GlobalSign helps leading South African contract management provider introduce trusted digital certificates to the region

How digital signature certificates are helping Johannesburg’s Realyst conquer new highly-regulated markets

Posted 27 May 2020 by Gary Flood

A respected software and consulting brand in its native Republic of South Africa, Johannesburg-headquartered Realyst services a wide range of customers in finance, retail, manufacturing and agriculture with contract management software and services.

If you’re not familiar with the term, contract management is the process of creating, implementing and managing your company contracts to increase performance and reduce legal and financial risk. These contracts can be made with employees, suppliers, vendors or partners of the organisation. A contract management system (CMS) as offered by the company includes software as well as processes to streamline the contract management cycle.

So, a very useful business support tool—and given that its particular mission is to help these valued customers maintain compliance and keep up with industry regulations surrounding data privacy and authentication, the firm’s leadership is only interested in high-quality digital certificate solutions.

This came to the fore just under five years back, when the need for a proven certificate authority to provide secure digital signatures was identified by the CEO. Originally, this took the form of its own digital signature tool to help its customers successfully digitise the contract process. After seeing success of the signature tool combined with its own contract management software, the company’s leadership spotted a great market opportunity: demand for a stand-alone digital signature tool.

This kicked off with a very promising project with a great telecom client. Soon, however, the organisation informed the team that any resulting solution would have to be fully backed by digital certificates, given the strict compliance needs of its target customers: financial services institutions.

Clearly, then, to get this great new business stream online Realyst would need to be able to offer a higher level of encryption and authentication when documents are signed. The problem: no suitable local candidate was available, so a search of the global marketplace needed to be carried out.

‘It was a no-brainer to move forward with GlobalSign’

Luckily, that search was successful, as digital signing certificate software from GlobalSign means the company is able to bring high assurance, publicly trusted digital signatures to the market much quicker than would have been possible otherwise. 

The solution is also technically very sound. Through one simple REST API, Realyst is able to integrate GlobalSign’s digital signing service (DSS) into existing software, while all supporting cryptographic components – including signing certificates, key management, timestamping server, and OCSP or CRL service – get conveniently provided in one API call.

That translates to minimal development or overhead needed and no on-premise hardware to manage, notes the company’s Associate Product Manager, Jennifer Harris. “Within a very short timeframe we were able to show our client what the solution would look like. 

“It was a no-brainer to move forward from there.” Now that Realyst can expand its services into any highly regulated new market which requires a stronger level of security and assurance than is typically associated with digital signatures, her team is able to differentiate its value proposition from competitors very easily, Harris adds.

GlobalSign is the leading provider of trusted identity and security solutions enabling businesses, large enterprises, cloud service providers and IoT innovators around the world to secure online communications, manage millions of verified digital identities and automate authentication and encryption. Its high-scale Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and identity solutions support the billions of services, devices, people and things comprising the Internet of Everything (IoE). Its digital signatures help or meet the requirements of many national and industry-specific regulations regarding the legal acceptance of electronic signatures in place of wet ink signatures, including but not limited to:

  • eIDAS (advanced & qualified e-signatures, eSeals) 
  • UN Model Electronic Signature Law
  • And Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX).