As enterprise data infrastructure becomes more complex, new vulnerabilities are emerging that could jeopardize those companies’ data assets. “Enterprise attack surfaces are expanding,” as Gartner describes. “Organizations must look beyond traditional approaches to security monitoring, detection and response to manage a wider set of security exposures.”
Modern cybersecurity threats continue to increase in sophistication and severity as bad actors attempt to take advantage of those vulnerabilities. Businesses are looking for new ways to protect themselves as a result.
One technology that is gaining traction as a potential contributor to cybersecurity solutions is blockchain. “The decentralized, consensus-driven, trustless nature of blockchain makes it naturally resilient to attack,” as Forbes described in March 2022. With blockchain, “it may be possible to stop fighting hackers on their terms and beat them at their own game.”
Indeed, blockchain has the potential to revolutionize cybersecurity. Its unique features offer several advantages over traditional security technologies. This includes its distributed nature, which could limit and protect attack surfaces beyond the capabilities of some centralized cybersecurity models common today.
Cybersecurity applications for blockchain are still in development. Even so, enterprise business leaders can begin considering how they might use blockchain to protect their data and systems. In this article, we explore these potential benefits over traditional security technologies. We also provide recommendations for enterprise leaders on how they can adopt blockchain for cybersecurity in the future.
Blockchain and the Evolution of Cyber Threats
Blockchain is a distributed database that allows for secure, transparent, and tamper-proof transactions. Blockchain was originally developed as the underlying technology for Bitcoin, the world’s first viable cryptocurrency. But since its launch in 2009, blockchain has been used to power a variety of different applications beyond cryptocurrency. These include smart contracts, supply chain management technologies, and identity management solutions, among others. In time, blockchain may transform cybersecurity much as it transformed these other core business functions.
But one must first consider the evolution of modern cyberattacks to understand blockchain’s true potential for cybersecurity. Specifically, cybercrime has evolved to become highly professionalized; criminals are more likely to be motivated by financial gain. They are using increasingly sophisticated methods to carry out their attacks, including AI-driven technologies whose capabilities surpass even advanced threats from just a few years ago.
Meanwhile, traditional cybersecurity technologies—including antivirus software, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems—have notable limitations. They are often reactive rather than proactive. They also tend to be centralized, which can make them vulnerable to attack.
Cybersecurity teams are feeling the brunt of these changes. They are struggling to keep pace with the volume and sophistication of attacks. In fact, 70% of security operations center (SOC) teams are “overwhelmed by threat volume” and even “suffering from high levels of stress outside of the working day,” Security Magazine reports.
Blockchain’s Pathway to Cybersecurity Applications
Blockchain is distinct in its advantages; the technology can be used to create tamper-proof digital records and secure data sharing. In principle, these features make blockchain an ideal technology for cybersecurity use cases. Blockchain could help “secure, prevent fraudulent activities through consensus mechanisms, and detect data tampering based on its underlying characteristics of immutability, transparency, auditability, data encryption & operational resilience (including no single point of failure),” as several experts describe.
Blockchain may contribute to better workflows for overburdened enterprise cybersecurity teams as well. “Decisive new security and risk technologies will transform day-to-day work for security practitioners,” Forrester describes. “These new technologies will use automation to deliver security in new ways, such as blockchain to verify data integrity or encrypting data in use.”
Five Advantages Blockchain Can Provide Cybersecurity
As suggested, blockchain’s unique features make it well-suited for proactively protecting against modern cyber threats. Here is a closer look at how some of those characteristics can help
. Blockchain is a decentralized technology. A blockchain is not centrally controlled by any one entity. Instead, blockchain data is spread across a network of computers (i.e., nodes). This makes it much more difficult for hackers to tamper with data, as they would need to gain control of a majority of nodes to do so—”something that is, by design, computationally expensive,” as Forbes described in March 2022. “This computational cost can be extended to other types of operations in a security scheme, reducing the need for a trusted central authority.”
. Blockchain uses a consensus-based model. This means that all transactions must be approved by a majority of users on the network before they can be processed. This makes it very difficult for attackers to tamper with data or carry out unauthorized transactions.
. Blockchain is a transparent technology. All transactions are recorded on a public ledger, visible to everyone on the network. This makes it easy to track and trace activity. Cybersecurity teams can leverage this transparency to create an audit trail, which can be useful for tracking down cybersecurity incidents.
. Blockchain is a tamper-proof technology. blockchain is immutable, meaning once data has been recorded on the blockchain, it cannot be changed or deleted. This makes it an ideal platform for storing sensitive data such as passwords and personal information. Its immutability makes it very difficult for attackers to cover their tracks as well.
. Finally, blockchain is a secure technology. Blockchain data is encrypted and can only be accessed with a private key. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to access data.
For SOC and security teams, these features can be game-changing. Blockchain has the potential to help them proactively protect against cybersecurity threats, rather than reactively responding to attacks. For cybersecurity teams looking for an edge in the fight against cybercrime, blockchain may be an unprecedented opportunity.
Although these features make blockchain a promising technology for cybersecurity, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed before security technology providers can apply it in their enterprise-grade solutions. For example:
. Scalability: Due to its distributed nature, blockchain can only process a limited number of transactions per second. This is not sufficient for applications that require high throughput, such as real-time payment systems.
. Privacy: While transparency is a key feature of blockchain, it also means that data stored on the blockchain is public. This could be a problem for applications that require private data, such as medical records.
. Interoperability: Blockchain is still a relatively new technology. As such, there are few standards for how it should be used. This lack of standards makes it difficult for different blockchain networks to communicate with each other.
Start Asking Questions about Blockchain in Security
Most mainstream cybersecurity technology providers are yet to deliver blockchain-based solutions. But senior cybersecurity and digital transformation leaders can begin asking questions today about how blockchain could be used to improve their cybersecurity posture. Indeed, inquiry and experimentation will be essential as CISOs and other cybersecurity leaders “drive their organizations through digital transformation and lead business growth,” as Gartner describes.
By staying informed and experimenting with blockchain, you can position your enterprise to be at the forefront of this exciting new development in cybersecurity. As solutions emerge, begin experimenting with blockchain in small, low-risk projects. These experiments will help you better understand the potential of blockchain and how it can be applied to cybersecurity. In time, you may realize you’re at the forefront of enterprise cybersecurity, with a technology that has the potential to change the cybersecurity landscape as we know it.
Partner with Uvation for Your Most Innovative Blockchain Initiatives
If you would like to learn more about blockchain’s potential for cybersecurity, or you’re interested in blockchain applications more broadly, Uvation can help. Contact one of our blockchain experts today.