Mobility strategy: How blockchain technologies can secure the enterprise
Most widely known as the technology behind the cryptocurrency bitcoin, one of the biggest advantages of blockchain is that it’s inherently secure because of the transparency and visibility it provides into online transactions. However, the Financial Times reported that recent cyberattacks against the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) and Bitfinex have raised legitimate concerns over the immutability of blockchain technologies. In spite of this, many companies are exploring new ways to use blockchain beyond cryptocurrencies by starting to bake the technology into their overall enterprise mobility strategy.
Blockchain and security
In many ways, blockchain transactions are more secure than traditional encryption methods in a decentralized database environment. With a centralized ledger of transactions or “blocks” that are time-stamped and linked to a previous block in the chain, then verified by a peer-to-peer network to validate authenticity, blockchains provide a seemingly immutable record of transactions that are also easy to audit. With clear visibility into the chain of transactions, illegitimate transactions or potential hacks are easy to catch before any real damage can be conducted by a cybercriminal. However, anything that is connected to the internet can be hacked, particularly cryptographic keys that are stored in a centralized and connected database. To thwart these threats, companies are increasingly using cold, offline storage for encrypted keys.
In addition, blockchain is in a very nascent stage, and as with any new technology, issues will arise that need to be ironed out, including those concerning security. Developers working with new coding protocols are on a learning curve, after all, and understandably, they make mistakes. In addition, many potential problems won’t be discovered until the technology is deployed at scale over time.
How blockchain fits into enterprise mobility strategy
Moving beyond cryptocurrencies, blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the way organizations do business, particularly in an increasingly mobile world. Three main areas mobile enterprises are working blockchain into a secure mobility strategy include mobile payments, the IoT and enabling a remote workforce. Blockchain technology eliminates the middleman, enabling mobile transactions to be conducted by two parties, thereby reducing the attack footprint. Likewise, recording transactions and communication between connected IoT devices provides the transparency required to identify any malicious activity that may occur. For employees that work from home and from multiple devices, blockchain enables more secure collaboration and by default, increased productivity.
As it stands, concerns about security are the major inhibitor to the adoption of any web-based technology. Going forward, transparent, decentralized records that not only track, but verify the validity of all steps of communications and transactions will be a key component to enable the success of any enterprise mobility strategy. While not failproof in the early stages of development, blockchain technologies will eventually become a standard well beyond the financial services and currency exchange industries, underpinning businesses and the personal lives of all members of the increasingly connected and modern mobile world.