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The Blockchain and Your Data Safety
By Tony Drewitt, General Manager, Australia & New Zealand, Acronis
The increasing ubiquity of digital and cloud storage has raised a number of questions – namely, how secure is the actual data being stored? In the last couple of years, we’ve seen numerous high-profile incidents in which companies and individuals alike have had their private data compromised and publicly released.
That’s concerning enough in itself, but one issue that’s been less widely discussed is the idea that stored data might not be leaked, but instead deliberately tampered with for any number of nefarious reasons – a concerning idea, particularly in an era where electronic records are widely admissible as legal evidence, and unwanted modifications are not necessarily traceable.
To combat this possibility, an increasing number of businesses are incorporating Blockchain into their disaster recovery plans for backup data. Perhaps the best-known example of Blockchain in action has come via bitcoins, the crypto currency for which the core technology was originally developed. For every bitcoin in existence, there is a lengthy “chain” of data attached, documenting each and every transaction that has occurred using that particular Bitcoin.
The Application Of Blockchain To Data Storage Operates On Very Similar Principles, Though The Execution Is Different
Though this data can’t be used to specifically identify previous owners of the bitcoin, it does maintain an unmodifiable ledger which is used as an anti-fraud and transaction verification measure.
In essence, the application of blockchain to data storage operates on very similar principles, though the execution is different. Blockchain provides an additional layer of security, but is not an end-to-end security program in and itself. In layman’s terms, Blockchain timestamps and watermarks data, effectively acting as a time capsule on a particular version of data. Additional modifications authorised or otherwise would in turn create a new timestamp and watermark, making it clear that something had been altered.
Currently the technology is considered incorruptible, which makes it a powerful tool for digital forensics – so if it is discovered that a backup has been tampered with, companies are able to know immediately, and take steps to adjust their disaster recovery plans accordingly.
Blockchain is already being adopted across a wide range of industries, especially in banking and finance. There are also suggestions that it could be used as a means of piracy prevention and proper royalty payment in the music industry, by adopting a Bitcoin-esque approach to individual music files, though this remains experimental.
Though the full potential and uses of the technology still remain to be seen, it seems likely that we will see an increased adoption of Blockchain technology as part of corporate security strategies, possibly eventually becoming standardised, in a similar manner to the way antivirus technology saw mainstream adoption in the mid-1990s. In a world where digital security is all too often compromised, investing in better means of data protection is increasingly important for your business – and further down the line, it’s entirely possible we’ll see some form of widespread implementation of Blockchain at a consumer level, too.Founded in 2003, Acronis delivers best-of-breed hybrid cloud data protection through its backup, disaster recovery, and secure file sync and share solutions. The company is presently headquartered in Burlington, U.S.