Some might call it an application platform, an application framework or even a cloud operating system. We think of Cornerstone platform as a cloud based ecosystem because it has a wide variety of modules covering several areas of an organization´s needs. In addition, custom modules can be built to cover even more. The platform provides the basic access logic, business logic, the storage, the data flow, search engine, the sharing and the integration that you need to model your business needs.
A complete system for the organization
With an emphasis on media content and business logic within the social sector and small businesses, Cornerstone is suited to perform the tasks typically solved by Content Management Systems (CMS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. In traditional CMS systems, the article is the fundamental object that most other things seem to revolve around. In business systems, the people and the organizations are the objects that are at the center of the action. Cornerstone has both of these at its core so that articles and rich media can be used everywhere. Every time you enter a person as a customer, donor, recipient, member, etc. you register basic personal information only once. Therefore, there is no duplication and you get powerful searches across all business modules of the platform.
Open and standardized underlying technologies
At the core of Cornerstone is a LAMP stack with Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP - world’s most widely used and proven technologies that run some of the most advanced and trafficked platforms and websites. In addition, Cornerstone also takes advantage of these popular and proven libraries and projects: VueJS, jQuery, CKeditor, Zend framework, Smarty, PDO, GraphQL, Apache Solr and Nginx.
Cornerstone’s base architecture is significant because it does not rely on any single programming language or component. Most of the underlying technologies are interchangeable which allows Cornerstone to evolve and utilize the best current practices.
Cornerstone is designed and built as an object oriented framework. Cornerstone follows the MVC architectural pattern. Our platform's core provides a set of reusable classes which become the foundation for the modules. Modules (you might call them apps) provide the end user functionality which is served through individual windows. These can be flexibly placed using drag & drop and made available through a sophisticated access control layer.
We build Cornerstone with scalability in mind for both traffic and data volume. Cornerstone is a multi-tenant system, as a result one deployment and code base is serving all clients. This makes it easy for frequent upgrades and improvements that all clients benefit from immediately. Clients are always using the latest version of the platform.
Safe and secure cloud storage
Cornerstone is hosted on AWS (Amazon Web Services), the world´s leading cloud services provider. We utilize multi-factor authentication and high level encryption on all personal information stored. Your personal information is protected by a double-layered security mechanism including access control and privacy safety. Cornerstone has received sizable grants from the Norwegian Research Council for its groundbreaking developments in secure safe storage, and the handling of privacy data. We comply with international regulations on privacy in the EU and the USA, because AWS adheres to the EU US Privacy Shield.
Through Amazon cloud services, we have set up a virtual server grid of balanced application and database servers. Every node in the infrastructure can handle a hit for any of the websites or applications. This makes Cornerstone behave gracefully at peak loads, and it also makes it easy to quickly add more servers as the average load grows. Cornerstone scaling doesn’t require human assistance and is performed automatically based on load metrics.
Because Cornerstone is built in the cloud we have unlimited storage available. Cornerstone will never run out of disk space.
Cloud technologies are always more reliable than bare metal hosting. On the rare occasion that one of the servers in the grid needs to be replaced or upgraded, what previously took two hours or more now takes less than two minutes. With balanced servers, the system will not take any downtime at all. All vitals of the system are set up with alarms which immediately notify the Cornerstone response team by SMS and email.
For a quick response, in case of a major failure, the system is hosted with elastic IPs.
All files stored in Cornerstone are automatically backed up with lifecycle rules in the Amazon S3 file system. We keep old versions of files and deleted files for 1 year. In addition, we make a full copy of the database every 24 hours and store multiple copies securely for a period of time, considering relevant privacy legislation.
The Cornerstone Platform comes fully hosted, and with our state-of-the-art themes system, you can style all available functionality any way you want. You can private label Cornerstone and host it yourself, but please note that this will only make sense for very high volume users or for users with very specific data security requirements.
Cornerstone comes with a wide variety of both media and business modules, but it is possible to make custom modules that will blend in with the rest of the platform.
Our own own staff communicates daily in four different languages. Multilingual support has been at the roots of Cornerstone from the start.
- Supports all character sets through unicode
- Language editing tools are built-in
- Search and sort in all character sets
- Sophisticated grammar control to handle singual/plural translations well
- Supports all writing directions
A room is a collection of integrated modules accessed by a set of users. When Cornerstone is deployed at a network level, like a nationwide organisation with local groups, the head of the network can effectively duplicate the room of an existing local group creating a complete set of communicative and administrative tools for a newly founded local group. This could include a website, a membership management platform, a newsletter system, fundraising tools and more. This drastically lowers the thresholds of efforts required to start new entities, and gives you the flexibility and adaptability you need.
Although our eco-system of modules covers a broad spectrum of needs, every client is unique and the powerful tagging mechanism deployed accross all modules of our platform allows for further personalization. Tags can be used to create segments of people, categorize articles for a website, assign locations to events, and much more. You can tag the following Cornerstone objects: Articles, Members, Causes, Documents, Products, Events, Images, Image galleries, Videos, and Audio files.
Tags can be a simple text, which can be grouped into categories. You can also tag objects with a location to display them on a map, with persons, or even with groups.
The subscription mechanism allows for sharing of objects between the rooms.
Articles and calendar - Considering the example of a nation wide organisation with local groups, the organisation creating an article or an event at the national level is able to push it to all the local group's websites. Vis-versas, a local group is able to write an article that should be featured at a national level. Tags can be used to control the spreading of articles.
Fundraising - With fundraising projects subscriptions, you can have several portals featuring each other's projects. Gather all the projects related to a particular cause in an own portal, and use it to reach out to a particular supporter group. Informations related to donations and donors are synchronised between all the portals.
The strenght of a portal like Cornerstone is that the modules are built with full awereness of each other. For example, reach out to your most faithful supporters by SMS for a pressing need, discover members that are dropping their support, or express your greatfulness and engage with those that have been partners on the long run. The set of modules we provide covers a broad range of needs in the fields of communication and administration. It is common for our clients to replace 3-5 different systems by our integrated solution. Not only it increases efficency, but it lowers human mistakes in the manual synchronization of these systems. Giving you access to more data about your audience allowing you to target better your communication efforts.
Security & Privacy
When working with communication and administration, data security is of critical importance to our clients. It is also a requirement from many governments when storing personal information. Your communication with our sever is encrypted from end to end, as well as the data stored on our end. We also give you multiple levels of access control. The granular role based security system gives you control over who gets access to what.
- Multi-level security system
- SSL encrypted communication, sign-up and sign-in
- Access control layer
- Privacy control layer
- High encryption storage
- two-factor authentication (SMS)
We received a grant from the norwegian government, approved by the Research Council of Norway to make a state-of-the-art solution for improved security, safety and privacy in large, distributed organizations.
Cornerstone complies with the US-EU Safe Harbor standard developed by the US Department of Commerce.