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Blockchain: 'Overhyped' buzzword or real-deal enterprise solution?

Lucas Mearian | April 20, 2017
Even so, IT vendors are rolling out blockchain-based capabilities, often in response to high levels of customer interest.

"We do see identity management, however, as a real beneficiary, [since it] can help establish single customer views [and] streamline onboarding," de Crespigny said. "It's a technology paradigm, similar to saying relational databases: there are many different ways to implement it and different strengths and weaknesses to each implementation. Similarly, [that's true] with the different flavors of private and public blockchains."

The real power of blockchain, de Crespigny said, is in public environments such as Bitcoin, but the environment is immature. "It's not to say there aren't benefits within enterprises, particularly when they work across legal entities."

 

Decentralization a feature, not a bug

One conundrum facing blockchain adoption is the technology's sheer complexity, which comes from it performing every function without a centralized source of management.

"Blockchain's strength is in creating a decentralized, distributed ledger. If you're in an enterprise environment, in many cases you don't need that decentralization. You can achieve the same objectives in a centralized fashion and it's much easier if you use a single point of trust," Ramzan said.

"That's partly what we're trying to help our customers understand. They understand the benefits of blockchain," Ramzan continued. "They have the why, but they don't necessarily have the understanding of the how or the what. Our goal is to help them make a determination [about whether] this is a better way to achieve their ends."

For many, blockchain's complexity -- stemming from its decentralized structure -- is reason enough to give organizations pause in adopting it.

"It's difficult to understand the way it performs encryption," said Serguei Beloussov, CEO of leading data backup provider Acronis. Beloussov has a PhD in computer science and has co-authored more than 200 U.S. technology patents.

"I have several very smart computer scientists who tell me it's major overkill. And, if it's overkill, then it's secure but it's a way of securing something that's unecessary," Beloussov said in an interview. "Then I have several computer scientists who tell me it's really not secure -- they believe you can penetrate it."

For his part, Beloussov believes blockchain - while extremely complex, is by its very nature secure.

 

Acronis embraces blockchain

In February, Acronis for the first time introduced blockchain technology in its True Image 2017 data backup software. The blockchain platform is also used as a data certification and verification element in True Image's ASign application -- an electronic document signing or notary service.

Within a couple of months, Acronis also plans to introduce blockchain for data verification in its Acronis Backup 12 Advanced, its core backup product for small and mid-sized businesses.

Currently, the company is running a public beta test on Backup 12.

 

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