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With cyber threats coming from all directions, managed service providers (MSPs) need as many mitigation measures as possible. One often overlooked area is the emergence of blockchain technology as a cybersecurity tool. Several software solutions incorporate blockchain and have become more affordable and accessible.

For people unfamiliar with blockchain, it is a methodology and technology that securely shares information by recording transactions in a public ledger across a network of computers. The ledger consists of blocks of data that link together forming a “chain”, that are chronologically consistent and nearly impossible to tamper with. The technology’s encryption and impenetrability make it a favorite of cybersecurity specialists.

Experts weigh in

Abhishek Shankar is currently CEO at Mybabybridge, which merges AI solutions with fertility issues, and founded the blockchain startup Majime. He thinks blockchain is a tool that MSPs should consider due to the secure storage component that makes it appealing to cybersecurity specialists.

MSPs and CISOs can leverage blockchain to securely record and store critical cybersecurity-related data, such as access logs, security incidents, and system configuration,” Shankar states. “I can tell you from experience that blockchain is a great way to keep records of any kind.”

He adds, “It will keep sensitive data out of the hands of cybercriminals, and it ensures the integrity and authenticity of the data.” Shankar also says blockchain can have many other uses, noting that “MSPs and CISOs can utilize blockchain-based identity solutions to enhance authentication processes, reduce the risk of identity theft, and improve overall security posture.”

While endpoints can still pose risks, once the data is in the chain, it becomes impenetrable, and if there is tampering at the endpoints, it can be relatively easy to track. “Tampering with data at the origin and destination can occur. To track and verify the origin, authenticity, and integrity of products or components, or mitigating the risk of supply chain tampering or infiltration, blockchains come into play,” Shankar explains.

Other experts agree that blockchain is emerging as an important tool for MSPs.

John Price describes blockchain technology to enhance data integrity and security through a decentralized and immutable ledger system. “In a blockchain, data is grouped into blocks, and each block is chained to the next block using cryptographic principles. This structure makes it extremely difficult for anyone to alter data once it has been recorded on the blockchain.”

Price adds that for data security, this means once information is entered into the blockchain, it cannot be altered or deleted by unauthorized parties, ensuring the data’s integrity and trustworthiness. He says, “This property is especially valuable in scenarios requiring strict audit trails, such as financial transactions, medical records, and legal documents.”

This can be especially valuable for MSPs with clients in the financial or legal vertical. Price also believes blockchain excels in identity and access management (IAM).

Traditional IAM systems often rely on centralized databases that store sensitive information, which can be a single point of failure and vulnerable to attacks,” Price says, adding that blockchain introduces a decentralized approach where identities are verified through a consensus mechanism, eliminating the need for a central authority.

“Each user identity can be uniquely encrypted and stored on the blockchain, making it nearly impossible to forge. This method not only reduces the risk of identity theft but also enhances user privacy and control over personal data,” says Price, adding that this is a huge benefit in an age of email compromise and deepfakes.

Price states that blockchain also shines in its transparency and immutability, qualities that are beneficial for tracking the lifecycle of security events and ensuring that records are verifiable and unchanged over time.

“Each transaction on a blockchain has a timestamp and links to the previous transaction, which allows for a traceable history that can be audited by authorized parties but cannot be modified,” Price says, adding that this level of transparency and accountability is crucial for sectors like cybersecurity incident management, where understanding the chain of events can help in forensic analysis and compliance reporting, ensuring all actions are accountable and traceable.

Blockchain is a boon to IoT security

As the number of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices grows exponentially, so do the security challenges associated with them.

“Blockchain provides a promising solution to enhance the security framework for IoT ecosystems,” Price says, adding that by leveraging the tool, each device can be uniquely identified and authenticated in a decentralized manner, reducing the risks of a single point of failure that traditional centralized systems suffer from.

He adds, “Blockchain can facilitate secure, automatic transactions between devices without human intervention, known as smart contracts. These can manage device permissions and data access in a secure, immutable manner, thereby reducing vulnerabilities and enhancing security in the IoT space.” So, whether it is smart contracts or smartphones, MSPs would do well to give blockchain another look!

Photo: Deemerwha studio / Shutterstock

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Kevin Williams

Posted by Kevin Williams

Kevin Williams is a journalist based in Ohio. Williams has written for a variety of publications including the Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and others. He first wrote about the online world in its nascent stages for the now defunct “Online Access” Magazine in the mid-90s.

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