Big Data and the Blockchain

Big data and blockchain are two buzz words in business at the moment and both have the potential to change the way businesses operate. Together these two areas can help businesses become more secure and make operations more efficient.

Blockchain is increasingly being used in different business sectors, with some parts of the financial industry taking advantage of the technology already, and others are sure to follow. Research from the Harvard Business Review predicted that the blockchain would soon be used to move and store a variety of information, including money, titles, music, art, intellectual property and scientific discoveries, and will be the technology most likely to change the next decade of business.

What is the blockchain?

A blockchain maintains a continuously growing list of records. Digital records are stored together in ‘blocks’ which are then bound together in ‘chains’. The way the information is encrypted means that data and information is secure and cannot be tampered with. The process makes it harder for hackers to attack, an increasing worry for businesses that are storing large amounts of data. Blockchain also makes attacks easier to spot, giving businesses an opportunity to plug gaps and address any issues.

Blockchain was originally designed for digital currency Bitcoin but it has inspired other applications. In fact, at the beginning of the year the UK’s chief scientific adviser urged the government to adopt the technology to run public services. Businesses can also benefit from applying this technology to their operations.

Why is the blockchain important for big data?

The rise of collecting and interpreting big data means that businesses now have huge amounts of information at their disposal. While this supports them in many decision making processes and can improve operations and efficiency it does present some security risks. This is a particular concern for organisations that handle sensitive information, for instance those operating within the healthcare sector.

The number of cases of fraud, hacking and unauthorised personnel accessing data that should be secure poses a significant risk for all businesses. Utilising the blockchain could overhaul and improve security and highlight where upgrades need to be made after a leak or hack has occurred. Blockchain technology presents considerable advantages to business but there are some challenges too. Shifting to a decentralised network will require educating end users and operators and integrating into current working process to have the biggest and best impact.

To discover more about the blockchain, register free for Big Data LDN at Olympia London on 3-4 November 2016. The event will host leading, global data and analytics experts, ready to arm you with the tools to deliver your most effective data-driven strategy.

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