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The Potential of Blockchain Technology For IT Consultants – Can It Revolutionise Information Security?

A stylised image showing dollar signs chained together with chain links

When it comes to internet security, the professionals seeking to keep transactions secure can often only be reactive to hackers. New concepts are often introduced, but one that is gaining momentum with IT consultants is blockchain technology.

Blockchain was introduced in 2008 and incorporated into the management of BitCoin transactions the following year, but many now believe the concept might give us a headstart that hackers cannot breach when it comes to information security.

What Is Blockchain?

In simple terms, blockchain is a form of distributed ledger not controlled by a single administrator. Blockchain keeps records of digital transactions through a network of replicated databases, with all transactions (the “blocks”)  visible to anyone accessing that network. Members of a blockchain work to validate transactions as they are made, with transactions then timestamped and added to a chronological, linear chain – in effect, this allows members to prove ownership of currency at any given time, as all new transactions are linked to older transactions in the chain.

One of the major selling points of blockchain is its use of a distributed network. Hackers seek to compromise data by taking advantage of single points of failure in centralised networks. Blockchain is theoretically invulnerable in this regard, as anyone wishing to hack a block in a blockchain would also have to hack every block that preceded it – requiring collusion from almost all the members of a blockchain network.

What Are The Potential Benefits?

Streamlined Data Access For Government And Business

Blockchain has been earmarked as potentially revolutionary in bringing together local, state and federal governments to host open data registries, allowing for better regulatory oversight. This application of blockchain could also reduce the number of stakeholders involved in data access for businesses, reducing costs and improving stakeholder confidence.  A review conducted by CSIRO’s Data61 supported these concepts – Treasurer Scott Morrison lauded the findings of the review, stating the potential of blockchain as ‘profound, in delivering productivity, security and efficiency gains.’

Management Of Devices

At present, devices are secured either by use of a hardware signature placed during manufacturing or by enterprise systems that function above operating systems. The problem with this is if your device falls into the wrong hands, hackers only need to get past a single authentication point to gain control.  When people make transactions in a Blockchain ecosystem, a public record of all transactions is automatically created. Computers verify each transaction with sophisticated algorithms to confirm the transfer of value and create a ledger of all activity. The computers that form the Blockchain network are located throughout the world, and are not owned or controlled by a single entity. The process is real-time and distributed, and this is much more secure than relying on a central authority to verify a transaction.

Revolutionise Licensing Concerns

Presently, license keys are the normal way to verify software purchases. This method can test the patience of IT consultants, as license keys can be stolen, lost or shared online for profit.  Use of blockchain to track licenses would enable more efficient verification of current licensing status and resolve many enquiries over whether an organisation is covered, at the source.

Improved Security

Current information and user management systems store your information in one place, where it can be shared with third parties as necessary or used by you to login to a service.  It also means one central repository where all the data is stored, ripe for data breach assaults.

Utilising blockchain could enhance your online security, precluding the need to store personal information in a single server that is beyond your control. By utilising a decentralised, distributed network for verification and leaving the only set of keys in your hands, successful hacks of millions of user details on the scale that we’ve seen in recent years could be turned into a thing of the past.


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