Introduction to Blockchain in Enterprise Security

BY: EMMANUEL URÍAS

The use of blockchain has been changing over time. Its most frequent use has been as a secure, immutable and reliable system in operations or commercial transactions within the business sector with cryptocurrencies, in fact, it arose jointly with Bitcoin. However, its essential characteristics have caused companies from different contexts to become part of this technology. For example, one can think about the academic certification of the educational sector or the relationship between clients and insurance brokers.

Currently, there is concern about the security in the companies that plan to use Blockchain, given that compliance with the new data protection measures, conditioning the way in which it can be implemented. Let’s see then what it is about.

What is Blockchain and how does it work?

As the name implies, this technology uses distributed databases, in which chain blocks are stored, and where each block is linked to the previous one once it has been verified by the consensus of different users who do not know each other. After published or recorded, each chain remains unchanged through a process called trusted timestamping.

For a better understanding, think of the database as a ledger, in which different accounting assistants can make accounting entries. When each accounting entry is registered, it is linked to the previous entries, thus modifying the balance of each page, which would be analogous to the block chains. Once the registration is done, it can’t be altered. However, there is the possibility of reviewing the trace of all the records made in the book.

Blockchain and Enterprise Security

The main aspects that make Blockchain a safe and reliable system are:

  1. Each node or user in the verification chain works independently, and until they don’t reach an agreement about the validity of the transactions, they are not published. Obviously, this makes the process reliable.
  2. Transactions should not wait for conciliation cameras, because they are performed almost in real time and in a redundant manner, making sure that there is an extra level of security and speed in the processes.
  3. The class of blockchain can be public, where everyone can see the trace and information of the transactions, providing confidence to be able to verify the immutability of the records. Regarding the confidentiality of the companies, they select what information to make visible in the chains of records, and in the extreme case, there is the possibility of using a private or hybrid blockchain. That is, companies decide the level of security.

How to reinforce the security of the companies when using Blockchain?

The question is reduced to what type of Blockchain to use and if there are alternatives to possible security breaches.

Some people think that it’s better to use private class Blockchain instead of hybrid or public; due to the transparency of the data that the latter two offer. However, there are options that allow using the public type without overlooking the system’s security and trust.

For example, encrypted data could be inserted in the block chains, reserving for the security team of the company the right to supply the keys to decipher the information, to those entities that it has decided to authorize.

Another possibility would be to use public Blockchain services and entrust the keys to private servers. However, this would be like going backward, because the main advantage that Blockchain is supposed to have is the elimination of third-party control in the transaction information. The trend seems to be that in order to comply with regulations on data protection, not all information can be transmitted through public Blockchain.

Probably, those who develop this technology will know how to overcome the difficulties. In any case, the biggest obstacle is the fear of the unknown, because the resilience of people in business is needed to abandon traditional methods of transactions. Of course, now we are talking about a sense of security from another perspective that merits different ways of dealing with it.