App for business users lets you share sensitive documents -- then they disappear

Confide's technology is screenshot-proof and uses end-to-end encryption.

Confide 3.0

Confide 3.0

Sharing secrets is nothing new in the business world, but a young startup is hoping to change how professionals do it.

Emails and most other digital communications have a nasty habit of lingering, as the Sony hacks recently proved, leaving little besides face-to-face conversations as an untraceable alternative. Confide, however, has created a Snapchat-style app for the enterprise world, and the technology just got a key update.

The latest version of the company's namesake app, released on Wednesday for Android and iOS, lets users share sensitive documents and photos using a patent-pending and screen shot-proof process including end-to-end encryption. Once the item has been viewed, it disappears forever.

"The minute you hit send, the message gets encrypted -- not even we could read it," said Jon Brod, Confide cofounder and president.

In order to view a message, the recipient must have a unique key residing in their phone that's obtained by downloading Confide. (If they're not already users of the free app, they'll be prompted to download it.) Once that key is present, the message gets decrypted.

But that's not the only privacy-ensuring mechanism. The message's content also appears covered or blurred until the recipient waves their finger down the screen in a "wand" motion, causing the app to unveil a sliver of content at a time, Brod said.

If the viewer of the message tries to take a screen shot, at most a single sliver of the content can be captured. Just making that attempt gets the viewer kicked out of the message, and an alert is sent to both parties notifying them that a screen shot was attempted.

"Screen shots are the enemy of the ephemeral," Brod said.

The Confide app was first launched about a year ago, but it wasn't until this 3.0 update that it added the ability to share photos and documents, which can be attached from Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive and other document-storage services. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF formats are all supported.

Confide is currently free, but a premium version with additional enterprise-oriented features is on the way, Brod said, including support for corporate address books and distribution lists. Pricing is not yet set, but will be on a per-user, per-month basis.

"Hundreds and hundreds" of people have already signed up to participate in the premium version's invitation-only beta, Brod said, representing 14 different countries and 25 industry categories.

The existing version of the app is now used in more than 130 countries and localized in 17 languages; half its usage is international.

"This is truly a need, not just with respect to countries and territories but industries," he said. "The effects of the Sony hacks are such that there are executives in boardrooms around the world rethinking their digital communication strategies."

A desktop version is also on the way later this year, Brod added.

Of course, it must be noted that Snapchat was hacked, despite its apparently privacy-preserving focus. Whether fears of a similar attack on Confide's technology cause professionals to hesitate remains to be seen.

There's also the possibility that users not already familiar with Snapchat-style technology, which tends to be embraced by teens and young adults, will be less inclined to adopt it in their professional lives, said IDC analyst Amy Konary.

Still, "it could fill a need," she said, "particularly in heavily regulated industries."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags mobilesoftwaremobile applicationsapplicationsConfide

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?