Are we set for the Blockchain Age in Data Storage?

Although Blockchain came into the limelight with the cryptocurrency bitcoin, in the last year or so, companies have become increasingly aware of how Blockchain can bring about transformation across industries. With the cloud storage market expected to grow to $88.91 billion by 2022, the decentralized storage industry is rapidly gaining popularity, and Blockchain will be critical to its success. Since data storage – especially critical financial data – is always vulnerable to security breaches, migrating data from private data centers onto public Blockchains can help enterprises decentralize storage, thereby enhancing availability, scalability, and security of data.

Current Challenges:

It is not hard to imagine the ever-increasing volume of financial data that is being generated. Data, which will also then have to be managed, stored and analyzed for effective business decision-making. Connected devices, mobile apps, and the increasing need to share data across businesses are all contributing to the increasing demand for storage that is highly available, scalable, and secure. Businesses that are looking to launch new, data-driven applications face a sea of challenges with respect to time, effort, and management to provision new datasets and databases.

Traditional cloud storage networks are also known to come with latency challenges. Since most of the time, the data that gets stored in a data center will not be in the same location as the business, delays in delivery are the norm – and that doesn’t work well in the financial context where delays of milliseconds can cause huge losses. What’s more, the need for large databases also necessitates the need for managing large data centers, that require frequent temperature control, periodic updating, and rigorous upkeep -all expensive.

In addition, the road towards a richer, more data-centric way of working is further challenged by a global phenomenon of data breaches from centralized data centers. The outcome is worrisome – the growing storage needs of businesses are driving extraordinarily large volumes of data to be stored in centralized databases. This creates risk at a scale never seen before. This necessitates the need for de-centralizing data storage, that can not only minimize the risk of a complete shutdown but also ensure efficiency and transparency of data storage.

The Benefits of Decentralized Storage:

As most current cloud-based databases are highly centralized, they are tempting targets for data breaches. Cloud storage companies do have several mechanisms in place to avoid the loss of data, such as dispersing duplicate files across various data centers to avoid a breach. That said, decentralizing storage would more or less eliminate the risk and repercussions of disruptions. Although current networks need to evolve in order to accommodate such decentralized storage infrastructure, the day is not far when data will be supported by a network of decentralized nodes in a more user-friendly and cost-effective manner than the current, central database solutions.

Decentralized storage works by distributing the data across a network of nodes, thereby reducing the strain on a single node or database. Since it utilizes geographically distributed nodes, decentralized storage can avert such catastrophes and ensure the company’s data is always protected. As data is stored across hundreds of individual nodes, intelligently distributed across the globe, no single entity can control access – thus improving security and decreasing costs. Any attack or outage at a single point will not result in a domino effect, as other nodes in other locations will continue to function without interruption. The distributed nature of these nodes also makes decentralized storage highly scalable, as companies can leverage the power of the network and achieve better up-time.

The Role of Blockchain:

Although one of the biggest achievements of the Internet era has undoubtedly been cloud data storage, it is already under threat of being replaced by Blockchain storage technology. As the need for decentralized storage becomes more and more relevant, the storage industry is looking to make the most of Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology. Blockchain paves the way for user-centric storage networks, where companies can move data from the current centralized databases to Blockchain data storage, and benefit from a more agile, customizable system. Because storage gets distributed across nodes, companies can enjoy a better speed of retrieval and redundancy by accessing data from the node that is closest to them.

With such attributes that meet the practical demands of storing high volumes of data, Blockchain will partition databases along logical lines that can only be accessed by a decentralized application using a unique key. Such a decentralized network of storage nodes not only reduces latency but also increases the speed by retrieving data in parallel from the nearest and fastest node. And because there are so many geographically dispersed nodes in a network, the reliability and scalability of decentralized storage are greater. What’s more, since the devices in the nodes aren’t owned or controlled by a single vendor but by several individuals, the availability and reliability of data are improved even further.

The Way Forward:

As industries battle issues of the security and confidentiality of data, the evolution of Blockchain has come like a boon. Touted as a technology with the potential to transform every industry, Blockchain could be particularly beneficial in the data storage game.

By improving business efficiency and bringing transparency in how enterprises store business data, Blockchain is poised to offer myriad benefits such as shared control of data, easy auditing, and secure data exchange. While it may take time for Blockchain to become the default choice for businesses looking to meet their ever-increasing storage needs, it won’t be long before the world opts for this secure, efficient, and scalable solution in an increasingly data-starved world. Are you Blockchain ready?

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