As we all know, the traditional approach to keeping your digital information secure is by building a 'wall', or ‘firewall,' around your data. Inevitably, this means the data is vulnerable to people who can find ways to penetrate the walls you build.

In a recent Tripwire article entitled “A Hacker’s Perspective on Cyber Security” they highlighted the issue that just like cyber security professionals are constantly looking for ways to develop better and more secure software programs, hackers are always staying on top of the newest updates to overcome the latest defences.

Perhaps more alarming is how effective today's hackers are at breaking your defences;

“A recent Nuix Black Report surveyed 70 of the world’s best professional hackers and found that 88 percent of hackers can break into their desired system and get through cyber security defenses in 12 hours or less. It only takes an additional 12 hours for 81 percent of hackers to find and take valuable data.”

So will Blockchain technology solve your supply chain security concerns?

Well, we know that Blockchain technology does not allow changes to data once it is written unless all or a majority of nodes in the network agree to the change. We also know, cryptographic keys are combined with data held at each network node, and no single point on the network holds all of the data, making it a significant departure from the traditional ‘walled’ approach, and decreasing the possibility of backdoor transaction tampering to nearly zero. While securing a single data asset is important, we must also consider securing the 'end to end' transaction to mitigate supply chain fraud as well as helping meet regulatory requirements.   

Given the interest and investment being made by Financial Services organisations, you would assume Blockchain technology is robust, proven and secure.

In 2016 Gartner published their “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2016” which indicated Blockchain had just entered the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectation’ but more recently “Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017” indicated Blockchain as ‘Trend No.6’ and something to keep an eye on.

And here is the problem. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Blockchain is very much an emerging technology and you can’t yet purchase packaged Blockchain solutions for supply chain or many areas beyond a limited set of Financial Services use cases. There will continue to be a lot of hype as with all emerging technologies, but there are limited examples where Blockchain solution have been deployed and even less that have reported tangible benefits. While Blockchain technologies offer a significant step forward in securing distributed ledger data I am sure there is a hacker out there waiting to exploit any potential vulnerabilities in a custom deployment. 

At this point in the evolution of Blockchain technologies I would say that if you are risk-tolerant or traditionally an early adopter of emerging technologies, you should consider how Blockchain initiatives could help mitigate risk within your supply chain as it may be the answer to your problem.