolution processes.

“To ensure that the information shared in documents is protected, it is crucial for organisations to effectively use trusted timestamping, as this will fortify security measures put in place,” concludes de Villiers.