Connecting Software | Deep Analysis | Vendor Vignettes

Connecting Software


Founded 2010 | HQ Denver, CO | 40 employees (approx.) | <10M revenue (est.)

Connecting Software’s product, CB Blockchain Seal, is a novel, low-cost, and innovative way to add distributed trust and immutability to your existing file systems and applications using blockchain. We have been researching the use of blockchain in information management for over four years, and in our analysis this is the first of its kind.


The Company

Connecting Software was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The firm is led by its founder, Thomas Berndorfer, and employs around 40 people. We estimate its revenue to be <$10 million.

Connecting Software is best known for its Connect Bridge integration platform, which allows developers to bypass the need to use software APIs and instead write simple SQL commands. These are translated by Connect Bridge into API calls. This report focuses on the CB Blockchain Seal for SharePoint, which had its first full general availability and free trial version launch earlier this year.

The Technology

CB Blockchain Seal is a web application that provides the ability to secure documents stored in common systems such as Microsoft SharePoint and Salesforce via a blockchain. A newcomer to the market, Blockchain Seal provides simple to use, out-of-the-box blockchain functionality to any document or file management system.

Blockchain Seal is a small footprint integration that will typically run on-premises within the chosen applications (for example SharePoint) to create hashes and seals. These hashes are then passed to the CB Digital Port of Trust, an external brokering service. Here the hashes are validated and written to one or more blockchains. Important to note here is that the file itself remains in its storage location: the file is not moved to the blockchain, only its associated cryptographic hash is. Once the file’s hash is written to a blockchain, the document can be verified using the CB Blockchain Seal Verifier. So, there are in essence three elements to CB Blockchain Seal: the installed application, the external broker, and the verifying application (see Figure 1).

Currently, the external elements are hosted in the Microsoft Azure Cloud, but they could be deployed in any commercial cloud. The blockchain system used today is either Ethereum or Bitcoin. Finally, it is worth noting that CB Blockchain Seal has been designed as a SaaS, cloud-based application, but the first element of the application can, and often will, be installed on-premises to ensure full compliance with necessary data privacy and security regulations.

What stands out for us is the sheer simplicity and pre-built nature of Blockchain Seal. Blockchain applications are typically complex, costly, and difficult to use, but Blockchain Seal can be installed quickly and the back-end complexity is hidden entirely from the user. The sealing application becomes available within the application and can be used by simply dragging and dropping files into a pre-configured folder, or by pushing a single button to seal a file. You can easily seal a file, a group of files, or a folder. There is some nice back-end functionality here too, particularly in the way hashes and verifications are created; a new hash, previous hashes, and timestamps can be bundled together into “super hashes.”

In practice, then, we have a novel, extremely useful, and highly secure add-on function that can be integrated with a range of file systems and business applications. It is useful in the sense that it is easy to automatically notarize and seal important documents and to make them immutable (unchangeable) to meet legal, audit, and regulatory compliance needs. You could do the same using eSignature or digital notarization tools, but the complexity and cost would be prohibitive with such tools in most situations.

In summary, CB Blockchain Seal is a novel, low-cost, and innovative way to add distributed trust and immutability, using blockchain, to your existing and likely legacy file systems and applications. It should again be noted that this product has only recently become generally available. As such, today the system runs on a single instance in Azure. It is capable of running on many instances in a truly distributed fashion, and over time as customers onboard we expect that multiple node route to be the one that Connecting Software takes.

Figure 1
Three Elements of CB Blockchain Seal

Our Opinion

Deep Analysis has been researching the use of blockchain in information management for over four years, and in our analysis this is the first of its kind – and has been a long time coming. Integrating blockchain into ECM, document management, file servers, and in fact any business application that stores files is a logical step to take, but very few vendors have made any effort to do so. This is why we like this product a lot, particularly the sheer simplicity of its end-user functionality.

Advice to Buyers

Any organization that currently uses SharePoint (or similar) and needs to create final, sealed documents and files should take a look at CB Blockchain Seal. Similarly, we highly recommend that existing VARs, vendors, and, potentially, consortiums in the broader ecosystem test this system out and consider partnering and white labeling the functionality.


SOAR Analysis

Strengths

  • Well-established ecosystem partner
  • First to market out-of-the-box blockchain solution

Aspirations

  • Be a leader in expanding the use of blockchain in information management
  • See rapid growth for CB Blockchain Seal over the next few years

Opportunities

  • Adoption by the wider Salesforce and Microsoft ecosystems
  • White labeling by application vendors

Results

  • Launched GA in 2021
  • First clients onboarded