January 10, 2019 by Siobhan Climer
In a recent analysis of 2018 technology trends, IDG influencers shared a common belief that of the many passing fancies in the technology world, blockchain remained the most poorly understood. While the promise of blockchain is enticing, it is – like its many trendy technology predecessors – misrepresented. Whether you think it only belongs to the world of bitcoin or that it will solve your every security woe, blockchain likely has broader applications with more realistic returns than much of the blockchain hype would have you think.
Enterprise organizations can afford the risk of investment in this sort of tech. They can afford to perform due diligence and research, hire the right people to learn and manage tools, and lose a little if the tech doesn’t work as advertised. SMBs, on the other hand, must be more strategic in their technology investments. This is why many SMBs today still do not have cloud solutions or complete security systems.
The trouble is that failure to adopt the right technology can lead to larger, lasting gaps between the SMB and enterprise organizations. DevOps teams, therefore, must be able to see through the murky marketing of technologies to their juicy ROI centers.
This begs the question of blockchain for SMBs: what is blockchain – really – and does it belong in your organization’s security posture?
Here’s a quick overview. Blockchain enables transactions of any nature, whether currency or information, to be stored in an unalterable and transparent shared ledger.
- Transaction is initiated.
- Transaction represented as a block.
- Block broadcast to network.
- Network validates block.
- Block added to chain of other blocks in shared ledger.
- Transaction is completed.
Fig. 1: How Blockchain Works
Benefits Of Blockchain For SMBs
While blockchain is predominantly used to verify cryptocurrency transactions – and using blockchain for financial transactions isn’t a bad idea – blockchain has many other immediate benefits to the SMB.
- Send and receive payments
- Smart contracts
- Distributed cloud storage
- Identity verification
- Supply Chain Security
Let’s look at digital supply networks, for example. Supply chains are a hot target for hackers. These complex, open networks offer plenty of opportunities as gaps between partners persist. Hackers excel at exploiting those gaps, gaining access via third parties, and targeting rich data sets to sell on the dark web.
The immutable, public nature of the blockchain shared ledger enables all elements of the supply chain to verify product steps and security protocols. For SMBs, who are more likely to extend elements of their team using vendors to support specific initiatives, this verification is essential.
Obstacles To Blockchain Adoption
Deloitte recently identified some of the largest hurdles businesses will need to overcome in order to adopt blockchain for SMBs. At the top of the list is transaction or operational latency. In an age where convenience and speed are everything, delays on the operational side can significantly impact returns.
A lack of standardization amongst blockchain providers also leaves SMBs at risk of signing on to a tool only to find it does not operate with other aspects of the business. Overall, blockchain is still relatively new. Mistakes and the inevitable headaches will follow. Changes in federal or industry regulations will require business agility. Adopting blockchain for SMBs will mean some risk on the part of technology leaders.
Blockchain For SMBs Is A Work-in-Progress
Whether you’re ready to dive head-first into what will likely be a technology as disruptive as the cloud, or if you feel the need to test the waters a bit before investing, it is important to take the time to analyze your security posture. Determining how blockchain – or multi-factor authentication, zero-trust security models, and agile cloud-delivery methods – fit into your security model are essential to preparing your business for the risks of tomorrow. Take the Mindsight Tech Roadmap assessment to align business goals to business actions and contact us today.
Like what you read?
Mindsight, a Chicago IT services provider, is an extension of your team. Our culture is built on transparency and trust, and our team is made up of extraordinary people – the kinds of people you would hire. We have one of the largest expert-level engineering teams delivering the full spectrum of IT services and solutions, from cloud to infrastructure, collaboration to contact center. Our highly-certified engineers and process-oriented excellence have certainly been key to our success. But what really sets us apart is our straightforward and honest approach to every conversation, whether it is for an emerging business or global enterprise. Our customers rely on our thought leadership, responsiveness, and dedication to solving their toughest technology challenges.
About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She previously taught STEM programs in elementary classrooms and museums, and writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin two-year old daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.