Most people instantly associate blockchain with Bitcoin.
Indeed, blockchain was initially mainly used in the context of digital currencies exchange.
Today, Blockchain technology has a much broader spectrum of use.
It has specific features that make it perfect for improving the reliability of business workflows that involve sensitive documents like contracts, invoices, or quotes.
Users want to exchange these digital assets in a way that all stakeholders know such sensitive assets have not been wrongfully manipulated.
This is where blockchain can come in. You can create a digital invoice signature or, better said, a business document that is digitally sealed with blockchain.
In this blog post, we go through an application that is available to the public, and that enables you to use blockchain to make documents easier to authenticate and transfer to other stakeholders.
Let's start with an example and then consider some practical aspects.
Breaking new ground - an example on the use of blockchain digital seals
Let's follow Alicia Thomber, the Chief Financial Officer of AdventureWorks.
It is her first time using CB Blockchain Seal for SharePoint. As a financial officer, she has spent all her professional life dealing with invoices, receipts, and other financial documents. She also knows her way around Microsoft SharePoint. She is keen to explore what she can do with CB Blockchain Seal for SharePoint, and she has the help of Greg Winston from the IT department.
So, Greg starts by pointing out how she can seal a file. She needs to pick up a Microsoft SharePoint document library or a folder within a library, choose the file type she wants to seal and click a button to make it underway.
Alicia can later verify any documents she sealed:
The second option gives her exceptional flexibility, as it means she can verify documents anywhere, and other stakeholders can do it from anywhere as well.
For now, she decides to explore what she can do in terms of the first option, inside CB Blockchain Seal for SharePoint. Greg explains she can verify all files in a folder, no matter the number of documents inside it, as well as verify a single file.
If all goes according to plan, i.e., no one tampered with the file, a feedback message with the good news will show. When the application is checking a folder, you additionally see the number of files that were verified. Just some more information, but the gist is also that all is good.
What if my document's digital seal is broken?
To prove to Alicia that this tool is useful, Greg then makes use of his IT skills. He picks up a contract document, seals it, and verifies it. At first, he gets the expected "green light" which means the contract is good, and no one manipulated it.
He then goes behind the scenes, acting as if he is a hacker (ahem, don't tell anyone!).
He changes the contract's date, which is a sensitive piece of information. He should not be able to change that without anyone knowing. But he does change it just to show what a hacker could easily do. After the contract is changed, nothing in SharePoint exposes the fraud. The "last updated" date is exactly as it was, and the version history does not show any changes.
Fortunately, CB Blockchain Seal for SharePoint is not easily fooled, and when he clicks verify, he can see the file was altered.
My Sensitive Information Going to the Blockchain?
Alicia is very impressed with this demonstration! She could have been tricked into trusting a forged contract if it was not for CB Blockchain Seal for SharePoint. An excellent fraud detection tool!
This is the primary function of CB Blockchain Seal for SharePoint, yet Alicia finds she can do a bit more with it:
- View statistics of sealing and verification
- View detailed logs
Alicia also learns from Greg that CB Blockchain Seal for SharePoint can connect to more than one SharePoint if needed.
- User friendly
Alicia still has one thing that worries her: Blockchain. She knows that CB Blockchain Seal for SharePoint uses it. She is all in favor of using state-of-the-art technology, except if it involves having sensitive financial information flying around the web. Greg points out to Alicia that is not the case: the only thing that leaves the network is a digital fingerprint of each sealed file, never the file itself. The files remain safe in their
original environment. This is a crucial point in terms of regulatory compliance: as the file stays in the original location, this solution is GDPR-compliant and compliant with other regulations as well (CCPA, HIPAA, SOX, New York’s SHIELD act).
ROI, Pricing, and Costs
Using an out-of-the-box solution such as CB Blockchain Seal for SharePoint means there is no never-ending project with a never-ending budget. It makes this state-of-the-art technology available at only a fraction of the cost Alicia had anticipated.
She is also pleased that running costs are not high. With transaction costs of less than 1 cent, it is an affordable solution with unparalleled ROI.
For Alicia, her favorite aspect of CB Blockchain Seal for SharePoint is that she can now prove contracts, invoices, and other financial documents are authentic and identical to how they were on the sealing date.
She thinks of her upcoming audits and can anticipate how valuable that will be for those audits. For the auditors, having a digital seal on an invoice will work as if it was a digital signature on the invoice - but one that cannot be forged! And the same goes for contracts, receipts, quotes, and all other sensitive financial information.
Now it is your turn! Would you like to see for yourself what CB Blockchain Seals can do for you?
Why don't you start by talking to our experts? They will be glad to provide you with a personalized free demo or answer any questions you might have.
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About the autor
By Ana Neto, technical advisor at Connecting Software.
“I work as a technical advisor at Connecting Software. I have been a software engineer since 1997, and I love it when ground-breaking solutions are also down-to-earth, like CB Digital Seal for SharePoint. Do you have any questions or comments? I would love to have your feedback!"