After the COVID-19 pandemic, companies will rely on technology and data like never before. However, there’s a caveat to this: Digital transformation is certainly critical for adapting to the new normal, but it has an unfortunate side effect — an increase in cyber risk.
Companies should be excited about digital transformation, of course, but they also need to be on guard. In a 2020 survey, 82% of respondents blamed at least one cybersecurity incident in the last year on their digital transformation efforts. In 55% of the cases, a third party was involved, which highlights another risk created by an expanding digital footprint. Similarly, ransomware attacks are expected to hit companies this year at a pace of one every 11 seconds, and by the end of 2021, ransomware will steal around $20 billion.
All in all, 2020 was the year when attitudes around new technology reached a tipping point, and companies decided to finally commit to widespread digitization. Nevertheless, the last year has also highlighted the chasms between adopting promising technologies and laying the extra groundwork necessary for security.
How Digital Transformation Creates Security Weak Spots
We can tie these mounting threats back to digital transformation. After all, more technology means more targets for hackers, but many companies are rushing to complete their digital transformation without making a proportional effort to boost their digital defenses.
As companies become increasingly reliant on technology, ransomware has more ways to infect an organization. Even worse, when technology “drives” a company, ransomware attacks that prohibit access to apps and data have devastating consequences that companies will pay almost any sum to stop. In that way, hackers are using digital transformation against companies — and technology becomes an immense vulnerability rather than a strength.
Although cybersecurity concerns might make digital transformation more complicated, they don’t doom it to failure. In fact, blockchain’s many use cases help ensure a company transforms into something more secure than it was before.
Use Cases for Blockchain That Boost Cybersecurity
Blockchain’s use cases already factor into a significant number of digital transformation plans, but not typically for the purposes of cybersecurity. That oversight could be costly because blockchain fits naturally into enterprise cybersecurity architecture — and it could be fundamental to digital transformation in the process.
Blockchain is a good approach to improve data security due to its decentralized nature, high level of encryption, and ability to ensure data remains private as necessary. However, it’s also
important to note that while blockchain creates another level of security, it does not eliminate or reduce other best practices around security. In other words, it’s an integral building block in your quest toward organizational safety.
We could spend pages highlighting all the ways in which cybersecurity and blockchain intersect. To get a broad sense of how blockchain use cases boost digital protections, however, consider these examples:
Massive numbers of connected devices will start supplying companies with data from different parts of their operations — from the most important to the most opaque. Of course, this broadens the number of potential targets available to nefarious actors.
Among the business use cases for blockchain is using distributed ledgers to authorize and transact with IoT devices at the edge. Because this data can only be amended (and not altered or deleted), it’s much more secure. Blockchains can also apply IoT data to smart contracts and automatically administer the contract details according to the data coming in (think the release of a payment once IoT registers the arrival of a shipment). This demonstrates how blockchain’s use cases can serve as an alternative approach to keeping a company running — even when other aspects of IT might falter because of an accident or attack.
The healthcare industry is extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks because it relies on an extensive number of siloed technologies (many with weak security) and produces highly valuable data (including both medical and financial records). This combination of factors makes it a prime target for hackers.
Blockchain shuts these hackers down by placing sensitive data into a system with asymmetrical encryption, making it nearly impossible to steal. For this reason, the presence of blockchain is enough to deter many hackers who would prefer to chase low-hanging fruit.
In the context of cybersecurity, the business use case for blockchain is highly compelling: It’s effective against numerous attacks and beneficial for other aspects of digital transformation, offensive and defensive factors alike. Put differently, blockchain should be considered in every digital transformation effort, including yours. Now, it’s time to identify some use cases of your own. Visit our services page to learn more, or contact Chainyard here.