Solutions Review’s Expert Insights series is a collection of contributed articles written by industry experts in the enterprise software category. Avatier’s Nelson Cicchitto provides a brief introduction to blockchain and how it will be used as a cybersecurity tool in the near future.
Almost everyone in IT has been asked about blockchain security in the last few years. It’s a buzzword, but I can understand why. Cybersecurity attacks are increasing at an unprecedented rate and people want to do everything possible to protect their valuable assets.
Blockchain security as a concept is still in its early stages. There is still a long way to go before businesses can rely solely on blockchain to protect their information. That said, the foundations of blockchain – cryptography, decentralized networks, etc. – deserve a closer look. It is important to understand some basic principles of blockchain and how these principles can be used to create records that are preferably tamper-proof and immutable. But how safe is it?
What is blockchain?
Fundamentally, blockchain technology represents a new way of making transactions possible using cryptography. At its heart is the idea of decentralization. Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology (DLT) that structures data into blocks instead of having a centralized controller in one place. Within each of these blocks are one or more transactions. Each block connects to its predecessor, effectively making the whole system tamper-proof (in theory).
Initially primarily a financial tool, blockchain has, for obvious reasons, shown potential for a wide variety of uses, one of which includes security. People around the world are now working to see how blockchain will be used in public and private security efforts.
Blockchain in action: how the process works
For most blockchain technologists, there are two basic components: cryptography and mining.
Let’s start with encryption. Central to the process of blockchain cryptography is something called hashing. Hashing gives you an input string (arbitrary length) that you run a hashing algorithm on. At the other end you get a 256-bit fixed length output. Hashing is deterministic (that is, it always gives the same result given input) and is fast. These two factors are very useful when it comes to security. Hashing can be loosely thought of as a type of sophisticated password. As long as that password is kept safe, the protected data is (in theory) very secure.
Next is mining. This is the verification process. A distributed computer network around the world processes new transaction blocks and ensures that each one is valid. In a cryptocurrency context, these servers are rewarded with new coins. This is an incentive to participate in the verification process.
Why Blockchain Matters for Security: Immutability
One of the long-standing concerns of IT professionals is the unauthorized modification of critical data and records. However, due to the aforementioned integrity of the cryptography and mining process, once a transaction is confirmed in a blockchain system, it is impossible to delete or tamper with it, so these concerns are theoretically limited to blockchain technology. does not apply to Unfortunately, this should (at least for now) remain theoretical. The technology has not yet developed to the point where blockchain can be used for critical enterprise IT security systems.
That said, using blockchain as a starting point allows us to think more deeply about how to ensure the integrity of a company’s records. An overhaul of the identity verification process could be of great benefit here. For example, you can implement a rule that allows only certain users to modify records, while allowing many other users periodic access.
Beyond that, you might think more seriously about how to train your staff on the fundamentals of record keeping and data integrity. For example, hold training sessions where all members of the IT staff can learn the basics first-hand and ask questions as needed.
Think Beyond Blockchain: Real IT Security Alternatives Businesses Can Use Today
So, while very interesting from a security perspective, blockchain security has proven that there is still a long way to go before businesses can be trusted. has many choices.
For one, it can do a better job of mitigating the risk of inactive users. There is a turnover in any company, and if you don’t pay attention to who has access to what, you’re in serious danger. By paying attention to old user her accounts in the wild, the risk of security her incidents can be greatly reduced.
Second, enforce compliance so that all possible security gaps are documented, monitored, and quickly remedied. Many IT teams lack the resources to perform proper compliance monitoring on their own and should seriously consider engaging a third-party service to assist in this process. Incidentally, contracting a third-party service to help with security allows the team to evaluate new security technologies, including but not limited to blockchain and AI.
As such, blockchain as a security tool may still be underperforming. But that doesn’t mean it never will. our advice? Please keep a close eye on developments in this area and in the meantime encourage us to take identification, verification, and overall security more seriously.