How We Built Balboa as a Secure Slack Alternative

“If you need reliable, secure, effective, and customized communication systems, PKC is your go-to source. PKC has been a game-changing critical success factor for Dreams InDeed.” — Janice Haskell, Vice President Dreams InDeed

The Challenge: Most user-friendly software isn’t safe

Our clients were continually asking us for software solutions that allowed them to collaborate securely and easily. For example, Dreams InDeed, an international NGO, needed to collaborate with its overseas personnel safely and effectively. They loved the user experience of Slack, but Slack’s security didn’t measure up.

The Solution: Amazing, secure software

PKC built Balboa to fill that need. After 8 months of iteration, development, and technology refinement, the PKC engineering team released Balboa publically. This was an incredibly feature-rich and cutting-edge product. It easily outgunned any end-to-end encrypted competition from its competitors.

PKC’s engineers had to solve a few very complex technical problems along the way:

  • Performance: encryption to work in a single-threaded, blocking UI in the browser.
  • Architecture: Migrating from a microservices to a monolith architecture.
  • Usability: Refining the UI/UX of Security so it was accessible to the non-techie user.

The Result

  • 8 months of development, from idea inception to initial release.
  • Only 14 vulnerabilities discovered via Bug Bounty, over the course of 2 years.
  • 50,000+ lines of Clojure and Clojurescript.
  • Public release on Hacker News and Reddit.

After Balboa’s release, PKC partnered with Dreams InDeed for an intense period of field-testing with users to ensure that the product worked in spite of low bandwidth or censorship. This is where PKC shines brighter than its competition, navigating our clients and users through the post-release process of collecting feedback.

And, as of 2018, Dreams InDeed is still using Balboa in some of the world’s hardest places. In fact, you can try out Balboa for yourself!

Need custom software built? Contact us to start a conversation!