How researchers can leverage the blockchain to collaborate with complete privacy and immutability.
One common challenge that plagues all researchers is where they should store their data, whether it be first-party sourced information or beyond. Questions of “do I store it in the cloud?” or “should I store it somewhere in the basement?” quickly come up. Even Princeton’s best practices for storing data mention finding a locked filing cabinet for PII (personal identifiable information), which is archaic and not necessarily beneficial.
Modern researchers require modern types of data storage, ones with additional security levels beyond a filing cabinet. Often a cloud storage solution is the first thought; the challenges with these solutions can be the lack of genuinely encrypted data and the immutability of the data.
The idea of immutable data as it applies to researchers is not new; the Cambridge English Dictionary defines immutability as “the state of not changing, or being unable to be changed.” This concept is one that most researchers would hope is true of their data all of the time, although occasionally is not always the case. Sharing research data via a Google Drive or Dropbox folder can have its share of concerns; how would a research team know that the data has remained unchanged and immutable in every way?
The idea of immutable data on the blockchain comes into play; the ability to store your files, data, and other important research information in an encrypted format, unchangeable and entirely private for you and your research team. Researchers should be using a solution that has all of the functionality, UX, and capabilities of Google Docs, Drive, etc., but end-to-end encrypted with immutability at every turn.
There are three standout reasons why researchers would want to use a file storage/collaboration platform that is wholly “on-chain” rather than a traditional cloud storage provider.
Your files are encrypted and are decentralized, meaning the data is not living in one place. This is a dream for most research teams, as you can quickly and easily access your data at a moment’s notice, but bad actors cannot access your files and research.
Products like SlikSafe enable not just collaboration (most people with Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp can achieve this) but secure collaboration on the SlikSafe platform and encrypted alongside your data and files. Secure collaboration with real-time document editing and file sharing allows for research between individuals, institutions, and beyond.
Storing your data on the blockchain in a decentralized method allows for some exciting options to share your data with contributors and collaborators securely and privately. The easiest way to use the current de-facto web3 digital identity is via Ethereum Name Service (ENS) to quickly and easily share files within the SlikSafe platform. This method, coupled with creating a secure organization in the platform, makes for collaboration and sharing an easy process.
Whether the research project or the institution, it is crucial to maintain data integrity and security of the data created on any project. Standard data storage methods may be sufficient, but the stakes will be raised as more research data is accumulated by any individual or institution. Exploring how to save and secure your data on-chain is something any modern researcher should add to their “to-do list” ASAP to flourish in a privacy-first environment.
SlikSafe is the platform for secure file sharing, storage, and collaboration. Try out SlikSafe today, and let us know how we can help secure your data.