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Cyber Security Series: How to Navigate Blockchain—The Technology That Could Change Everything

19 January, 2018Jay Schwab

blockchain 2Blockchain has the potential to transform how value is recorded and transferred. The following five features may propel blockchain to become the enabling technology that streamlines manual processes of digital transactions:

  1. Openness
  2. Ability to transact anonymously while ensuring identity
  3. Permanence of transactions
  4. Decentralized infrastructure
  5. Elimination of third-party attestation requirements.

Use of blockchain is not limited to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Instead, blockchains can be developed so that transactions contain ledger entries for public records, land registries, contract information, coupons, vouchers, patents and more.

Of all the emerging technologies we’re currently seeing, blockchain has the potential to have the biggest impact on businesses and society at large,” said Ron Hale, author of ISACA’s Blockchain Fundamentals research report and chief researcher at Cooraclare Institute. “Enterprises are increasingly looking at how they can adopt this technology and revolutionize how they deliver products and services—in fact, LinkedIn data show job postings requiring blockchain skills have tripled in the past year.

According to ISACA’s Blockchain Basics Tech Brief, companies considering blockchain should ask the following five questions:

  1. How does blockchain compare to the current ledger infrastructure? Do enough potential savings exist to justify the investment?
  2. Does our organization have the capabilities required to innovate alongside an emerging technology?
  3. Does joining a blockchain collaborative (e.g., Hyperledger) make sense for our organization, or should we leverage a commercial implementation?
  4. How do we manage the cost per transaction when using a particular blockchain? Is this a fixed price, or does it vary with volume?
  5. Does our organization’s industry group have a blockchain established or on the horizon?

The Blockchain Fundamentals report contends that the current digital world is built on ledger systems that worked well in a physical (analog) paradigm but are expensive and time consuming to address in an Internet-driven and digital world. Blockchain carries transformative potential as a force for innovation.

“Early beneficiaries will likely be found in developing countries that have not invested as heavily in current technologies and infrastructures, and will be able to jump technology generations,” said Hale.

ISACA’s Blockchain Basics Tech Brief, the Blockchain Fundamentals research report, and the elearning course Tech Discovery Series:Blockchain are available at www.isaca.org/blockchain.

To find out more ISACA's Cyber Security Page visit our dedicated page.