Blockchain technology began as a validating technology for bitcoin digital currency. It created a record of digital events distributed across different participants or entities involved in a transaction. Now blockchain is being pursued to provide global authenticity and security for any type of data and transactions.
The idea behind blockchain is to create a public “ledger” of transactions that are linked chronologically and cannot be deleted or edited. Each record, or blockchain, is time-stamped and verifiable. It ensures data integrity by attributing data to an irrefutable identity, validating all copies of the ledger, ensuring full availability, and providing tamper-proof security.
It’s easy to see why blockchain technology would attract interest from major mainstream industries like healthcare and finance. Both sectors collect and share highly sensitive personal information, which makes them 1) liable for protecting patient, customer, and investor data under various compliance laws, and 2) prime targets for cybercriminals. Indeed, healthcare and finance are the top sectors targeted by ransomware attackers, who use malware to seize and hold data hostage in return for a payment (typically in bitcoin).
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) sponsored a contest soliciting ideas for how to use blockchain technology to ensure the safe exchange of electronic health data. Meanwhile, Deloitte reports that a number of blockchain startups are working on applications for financial services companies to:
- Make crypto-currencies available to customers and support crypto-currency-related financial services.
- Track and settle digital and mainstream financial assets in a cryptographically secure environment.
- Streamline transaction processes to reduce complexity and the number of intermediaries.
But blockchain technology has many more potential uses across numerous industries and government functions, including real estate, law enforcement, and the judicial system.
A Blockchain Prototype
Data protection vendor Acronis put into motion a strategic initiative to develop applications using blockchain technology, with a dedicated research and development team leading the effort. The result is Acronis Notary, a new commercial software that uses blockchain to provide data authenticity, security, and control.
Acronis Notary is completing testing and will be available to customers soon, and in the meantime, Acronis has provided a demo to introduce the service. This tool shows how blockchain verifies and protects data with timestamps and certificates of authenticity, allowing service provider partners and end-user customers to become more familiar with the brand new technology.
Learn more about the full line of Acronis data protection products and services for businesses here.