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Patricia Müller

Cybersecurity in the cloud with Lego logic

Using a clever approach, simplyblock has developed a concept that increases the security of data in cloud services. It even makes it possible to restore data to its most recent state after a ransomware attack, for example. In an interview, employee Christoph Engelbert explains the innovation behind the company, which was recently launched in the incubator.

"Imagine building a house out of Lego bricks, but instead of bricks, we use storage drives. If you want to save something, we split the file and distribute the data snippets on these Lego bricks.” This is how Christoph Engelbert, responsible for technical marketing and developer advocacy, begins his description of simplyblock's solution. The technical aspect behind this analogy is fascinating: if a Lego brick disappears, simplyblock can reconstruct the information it contained. How? The other blocks contain recovery information that makes it possible to recalculate the missing piece. In the case of unwanted data encryption, such as by a Trojan, so-called snapshots are used to determine what is wrong. This can be compared to a photograph. The photo shows how the Lego house has changed over time. These snapshots can be used to easily identify what is wrong and to retrieve the contents of the missing block. This approach makes it possible to keep the vulnerable area of a storage solution consistently small and improve data security.

This, or something similar, could be used to describe a CISPA-backed startup's solution to a less tech-savvy person: Simplyblock. The team around founders Robert Pankow (CEO) and Michael Schmidt (CTO) is developing new cybersecurity features as part of its incubation at CISPA to ensure data resiliency, especially in the event of ransomware attacks. While backups are often used after a successful ransomware attack, simplyblock has developed a concept that allows users to restore the uncompromised state prior to encryption.

Who should be interested in simplyblock and why?

Simplyblock is aimed at companies that provide cloud-based storage services that require frequent reads and writes per second. It is beneficial for databases that handle significant traffic. Why should they? Because it offers cost efficiency, predictable latency and essential features like encryption, compression and snapshot recovery to increase data security.

What would be a big success for simplyblock?

An important milestone for simplyblock is to reach General Availability (GA) by the end of April and to introduce the software to customers in productive operation. Success also means to acquire 15 to 20 smaller customers by the end of the year to gain insight into support requirements and to be efficiently prepared for larger customers.

Were there any setbacks and how did you overcome them?

Looking back on the setbacks, simplyblock has learned valuable lessons. Initially, a lack of focus led to trying to address all needs, from cloud, to cross-cloud, to on-premises, to hybrid solutions. However, the team realized the importance of focus and prioritization, and ended up focusing on AWS and database applications before looking to expand further.


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"We found CISPA through StartUpSecure program and decided to join because of CISPA's internationally recognized expertise in cybersecurity and very strong startup acceleration ecosystem. We believe that CISPA are the best partners for any company that is building cybersecurity-related products in Germany."

Robert Pankow
Co-Founder & CEO | simplyblock