Acronis Notary™

Advanced security feature that uses blockchain technology to prove a file is authentic and unchanged since it was backed up

What is blockchain technology?

Blockchain is famous in the context of the digital currency called bitcoin. Despite the bitcoin hype, it is far from the only useful application of blockchain technology. But, to understand the other applications, you must understand blockchain. Simply put, it is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list, or chain, of data transaction records. Every portion of this decentralized system has a copy of the chain of records; no “official” copy exists. In this way, the information is secure from tampering and revision.

notary block chain

Data “fingerprints”

Acronis Notary computes a cryptographic “fingerprint” hash of each file that is unique for each file. This hash algorithm produces the same output given the exact same input file every time, regardless of circumstance. Any change, however slight, in the input file results in a dramatically different fingerprint. The hash algorithm is designed to work in one direction – making it impossible to determine the original file inputs from the output alone.

Anchoring data in the blockchain

Think of the blockchain as an “append-only”' ledger with a transaction order that is distributed across many entities, with each one keeping an identical copy of the ledger. Each record in the ledger is time-stamped, is immutable, and independently verifiable.

A hash of the whole structure containing the files’ fingerprints is recorded into the blockchain. Authenticity of those files can be independently confirmed by any party (even one not doing business with Acronis) that has access to the blockchain.

How can Acronis Notary be used, and why should you care?

When you back up your data to local drives or the cloud, you correctly expect your backup solution to faithfully back up those files. Acronis Notary technology can add a level of confidence to the authenticity of your data. In the future, you may want to simply reassure yourself the file is unchanged. Or, you may have, or someone may present you with, a file and you need to validate if it is authentic and unchanged from the backup. Common use cases include property and personal copies of records, chain-of-evidence for court requested documents, and long-term archives that could be subject to various legal or tax audits. Further down on this page are some other examples.

notary certificate

Acronis Notary creates a certificate for each notarized file. This certificate connects the unique file's features with the permanent record in the blockchain. This allows you to check its authenticity. Acronis Notary Certificates contain all the required information to verify protected data so that it can be verified independently. This check could be done by a human or using a machine and can even be performed by a third party, as long as they have access to the blockchain.

Provide confidence that data is authentic and unchanged

Prove That a Document is Unchanged (or Changed)

Suppose you have an executed agreement that is backed up to local storage or the Acronis Cloud. The other party to the agreement also receives a digital copy of the exact same document. In a few months, you get a call from the other party telling you that you didn’t fulfill the contract. That party shows you a document that seems to be original. But you suspect they made some changes to it.
Using Acronis Notary technology, you compare a certificate you generated for this “new” document with the original document’s certificate. That way, you can be sure that the recent document is an identical bit-for-bit match to the one you have in backup storage. If they don’t match, you know that the other party has changed the document in some way and can confirm what they have is not the original document.

Confirm a Creative Work Originated on a Certain Date

A visual or musical artist may be skeptical about publishing creative assets on the internet. Using Acronis Notary certification — a tool for copyright protection that can help confirm the date of origin — can change his mind.
To do this, the artist creates a backup that contains pieces of digital art, music, photos, or anything else that can be copyrighted. Once the backup is complete, he can obtain a certificate with cryptographic evidence that could help his copyright claim in case of infringement. The record of the original pieces and their creation dates are recorded in the blockchain. Artist can confirm that his piece of art existed at a certain time in the past, was authored by him and assist his copyright claims.

Prove a Legal Document Existed When You Claim it Did

Lawyers need to prove to a judge and jury that a file in their possession has been in existence since a certain date and time. Using Acronis Notary, lawyers can tie the file in their possession to data on the blockchain, which mathematically proves the existence of that exact file at that specific, earlier date in question.

Confirm Bills Were Paid When You Said They Were Paid

A company has an archive of old, paid invoices. One is an invoice for the services provided. Company keeps all their invoices in the notarized backup. One day, company receives a letter demanding payment for an invoice that was paid two years ago! The record in blockchain is permanent and immutable. Company can confirm that this invoice was re-sent by mistake.

Confirm Product Certifications are Unchanged

A consumer bought a certified diamond with an associated serial number on it. He backed up the diamond “warranty of authenticity” and the purchase invoice with Acronis Notary. After some time, he decides to sell the diamond. A prospective buyer can use Acronis Notary to verify that the diamond’s “warranty of authenticity” and purchase invoice were unchanged since the purchase. When the buyer is confident about the diamond, he can more confidently move forward with a third-party’s professional gemstone evaluation.

We live in a fluid-data threat landscape and Acronis Notary is just the first step to provide you with a complete new generation of data protection. Discover how igloodata and Acronis are evolving their approach to protect your data in a world of increasingly complex threats.

​The best cloud backup solution for your business