IBM announced the launch of IBM Hyper Protect Offline Signing Orchestrator (OSO), an air-gapped cold storage solution for digital assets, on Dec. 5.
Working with digital asset manager Metaco — an IBM partner and Ripple subsidiary — and tier-1 banks, IBM developed the end-to-end asset encryption service to address common vulnerabilities found in typical cold storage solutions.
According to the announcement:
“When it comes to offline or physically air-gapped cold storage, there are limitations, including privileged administrator access, operational costs and errors and the inability to truly scale. All these limitations are due to one underlying factor—human interaction.”
IBM designed OSO to address these vulnerabilities by removing the manual functions of initiating and conducting transactions. Much like a time-release safe that cannot be opened upon request, OSO can be configured to only send transactions from cold storage to the blockchain, and vice-versa, at specific times or only through the authorization of a multibody governance scheme.
This, according to the blog post and accompanying research, prevents the most common forms of insider attack, including physical access, administrative manipulation and coercion attacks. If a bad actor were to somehow access the system, physically or remotely, they could only initiate a transaction during approved times and would have to wait until the transaction was approved for execution in order to receive/steal assets.
Further ensuring OSO’s resilience to attack, digital assets can be placed in “air-gapped” storage containers. Storage is considered air-gapped when it is not connected to the internet or any device capable of connecting to the internet. This ensures remote attacks can’t access assets while they’re at rest.
Securing blockchain transactions
Administrators managing cold storage solutions in a typical air-gapped paradigm usually have to hand-carry physical storage devices such as laptops or USB drives to offline hardware in order to sign transactions. This manual process introduces human error, a non-malicious form of attack that can be just as costly as an intentional exploit.
OSO implements a policy engine that can broker communication between two different applications without simultaneously connecting to both. As it operates through a virtual, partitioned server, via IBM’s Confidential Computing service, it also has no direct external network connectivity. This prevents human error from manual processes as well as remote access (hacking) — even during transactions.
Technology has revolutionized the way we store and access information. From digital photos and videos to important business documents and financial records, our digital assets are an essential part of our daily lives. However, with the ever-growing volume of data, it has become increasingly challenging to safeguard and store these assets in a secure and cost-effective manner. This is where IBM’s revolutionary cold storage solution comes into play.
From a business perspective, data is known as the new oil, and safeguarding it is crucial for the success of any organization. It is estimated that by 2025, the global datasphere will grow to 163 zettabytes, which is ten times the 16.1ZB in 2016. With this exponential growth, the need for efficient and secure storage solutions has become paramount. This is where IBM steps in with its cold storage solution.
Cold storage is a method of storing data at a lower temperature to reduce the costs associated with powering and cooling data storage. IBM’s cold storage solution, also known as IBM Cloud Object Storage Cold Vault (CVC), offers a secure and cost-effective way to store and manage data for businesses of all sizes.
How Does IBM’s Cold Storage Solution Work?
IBM’s CVC utilizes a ‘pay-as-you-use’ model, allowing users to pay for storage space they actually need and use. It offers a highly durable storage tier to store critical, but less frequently accessed data, which can help companies save significant costs compared to traditional storage methods.
Unlike traditional hot storage solutions, where data is available for immediate access, cold storage requires a longer retrieval time. However, this is not a major concern as CVC offers a retrieval time of a few seconds, making it suitable for data that’s not accessed frequently, but still important to keep.
Benefits of Using IBM’s Cold Storage Solution
As mentioned earlier, cold storage offers significant cost savings compared to traditional hot storage solutions. With CVC, businesses can reduce their storage costs by up to 80%. This is achieved by storing infrequently accessed data in a low-cost, highly durable storage tier that uses less power. This is particularly beneficial for companies with large amounts of data, as it can drive down costs significantly in the long run.
2. Long-term Data Preservation:
CVC offers enhanced data protection with its long-term preservation capabilities. It utilizes advanced encryption techniques and complies with major industry regulations to ensure that your data remains secure for years to come. Additionally, CVC also offers options for data immutability, ensuring that data cannot be altered or deleted by unauthorized access, making it an ideal solution for businesses dealing with sensitive information.
3. Scalability and Flexibility:
One of the major advantages of CVC is its scalability. Businesses can start small and easily scale up their storage capacity as their data grows. This flexible model means that companies don’t need to worry about overpaying for storage space they don’t need. Additionally, CVC also offers multi-site replication, providing businesses with geo-dispersed data storage for added data protection.
4. Easy Integration:
CVC can be easily integrated with your existing data storage systems, making the transition to cold storage seamless. Its compatibility with various operating systems and applications makes it a versatile solution for businesses of all kinds.
Real-world Use Cases and Success Stories
BMW Group, one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers, has been using IBM’s cold storage solution to manage their massive amounts of data. With over 100TB of data stored in CVC, BMW Group has saved up to 75% in storage costs, while also experiencing improved data security and flexibility.
Another successful case is Pontiac, a leading fashion company in Italy. With CVC, Pontiac was able to improve their data storage efficiency and increase data availability, leading to better customer service and business outcomes.
In today’s digital world, managing and safeguarding digital assets has become a crucial aspect of every business. With IBM’s cold storage solution, businesses can now store their data securely and cost-effectively with added scalability and flexibility. Its success stories and real-world use cases showcase its effectiveness and value in managing and preserving valuable data. If you’re looking for a secure and efficient data storage solution, IBM’s cold storage solution is definitely worth considering.