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What is Decentralized Storage, How Does It Work, and What Are Its Benefits?

Blockchain is a revolutionizing technology that is infiltrating all the business sectors. So, you cannot turn a blind eye to the Blockchain anymore. With the rising interest in Blockchain technology, the competition to find its perfect application is also increasing. Although Blockchain has a wide range of uses and transformed many businesses, it is believed that the Blockchain’s perfect application is going to the decentralized storage technology. The data is the most crucial element for any business and using decentralized storage, you can ensure the protection of your precious data.

Normally, centralized storage systems store and control your data on large servers. This can expose your precious data to several risks, including censorship, data loss, and information theft. Meanwhile, decentralized storage systems distribute and store your data on different servers using the peer-to-peer model. This way, the decentralized storage systems ensure the integrity, accessibility, and security of your data. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about decentralized storage systems, including what they are, how they work, as well as their benefits. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it!

What is Decentralized Storage?

Unlike traditional storage systems, there isn’t a single central authority to control things in decentralized storage systems. A decentralized storage system allows users to keep their data and sensitive information on a distributed network run by computers spread across numerous locations. In other words, your data is stored on peer-to-peer nodes of a Blockchain network that keep the network functional.

This way, decentralized storage systems eliminate single points of failure and reduce counterparty risk for users. The nodes in a decentralized storage system are responsible for making the data available to the owners when they wish to access it. For this purpose, the nodes are also awarded incentives in the form of paid tokens.

How Does Decentralized Storage Work?

In a traditional cloud storage system, all your data is in a single location, and you can download it directly when you need it. On the other hand, downloading your data in the decentralized storage system is similar to BitTorrent and other P2P models, where you can download small chunks of data from all online nodes on the network until you have the full file. Now you may be wondering how it is different from BitTorrent or other P2P clients?

Well, decentralized storage systems come with the added security of Blockchain technology. When you upload your data to a decentralized storage system, it's automatically encrypted to give you a rock-solid shield and privacy. Moreover, the beauty of decentralized storage systems is that once you have uploaded your data, it cannot be changed or altered in any way. All this makes your data highly secure and gives you peace of mind that your data is in safe hands.

1- Encryption

In decentralized storage systems, the data is encrypted using a cryptographic hash mechanism before its stored across multiple locations in different nodes. These nodes are run by both individuals and organizations. The important point to note here is that the data in a decentralized storage system can only be decrypted using the private key of the owner. Therefore, it's impossible for a node, storage provider, or any other individual other than the owner to decrypt and view the contents of the data.

2- Sharding

Sharding is one of the most famous methods being explored by innovators to improve transactional throughput. In simple words, sharding is a way of splitting the data into multiple chunks and storing them on different nodes to divide the computational resources. It ensures that no single node in the network is liable for processing the whole network's transactional load. Moreover, it ensures that each node only holds information that is associated with its division or shard (not the whole data). As a result, sharding eliminates problems like censorship and privacy intrusion.

3- Storage

With decentralized storage, the data you upload is encrypted and stored across numerous locations or nodes. These nodes are run by individuals or organizations that share their extra disk space for a fee. Only the data's owner has the private encryption key to access the data; even the storage providers cannot access the data. When you need to access your data, the network retrieves your data from all the nodes and reassembles all the divided pieces so that you can download it.

The Benefits of Decentralized Storage Networks

Data is one of the most vital assets for any company. Today, businesses are putting data at the core of their decision-making process by applying Data Mining techniques. Therefore, businesses all over the world are investing heavily to store and administrator their data efficiently. Normally, businesses build their own custom data centers or utilize cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, AWS, etc. However, all these are centralized storage systems that often come with teething problems.

We have to understand that large central databases are prone to malicious attacks and hacks that can result in massive losses. In the last few years, we’ve seen a worrisome growth in data violations that have compromised millions of accounts resulting in the loss of billions of dollars. With decentralized storage systems, unexpected data loss or data-stealing could ultimately become a thing of history.

It's because decentralized storage systems don't store the information in a single data center. Instead, decentralized storage systems break your data into small encrypted pieces and store it on different nodes, vigorously contributing their spare storage space to the network. Most importantly, the biggest problem with centralized storage systems is that you cannot get access to your data if the services provider goes offline or denies access. Decentralized storage systems are designed to resolve all these problems and also provide a powerful and protected method of storing data. Here are some of the most prominent benefits of decentralized storage systems:

1- Data Security

In today's digital thrift, data security is more crucial than ever. Flawed data storage systems often lead to information violations, individuality rip-off, and other problems, which are expensive for both companies and their users. Centralized storage services pledged to fix data storage issues but have been unsuccessful in fulfilling this commitment. For instance, a hack on Dropbox – one of the world's gigantic cloud storage companies – directed to 68 million passwords getting hacked on the dark web.

Decentralized P2P networks are way more safer than centralized networks. That's what makes them perfect for shielding important data from malevolent actors. To hack a decentralized storage network, a hacker needs to access every node running the protocol. The massive costs in terms of electricity and computational powers to pull off this exploit are often enough to discourage hackers from attempting to rob your data. Even if hackers are willing to spend all these resources to hack a decentralized storage system, their chances of success are very bleak.

2- Privacy

A decentralized data storage system provides an exceptionally high level of privacy. It’s because these systems shard the data into smaller fragments, make copies of the authentic data, and then encrypt each part individually using hashes or keys. This whole process shields the data from bad actors. The encrypted data can only be decrypted using the private key of the owner, which makes it inaccessible to all the nodes in the network as well as the service provider. What’s more, none of the owner’s private information is available in any stored data, unlike with centralized storage systems.

3- Efficiency

From a broader perspective, centralized cloud storage seems efficient enough. After all, you can efficiently get files from your Google Drive or Dropbox by simply logging in. However, an in-depth look discloses the hidden incapability of these centralized storage options. For instance, centralized storage systems store your data on a single or only a few data centers throughout the world. If these systems get hit and go offline for any purpose, retrieving data becomes impossible.

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is sufficient to crash even the strongest of networks blocking users from using centralized servers. Most importantly, the majority of centralized storage systems have data centers clustered in specific areas. Therefore, it makes it difficult for users in extensive parts of the world to recover their data. As a result, users have to disburse more bandwidth just to download data stored on a cloud storage platform. All this makes centralized storage systems inefficient.

Decentralized storage systems can tackle all these problems in an efficient way. For instance, with decentralized storage systems, you don’t have to worry about accessing your data if a node goes offline. It’s because all nodes have a copy of your data, and if one node is offline, you can always retrieve your data from other nodes. Most importantly, the nodes in Blockchain-based storage systems are distributed throughout the world. So, there's always a chance that you can find a node closer to your location to help you download your data utilizing less bandwidth. All these things make decentralized storage systems much more efficient in comparison to their centralized counterparts.

4- Data Integrity

In simple words, data integrity depicts the ability of the data to maintain its standards throughout a whole lifecycle. This means that data should be available in its actual form whenever you want to access it, even after twenty or thirty years. Security problems such as data integrity are becoming a major obstacle in a centralized system. Meanwhile, decentralized storage employs Blockchain technology to resolve this problem by using a dynamic data integrity verification scheme for cloud storage with the T-Merkle hash tree.

Most importantly, traditional centralized storage systems classify the data based on the location where it’s saved. For instance, when you upload a file to DropBox, you get a URL that you can use to access the file anytime you want. However, if that file is moved to a different location, its URL will change, and you will get a 404 error message when you try to access the file using the old URL.

A decentralized storage system classifies that data using a content-specific approach. In simple words, it classifies your data based on its content rather than its location. This way, you can get access to your data even if it’s moved to another location using the same link. In order to do this, decentralized storage systems attach the hash of the data block to the link so that it can be accessed regardless of its location.

An important point to note here is that the hash is a unique identifier for each data block in the Blockchain. This means each block has its unique hash. It's because the hash is generated from the data in the block. Since each data block contains different data, the hash is unique for each data block. Moreover, if a bad actor tries to manipulate the data in a block, its hash will change automatically, making it inaccessible to the malicious user.

5- Lower Costs

The decentralized data storage system enormously lessens the cost of storage. It also reduces the necessities for machine performance, thereby eradicating the need for expensive investment in high-performing hardware and software. Most importantly, the decentralized network incorporates millions of nodes for storing data. This correlates to a considerable increase in the amount of available storage space. Decentralized storage systems frequently utilize all the inactive storage space on the nodes, cutting down wastage and avoiding the need for extra finance. All this helps in keeping the overall cost of storage notably lower in decentralized systems.

Final Thoughts:

With businesses producing more data than ever, the need for affordable, scalable, and, most importantly, secure storage technology is growing. With the adoption of Blockchain technology, decentralized data storage could be a suitable option to balance scalability, safety, and affordability. Although decentralized storage systems are still in their early phase, they clearly offer a better solution in comparison to their standard, centralized counterparts. With time, decentralized storage systems will only get better, and they will definitely grab the attention of all major enterprises. If you are interested in building a private decentralized storage system for your organization or want to develop a full-scale decentralized storage platform for the public, we can help you in this regard.

Here at IIInigence, we stand proud as the best Blockchain Development agency in the USA, offering a wide range of services, including Blockchain consultancy as well as cryptocurrency, smart contract, dApp, Decentralized Marketplace, Decentralized Storage, and Metaverse development. We have been into Blockchain development for 10 years, and we have successfully deployed decentralized storage networks for businesses using private Blockchain. You can check out our portfolio and testimonials to get a better idea of our expertise as well as the quality of our work. Simply contact us today, and schedule a call with one of our experts to see how we can help you fulfill your goals.

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