The business world has been shaking with excitement about blockchain technology. It has the potential to transform the business landscape for good, and savvy businesses are watching its development carefully. But what is blockchain, and how can your business use it?
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain was originally developed to support Bitcoin by keeping track of coin ownership. Blockchain works like a giant online record book which tracks Bitcoin transactions; it remembers which coins belong to who. What makes blockchain so special is the way in which it does this. The blockchain "record book" is spread across a vast network of computers. When someone sells or buys something with Bitcoin, the transaction is sent to and recorded on all of the computers on the blockchain network.
In the past, data-sensitive transactions like these were protected in one centralized location and surrounded by cybersecurity measures. In contrast, blockchain's radical decentralization is exactly its strength. There's no one entity that decides the validity of a transaction. Rather, the computers on the blockchain must reach a majority agreement about whether a transaction is valid. This makes the blockchain practically impossible to hack. To hack the blockchain, you would need to change records on the majority of blockchain parties rather than just in one location. Seeing as thousands of computers are now participating in the blockchain, this would be incredibly difficult.
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Impact of blockchain
Blockchain was created for Bitcoin's purposes. Now, many visionaries consider blockchain to be more important than Bitcoin itself. This is because blockchain offers a wider reach and more diverse application than the original cryptocurrency. The business world is quickly adapting to this realization; some of the world's largest venture capital firms are investing heavily in blockchain technology, and more are beginning to follow their lead.
Big companies can learn from this development and choose to implement blockchain in their own business processes. Companies are using blockchain in many areas, such as secure financial transfers, data security, and contract management. Some companies are even using blockchain to fuel software development. But there is one application of blockchain that could be especially useful for big companies: cloud services.
Blockchain in cloud services
Although many businesses yearn to migrate their operations to the cloud, doing so can be an extremely tricky process. After all, outsourcing data to the cloud introduces a high level of risk. Data is no longer secure within the organization. The efficiency of the cloud comes hand-in-hand with new levels of vulnerability. This can be a deal breaker for big businesses with a lot to lose from compromised data security.
At the same time, the benefits of migrating to the cloud seem too good to pass up for many businesses. The flexibility of the cloud has expansive benefits. Cloud migration helps reduce IT costs, improve team collaboration, and enable businesses to scale much more easily.
Blockchain has the potential to reconcile these two priorities. It allows businesses to use the cloud in all its efficiency while still protecting data security and confidence.
The blockchain solution
If blockchain powers cloud services, data can be tracked and protected every step of the way. Every change to data, every step it takes while being transported, processed, and categorized, can be recorded and saved on the blockchain. This allows businesses to keep a hawk's eye on their data and ensure that it remains secure.
Blockchain offers other benefits as well. A cloud built on blockchain could theoretically source its computing power at a very low cost. It could use idle, unused computing power from the network of individual blockchain computers to power the cloud. This means that blockchain could offer the computing power of the whole Internet. This would provide enormous amounts of power at a much lower cost than current cloud providers can offer. Neither the users of the cloud nor the individual providers would have to design an infrastructure for the exchange—it would be smooth and efficient.
Google is already moving to take advantage of this improved data security, efficiency, and cheap computing power. This move promises to give their cloud services an edge over Microsoft and Amazon, helping to propel them to the top of the cloud services industry.
Another company, Storj, is also focusing on the marriage of cloud services and blockchain. Storj seeks to make large data storage cheaper and more secure by distributing data over a decentralized network like blockchain. Some have estimated that this approach could cut data storage costs by up to 90%.
Like Google and Storj, your large business can use blockchain to refine and optimize your cloud services. Blockchain empowers you to harness the efficiency and flexibility of the cloud while improving data security and cutting costs. As blockchain continues to innovate the cloud service space, your business cannot afford to be left behind. It is vital to monitor the expansion of this revolutionary technology and find how your own business can quickly implement it. Don't wait to innovate!
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This is a guest post by Nick Andrew Rojas. Nick is a self-taught serial entrepreneur who has worked with various startups as a business consultant. He's also a journalist focusing on technology, marketing, and social media. He loves meeting new people online and being challenged with new projects. He loves to connect, so reach out on Twitter! @nickarojas.