The digitization of the business organisations leads to the digitization of identity. From personal information to professional certifications, the need for identity information and credentials is constantly increasing. Usually, identity information is monitored and verified by third parties, whether government or the private sector. But faltering confidence and new tools challenge these structures.
Many companies from the public and private sectors, believe that blockchain can add value to their operations. It offers transparent visibility and an immutable, time-stamped record of contracts. Each “block” of information in a chain is stored across a wide array of networked computers — a full blockchain never exists in its entirety on any single device — making it nearly impossible to falsify information in a blockchain.
What is a Blockchain and how it is related to IAM?
According to our partner, IBM, Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible (a house, car, cash, land) or intangible (intellectual property, patents, copyrights, branding). Virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network, reducing risk and cutting costs for all involved.
Identity management with blockchain works in a different way. There is no centralized database, instead, information is stored over a peer-to-peer type environment, by adopting a decentralized framework. The data is stored immutably in publicly owned blocks over the network. This solution provides flexibility, security and privacy for data management with reliable authentication and integrity check.
The Role of Blockchain in Identity and Access Management
The role of blockchain in identity management is to provide a means to verify identities, control access, and ensure the integrity the data and transactions. Everything stored in the database is publicly owned and immutable. Traditionally, effective IAM has been a challenge for large corporations for several reasons. Firstly, digital credentials are frequently a target of fraud and other cybercrime. Furthermore, siloed data creates a high potential for error, unnecessary overhead, and increased vulnerability to fraud. These issues are only exacerbated by the fact that traditional IAM measures are incredibly difficult to scale.
It is essential for business leaders to understand that balancing easy information access with strong, scalable security measures requires a highly dynamic system — one that blockchain is ideally positioned to power. Blockchain offers several major advantages over traditional means of IAM:
- Improves Identity and Access Management
While we are fully aware that employee error is the primary cause of credential theft which are centrally stored and managed, the technology can store credentials on the blockchain in a decentralized manner reducing system intrusion risks and access fraud as hackers will have to attack multiple points of entry to access the data.
- Track changes
Blockchain can help ensure that data is not changed without authorization or stolen. If you change any part of the blockchain, it is permanent, and you can’t remove it from the database. Furthermore, changes or new data will not remove or replace old data but rather will be recorded at the top of the blockchain with ownership and a time stamp which makes it trackable in case of an attack to trace back to the source.
- Ensure redundancy
A blockchain is distributed and omni-present. Because various computers store a copy of the blockchain data, in case of accidental and intentional tampering, you can find the original information in other sources.
- Prevent cyberattacks
DDoS attacks are common cyberattacks which aim to bring business systems down and make them unavailable by flooding requests. DDoS attacks are easy because parts of the domain name system (DNS) is store centrally and is susceptible to attacks and theft which can be used to bring systems down. Decentralized blockchain will prevent DNS theft and prevent DDoS attacks. Also, since any block change in the blockchain must be verified with the remaining of the blocks, attacks will be detected quickly and contained by keeping bad data out of the system.