How organizations can use blockchain technology to enhance cybersecurity

By Rose de Fremery

| Banking

If you’ve been following the latest technology news, you know blockchain is having a moment. This innovative technology stands to revolutionize the way banks securely conduct financial transactions. Although the global blockchain market accounted for just $315.9 million in 2015, Transparency Market Research predicts it will soar to $20 billion by 2024.

Blockchain technology has the potential to change how enterprises secure and manage their mobile devices. Here’s why blockchain is captivating the business community and why your company might be using it soon:

What is blockchain technology?

A blockchain is a distributed ledger of transactions. These transactions are arranged sequentially in blocks that use cryptographic validation to chain themselves together. According to Ars Technica, each block references and identifies the previous block through a hashing function, forming an unbroken chain. A blockchain is distributed across multiple locations through a peer-to-peer network, meaning no one has a master copy and no one can tamper with the records. Each entry into the ledger is irreversible, and anyone with access to it can see exactly the same transaction history as everyone else. A blockchain is a digital audit trail that provides an authoritative and incontrovertible record of events that have taken place.

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Although some people might assume a blockchain is a form of cryptocurrency, it’s actually the underlying architecture of trust that makes bitcoin transactions possible in the first place. Blockchain use cases span a wide range of scenarios, from real estate to supply chain management to contract management and beyond. With trust in digital transactions more critical than ever, blockchain might well represent a golden opportunity for enterprises to conduct business with greater confidence, transparency and security.

Blockchain’s potential for mobile cybersecurity

This technology is a game-changer for the financial services industry, and 90 percent of North American and European banks are currently exploring blockchain solutions. It also offers some promising use cases for mobile cybersecurity. In fact, as Engadget reports, the world’s first blockchain smartphone is already under development. Although that particular device is aimed at the cryptography community, it represents an interesting proof of concept for how blockchain could be directly incorporated into smartphones to provide more secure, trustworthy payments.

You don’t need to seek out a blockchain smartphone in order to successfully use blockchain on a mobile device, though. Existing applications already allow smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices to operate blockchain technology. For example, there are mobile applications that facilitate secure cross-border blockchain payments, which reduce the costs of initiating global payments. Consumers can use them to transfer funds into mobile wallets, enjoying greater trust in the security of their transactions while on the go.

Businesses could also use blockchain to validate the source of mobile applications and their updates, thereby enhancing the security of their corporate mobile devices. Although it wouldn’t be able to prevent malware from entering a device through a validated application such as a browser, it would at least prevent a user from loading an application or making unauthorized changes that would compromise the device’s security. This could improve secure collaboration between colleagues working in different locations, enhancing an enterprise’s productivity.

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Other possible use cases for blockchain

Of course, the future holds plenty of other interesting use cases for blockchain. Businesses grappling with IoT security issues will be glad to know blockchain can help in this area. Blockchain’s built-in defense against data tampering is appealing from an IoT data governance perspective, as enterprises face increasing concerns about data security as information transfers between IoT devices and the cloud. Blockchain could provide a stronger method for verifying the identities of IoT devices and preventing malicious hackers or rogue devices from altering or corrupting critical data streams.

Blockchain could also solidify contracts and agreements IT supervises. For example, a business could use blockchain to record user agreements with employees regarding expectations for acceptable mobile device use, whether that’s in a BYOD context or in a scenario involving corporate-owned devices. Businesses could even apply blockchain to contracts concerning third-party service providers’ use and protection of enterprise data, specifying how to safeguard data as it travels through third-party mobile applications.

At first glance, blockchain might appear to be just a simple mechanism for recording and validating financial transactions, but it’s so much more. Trust is fundamental for any business endeavor, and it’s harder to come by in an uncertain digital environment where cybersecurity faces deep challenges going forward. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with blockchain and its many applications for trust-based digital record-keeping, now is an excellent time to begin learning about this fascinating technology’s potential.

Written By

Rose de Fremery

Writer

Rose de Fremery is a New York-based writer. She currently covers business IT topics such as technology innovation, mobile strategy, unified communications, CRM and marketing automation, IT management, and the virtual workforce for HP, Intel, Vonage, and IBM Mobile Business Insights.…

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