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Untangling technicalities: digital archiving vs long-term preservation of e-signatures

What happens after the document is signed and sealed electronically? Do you print it? Do you file it away somewhere on our computer or your company server? Will the e-signature you applied last valid forever? If you are asking yourself these sorts of questions, it means that you will most likely appeal very soon to two services related to the life-cycle of a digital document: the digital archiving (with probative value) and the long-term preservation of e-signatures. Although, they both help you take care of your documents after signature, they are often confused, so let’s find out more.

What is digital archiving with probative value?

Digital archiving with probative value refers to the secure storage and possible availability of documents in the event of a dispute. It provides evidence concerning the integrity of the documents at the time of their importation into the archive and during the archiving period.

The digital archiving service and the eligible mechanisms are regulated differently in multiple countries. In Luxembourg, for example, there is a law that specifies the name “digitalisation or conservation service providers” (in French – “prestataires de services de dématérialisation ou de conservation”). So, we recommend you to seek legal counsel and check applicable laws and regulations in the jurisdiction in which a future litigation may take place.

What is long-term preservation of e-signatures?

The long-term preservation of qualified e-signatures refers to the maintenance of signatures and signed documents to ensure their validity for an unlimited period and beyond the period of validity of the signatories’ certificates. Such a service not only guarantees the integrity of the preserved documents, but also their authenticity through the signature that has been applied. The international standard ERS (Evidence Record Syntax) is typically used for the implementation of such a service. This service is regulated under the European eIDAS Regulation and can only be provided by a qualified trust service provider (QTSP).


These two services above are complementary, the later being specifically regulated at European level. LuxTrust works with European partners who are certified to provide a value-added archiving service that complements its long-term signature preservation service offered through our eIDAS trust service hub, COSI.

Should you have any other inquiries regarding the digital archiving with probative value and the long-term signature preservation service, do not hesitate to send us your message here. We will get back to you shortly.



Disclaimer: The above represents LuxTrust’s understanding of the relevant law or regulation and should not be taken, relied on or interpreted as a legal opinion. Customers are encouraged to seek independent legal advice before acting on this information.

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