The list of blockchain uses cases grows longer each day. And that is because blockchain, also referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), is proving to be cheaper, more secure, faster and more reliable compared to centralized server backends.
In this post, we cover several blockchain use cases that could help enterprises to improve their system processes significantly, cut their costs, and change the way they deliver value to their customers.
Implementing change in an organization is not only a delicate process, but it also often involves many actors who may have very differing views. And that makes a change management application a critical component. It helps to track and guide the change to avoid mishaps as well as facilitate the stakeholders to find consensus on essential elements.
The blockchain provides a superior technological solution. In addition to helping track, every change on an immutable ledger, it makes it possible that a threshold vote by, for example, the change advisory board (CAB) committee can trigger a particular piece of change through smart contract application.
An organization must keep track of its entire information technology architecture. It should know at any point what devices are connected, what new applications have been deployed, or what continuous integration is happening. It is also important that appropriate device credential provisioning is done.
All this is usually done through the Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs). It turns out, however, that with traditional CMDBs, the updates often have to be manually done whenever there is a change in system configuration. This can be quite a hustle, especially with other tasks to be attended to. It can also be a high-cost item.
The blockchain as a Distributed Ledger (DL) can help fix this problem better than other solutions out there. First, it can automate all CMDB processes in a way that safeguards accountability, trust and thorough discovery. Second, every piece of record is given secure address and protected through the immutability nature of distributed ledgers as well as through the cryptographic aspect of the technology.
One way systems are often compromised is through foreign devices that are introduced to the network. Malware can be planted in the system this way. Unfortunately, it is not easy to physically stop employees from connecting new devices to the network. And to be fair to them, often they are not doing this with malicious intent. The majority of times, they just want to retrieve, backup or update a file. Nevertheless, their actions end up jeopardizing the network.
The blockchain can offer a decentralized ledger on which all devices that join the network are registered. The system can be configured so that either new devices are flagged for follow up or denied a public address (public key) they need to be part of the network.
According to numerous studies, when employees are involved in decision making, they are likely to be more committed and enthusiastic at their work, which translates to productivity. However, the conventional governance structure that is mainly hierarchical does not work well for this purpose.
The blockchain provides tools that can be used to get everyone involved in decision making in a way that does not derail the organization. Through a decentralized application, members of staff can not only propose changes but also vote on what others have put forward.
When a particular suggestion passes a stipulated vote threshold, a smart contract will trigger the implementation process. Decentralized anonymous organizations like MakerDAO are already using this kind of governance structure.
You might not subject all decisions to this process, but having even less important ones made this way can motivate employees.
The nature of the Internet of Things is that devices are always online transacting and sharing data with others. That opens the room for possible security threats to the network. It is possible that in the Internet of Things, even a seemingly innocuous device like a bulb can be a source of danger to your network.
Through the blockchain, devices on the Internet of Things can be appropriately addressed and enable to establish measured interactions with the rest of the world. In particular, the technology makes it possible that a device can share only information necessary for a transaction. This safeguards the overall privacy of your network.
Systems that use server backends are more difficult to protect than those that are running on top of the blockchain. That is the case, in particular, because centralized systems end up having single points of failure.
Meanwhile, to compromise a blockchain system, one has to attack every computer on the peer-to-peer network. That requires a lot more resources, and success is not guaranteed even then — besides, the technology employees high-level cryptography as a second layer of security.
With the rise of other new technologies, in particular, big data, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), the vulnerability of systems increases. The blockchain is the perfect technology to serve as the backend for or because of these new technologies as it provides improved security through immutability of data, continuous consensus by a wide community and robust cryptography.
It is also best suited for implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), where a compromised device is detected and isolated. It can also be used to implement the Zero Trust Framework (or Architecture). In a nutshell, automating the policy of “never trust, always verify.” That means using a publicly accessible device address, and the user can verify their authenticity using a corresponding private key. Besides, it inspires trust by making devices to only share what they need to for a transaction at hand.
With a casual look, it may seem like we can solve all the issues mentioned above with conventional (centralized) technology. However, you should note that centralized systems are most vulnerable because of the single points of failure they contain. Blockchain removes single points of failure and even further improves system security using cryptography and smart contracts. Meanwhile, it assures users of their privacy by limiting the amount of data that can be shared.