Modex Blockchain Database (BCDB) is a patented software solution that appeared at a turning point in the evolution of the data management market to propose a new approach to existing data management mechanisms based on a fusion between consecrated database systems and innovative technology such as blockchain.
Current data management models are already starting to show stress fractures generated by the legacy technology that rests at its foundation. To remedy some of the accumulated pressure points and to help pave the way towards the future of data governance, Modex facilitates the integration of blockchain technology into existing data management systems without requiring a complete infrastructure overhaul, major investments, and lengthy implementation projects.
Even before the advent of digitalization, data has been the lifeblood of any business, company, enterprise, and governmental institution. As such, data management has become a concept deeply ingrained in our collective consciousness. Faced with a wide and diverse spectrum of possible beneficiaries, each one with different needs, it would be counter-intuitive to devise a one fits all solution.
To provide an answer to this challenge, Modex has tailored three distinct methods through which companies can integrate the Blockchain Database product into their existing infrastructures: Full Integration, Partial Integration, and Minimally Invasive Integration. Each type of implementation is designed to address the needs of low-code clients, with an implementation time ranging from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on the complexity of the beneficiary’s existing data infrastructure and the availability of the project administrator.
From an integration standpoint, Modex BCDB has been designed with customization in mind which allows each integration to have a gradual and flexible flow, the course of which is dictated by the client’s specific objective and business requirements.
Modex BCDB architecture overview
With an agnostic take on its two core components, the blockchain network, and database engine, Modex BCDB can be easily configured to implement the elements that are best suited to fall in line with the business logic of the beneficiary. Connecting a blockchain to a database, a core element present in every business and organization, enhances data management practices in any industry, giving true ownership and control over the data records, while also providing a more accurate representation of how the data is used, a major benefit that drastically simplifies audit and compliance processes. On the same note, the union between blockchain and traditional databases unlocks a set of innovative features like data integrity and immutability, real-time backup, and data reconstruction that further adds value to the client’s product.
As a modular plug and play solution, Modex BCDB seamlessly integrates with new or existing enterprise-grade software, all while safekeeping core business components and functionalities. Regardless of the implementation chosen by the client, Modex BCDB preserves business continuity. From this perspective, Modex BCDB can be seen as a technological gatekeeper that facilitates the transition from the traditional client-server database flow scheme to a distributed and decentralized model that is supported by a blockchain backend. This does not mean that Modex BCDB is designed to eliminate the database component. On the contrary, the Modex technological layer seeks to seamlessly complement and augment existing IT infrastructures with the highly sought after features of blockchain technology as well as a series of unique benefits tailored to the BCDB solution:
- multiple blockchain framework support
- multiple databases support
- multiple database replication
- custom permissions & data sharing
- record versioning & monitoring
- data encryption
- decentralized data recovery
From an architectural standpoint, Modex BCDB presents itself as a network of nodes that is grouped into several subnetworks, each of them containing a cluster of nodes. Each subnetwork type is determined by the data it collects and stores in its nodes. For example, a security subnetwork will contain only data relevant to the security of the network such as security keys, operating licenses, access policies, and information related to the licensing, authentication, and authorization mechanisms. In addition, data subnetworks can be further divided into several subnetworks based on geographical areas or other logical groupings.
The full integration is the most sophisticated implementation of the Modex BCDB solution that delivers a unique slew of benefits. The full integration offers an ideal solution for companies and organizations in search of a mechanism to safeguard their data governance, streamline trust, enhance data security, and audit-related processes. This type of integration also comes with a safety mechanism that enables companies to recover and reconstruct data in case of a security incident.
The full integration version is a ready-made licensed solution that can be easily implemented on cloud infrastructures, on-prem, and even as a hybrid framework. Deployment times vary depending on the complexity of the client’s existing framework and resource availability. To ensure a smooth implementation, the Modex staff offers full technical support during the implementation process.
Modex BCDB operates as an agnostic middleware software capable of connecting the top blockchains from the market with existing database engines. Fusing classic technology with a blockchain layer enables companies and organizations to tap into core features of blockchain technology like decentralization, distribution, data immutability, and integrity to address essential data management needs.
Due to its middleware nature, Modex BCDB can seamlessly connect to existing solutions by modifying a series of database connectors, replacing them with custom BCDB connectors. This approach comes with a series of operational benefits. The front-end segment of the product that undergoes the transition retains its familiar set of functionalities. The BCDB layer will act in the backend as the primary storage mechanism for the client’s software, storing all logical and business data. As such, every action taken at the database level will become fully traceable and immutable.
Another essential element introduced by Modex BCDB is the proof of data integrity mechanism. Each database record has its hash replicated in the blockchain component of Modex BCDB to create an accurate representation of the state of the database. It’s important to highlight that hashing produces a unique, unintelligible string of characters that cannot be reversed engineered to find out the initial input. This removes any potential discrepancies with the processing, storage, and management of personal data.
The proof of data integrity constantly monitors and compares database entries with their blockchain counterpart and immediately notifies the system administrator if the records no longer match, which may hint at an unauthorized modification as a result of tampering or an error. Delete and update operations can only take place at the database level. Blockchain is an append-only structure, which means that data cannot be removed or altered in any way. So the blockchain references to database entries are never lost or tampered with, which allows for restoration in case of fraudulent modification. Also, the traceability unlocked by this feature opens new opportunities in analytics and audit processes.
The partial integration follows the same principle as the full integration – the front-end and the business logic do not suffer any alterations and the client’s database remains unchanged (unless the client wishes to change it). The main difference between the two implementations is that unlike the full integration where every piece of data is migrated to the BCDB network, the partial integration sends only handpicked sensitive data to BCDB for storage and encryption.
As a lighter implementation version, clients must keep in mind that the Modex suite of features and benefits will only be applicable to the data that passes through the BCDB layer. The rest of the data that resides in the client’s database but outside of the BCDB ecosystem will not interact or benefit from the blockchain-based characteristics (immutability, enhanced security, distribution, etc.)
The advantages of the partial integration over the full integration stem from its lightweight approach which translates to a faster development time, lower resource costs, requiring a minimal level of investment. Clients have the option to engage in a partial integration as the initial phase of a planned full integration. Of course, depending on the nature of the business, the amount of data that needs to be managed and processed, including other technical and business considerations, a client always has the option to use a stand-alone partial integration.
Minimally invasive integration
The minimally invasive integration is designed to support easy system interoperability which facilitates fast and secure data sharing between multiple distinct organizations that rely on different data management systems. First of all, this integration option takes a non-invasive approach as it intervenes in the development stack by inserting itself between existing software applications and the databases used by each party involved in the system. As such, this technological layer can be seamlessly implemented into existing systems and workflows without requiring any system downtime.
Through the minimally invasive integration, organizations can effortlessly set up an ecosystem where trust in data is guaranteed through complex technology. The sensitive data owned by the participants of the newly created ecosystem is stored securely and updated in real-time, making data sharing between members a user-friendly operation devoid of any additional complications.
Purposely tailored to answer the interoperability needs of low-code and no-code clients, the minimally invasive version is composed of three components:
Modex Agent – a software component that gets installed on each organization’s server, regardless if it is on-prem or on the cloud. From a functionality standpoint, the Modex Agent is designed to permanently monitor the database and to continuously record the data selected by the client in the BCDB platform, where it can be accessed by other members of the ecosystem based on the permissions received from the data owner.
Modex BCDB – a separate platform that acts similar to a data vault that receives data from every Modex Agent installed on client servers, according to predetermined sharing conditions. Data can be accessed in the BCDB platform only based on specific permissions granted by its owner. Permissions can be granted and retracted at any time.
Modex App – a web interface that enables authorized users from organizations that are system members to view their data in the BCDB platform, to request access to other members’ data, or grant permission to their own data to other members from the ecosystem.
After implementing the minimally invasive integration option, the Modex technological layer operates parallel to the participating organization’s central systems, allowing each member to store relevant business data in an encrypted format which can be shared between ecosystem members through a permission-based decryption mechanism that can be granted only to authorized users.
A powerful advantage of this integration type is its short deployment time. The implementation does not require any modifications to the clients’ existing code. This does however raise an important point. Participants must keep in mind that the blockchain-enabled features will only apply to the data that rests inside the BCDB network.
In a classical flow scheme, a company’s system is composed of a front-end interface that collects and displays information in a readable format, the application server responsible for handling the business logic and the processing of information, and the database engine that stores all the data.
The minimally invasive integration of the Blockchain Database solution intervenes in the traditional workflow by installing a middleware component between a company’s server and database, the Modex Agent, which is designed to collect all the relevant information based on predetermined rules and configurations and send them to the Modex BCDB network. When joining the ecosystem, companies are required to set up their accounts in the Modex App, where they also configure data synchronization and encryption policies for the Modex BCDB network, including an extensive set of access rules for other authorized users.
Delivering a unique mix of benefits
Each implementation of Modex BCDB is designed to target specific needs. The full implementation delivers the full suite of benefits that the Modex technological layer has on offer but has the most lengthy implementation time and it is the most resource-demanding in its initial phase. The partial integration is a lighter version of the BCDB software that is better suited for managing only sensitive information. By design, this implementation option has a faster development time, lower resource costs, and requires an overall minimal level of investment. The minimally invasive integration is a complex solution that aims to act as a foundation for system interoperability between different actors that utilize distinct data management systems. As the name implies, the minimally invasive integration operates externally to participating organizations’ systems. The blockchain-based features apply only to the records designated by the client to be shared through the interoperable system created by the Modex Agent, BCDB, and the Modex App.
Regardless of what implementation type clients opt for, Modex BCDB offers a unique mix of benefits:
- Data immutability & secure data sharing – with blockchain technology at its core, Modex BCDB creates a highly secure ecosystem for sharing and storing data. Security is further strengthened by the complex layer of encryption offered by the Modex platform. The flexibility of the encryption system enables beneficiaries to encrypt all the data entries or only certain fields from a table. As an append-only structure, data cannot be deleted once it has been passed to the blockchain, making it immutable.
- Improved accuracy – Modex BCDB removes the need to manually enter data into a shared ledger or exchange information through methods susceptible to human error (email, screen sharing, etc.). It also simplifies read operations because companies share a standard format – in the minimally invasive integration option.
- Efficient data reconciliation – integrating multiple database systems and software applications with a blockchain backend facilitates a better flow of information and a higher degree of transparency and trust in data. Transparency generates traceability and accountability, while data trust is guaranteed by the complex technological layer facilitated by the BCDB solution. These two features consolidate and streamline a clients’ internal operational flow. In a multi-party system, trust and transparency creates cohesion and improves cooperation on data.
- Complete data ownership – companies that store their data on the BCDB platform are in complete control and the indisputable owners of the data they add into the platform. As such, they can decide who, when, and how their data can be accessed within the ecosystem.
- Data privacy – trust is a fundamental value guaranteed by Modex’s blockchain component. Paired together with the access control mechanisms built in the Modex BCDB solution, the newly created ecosystem ensures that data can be accessed only by authorized users.
By implementing Modex BCDB into their infrastructures, companies can pilot a blockchain project with the same ease as if they were buying a SaaS. One of the main advantages of Modex BCDB, regardless of the implementation type chosen, is that it seamlessly integrates with existing data systems while preserving business and operational continuity. Modex BCDB is a smart approach towards blockchain technology that is easy to use and does not require the mastery of new technological infrastructures.