As the world becomes ever more data-driven, data breaches become more intense and more frequent with data records exposed on an almost daily basis with potentially devastating consequences. Everyone is at risk. Today’s organizations have to shift their focus toward technologies that inherently protect and secure data. Enter the Blockchain technology.
The Blockchain technology was introduced as a way to store and send the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. However, it now has the potential to radically secure data ensuring that it is verifiable, auditable, and tamper-proof.
Blockchain effectively cuts out the middle-man
At its core, Blockchain technology is not stored on a central database; instead, it’s stored in a “distributed ledger of blocks.” As its name suggests, Blockchain is a linked set of records that includes a hash-based data structure used in distributed systems for efficient data verification that links it directly to the previous block, a timestamp for authorship and the transaction data. These blocks are then distributed across the entire network, with each node, holding a complete copy of the ledger.
The Blockchain technology eliminates a single point of failure, even if several nodes were disabled, it would not result in any data loss. You no longer have to engage a third-party vendor or service provider when you can depend on the Blockchain decentralized, inflexible ledger.
Blockchain offers reliable, independent data verification.
Data held in traditional networks and single storage repositories are vulnerable to insider-threats and other insidious cyber-attacks. In contrast, data recorded in Blockchain technology is inherently inflexible; thus, it can not be changed retroactively without the changes occurring in all of the all subsequent blocks and a consensus of the network majority. Utilizing decentralized, serialized data verified with cryptographic proofs would remove any doubt about the integrity of the data.
Public vs. Private
The most well-known examples of public Blockchains include Bitcoin and Ethereum. They are open, transparent, distributed ledgers, that allows anyone to participate in the network as either anonymous or pseudonymous participants.
Public Blockchains are dependant upon the number of participants for its success and encourages greater public participation through an incentivization mechanism known as a “miners fee.” However, to reap the reward, participants in the network must solve a “proof of work” algorithm or in other words a very very complex cryptographic problem. According to Block Explorer, “the probability of solving one of these proofs of work complex math problems on the underlying Bitcoin Blockchain was about 1 in 5.8 trillion in February 2019.”
The participant who solves the problem first will reap the reward and more importantly, the right to create the next block. Sounds straightforward, but there is a considerable drawback-In order to solve this complicated math problem requires a substantial amount of computational power; hence, limiting the scalability.
In a private Blockchain, you continue to benefit from a decentralized peer-to-peer network; however, to access a private Blockchain, users must authenticate their identity to gain access privileges to restricted transactions. Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric is a prime example of a private blockchain designed for the enterprise. It is limited to only entities participating in particular transactions to have access to it. Outsiders not only have zero access, but they also do not have knowledge of the transactions. In addition to enhanced security, the transactional throughput magnitude is more significant than in public Blockchains allowing it to be faster and more scalable.
The interest from large enterprises in private Blockchains is evolving at quite an alarming pace, creating paths for the development of additional private Blockchains that could introduce the Blockchain into use-cases not yet discovered.
The Blockchain makes attacking the data virtually impossible.
To successfully attack the Blockchain, the attacker(s) would not only have to solve the complicated math problems against incredible odds, but they would have to replicate them across the entire network, concurrently. The unimaginable cost of coordinating an attack of this magnitude would almost certainly outweigh any benefits gained.
The complex structure of the Blockchain technology provides one of the most innovative tools to protect our data as we head into the Fourth Technical Revolution. Blockchain introduces a level of trust that could be leveraged as a core technology for highly regulated industries including Space Travel; Health Care; Financial Markets; Supply Chains; Presidential Voting and The Internet of Things (IoT) networks to name a few.