Data Management in the Digital Age Using Blockchains
In today’s world, decisions in an organization are driven by data. However, the amount of data generated from various sources is massive and unless organizations have efficient data management, this can negatively affect corporate decision making. In order to make the right corporate decisions, not only does this data need to be efficiently integrated but the integrity of the data too must be maintained to improve its trustworthiness.
One problem that accompanies the digital age is that while data management technology has improved by leaps and bounds; the vulnerability of such platforms has also increased. Organizations are going to great lengths to protect their sensitive data and at the same time, unauthorized individuals and entities too are not letting any stone unturned to compromise its integrity. In this scenario, traditional data management lags behind in maintaining the security, veracity and integrity of data. This demands cutting-edge technology solutions that can protect sensitive data while making it incorruptible.
Blockchain is one such that has rapidly emerged as a disruptive technology in today’s digital age to meet this requirement.
Though the biggest use case of blockchain by far is bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, for which the technology provides a verifiable and globally distributed ledger of transactions, we have now started witnessing incorporation in different fields and applications where data security is of utmost importance.
How does blockchain augment data management?
In order to understand how blockchain can enhance data management, it is desirable to understand what blockchain is.
Blockchain makes use of advanced hashing and cryptography to create a chain of transactions that cannot be altered, and can be validated by participants and shared by all. Each block contains recent transactions and data that are encrypted, and the next block contains the validation of the previous block. This means that blockchain transactions are validated on the network, are traceable, shared, and hence secure.
Knowing this, we can now understand how blockchain can augment data management. In traditional data management, a client who has account permissions can change entries that are stored on a centralized database or server. Whenever a user accesses a database using their computer, he will get only the updated version of the database entry without gaining complete transparency into the change history. A database administrator has the control of the database and has the central authority to assign access permissions.
However, blockchain works in a different way. Each participant maintains, calculates and updates new entries into the database. Blockchains can store data and establish permission to modify them through smart contracts performed by distributed virtual machines. These smart contracts allow platform operators to define complex rules. All nodes in the network come together to ensure that the data transaction is checked against these rules and are coming to the same conclusions, thereby providing in-built security for the network.
This feature of blockchain gives it numerous advantages over traditional data management. Here are a few advantages it provides:
Blockchains are distributed systems with several copies contrary to traditional data management’s one master record on the central server. Even though logically they can be seen as one central database, implementation is distributed. This, in combination with cryptography and consensus mechanisms, facilitates building trust within a network without a 'centralized hub'.
Secure and tamper-proof
The utilization of encryption and cryptography makes blockchain information secure and tamper-proof. Furthermore, due to the distributed nature of blockchains, it eliminates the vulnerability of a centralized system where a person or entity gaining access to the data can tamper with it.
Blockchains offer the possibility to build trust within the system and make the transaction log 'immutable', which essentially means that it not only contains the information that is relevant now, but also the complete history of the transaction. This audit feature can facilitate financially or legally relevant transactions in a large distributed network, where members don't know and don't trust each other.
Durability and robustness
Blockchain technology is like the Internet in that it has a built-in robustness. By storing blocks of information that are identical across its network, the blockchain cannot be controlled by any single entity and has no single point of failure.
Blockchain technology is something that is truly utilized for its transparency across all nodes. Yet, confidentiality too can be achieved with an additional level of cryptography. A permissioned blockchain can be write and read-controlled, and a protocol or network can be set up such that only the participants with permissions can write and read the database.
The consequence of these differences and advantages makes blockchain technology based data management well-suited as a system of record for certain fields such as finance and healthcare where data should be maintained in a secure, immutable and traceable way.
Hence, if data security, integrity and transparency is your organization’s primary concern in this digital era, blockchain technology is something you should consider implementing for your data management systems.
Microland - Your technology partner for data management in the digital age
Microland provides comprehensive consulting and data management solutions that are built on blockchain technology to ensure the security and integrity of your data assets.
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