You might be familiar with public blockchains — the underlying technology powering cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin — but not yet sure how private, enterprise blockchain could work for your company. You’re in good company: Blockchain is a whole new world, and innovators are just starting to identify the wide-reaching applications and possibilities for businesses.
At its core, blockchain is a ledger of transactions that is decentralized, secure and immutable. With the introduction of decentralized applications and smart contracts, the possibilities for blockchain have expanded far beyond cryptocurrencies. Blockchain technology can enable any ecosystem of participants — enterprises, machines or individuals — to securely exchange and distribute goods, services, data and currency with assurances of transparency, accuracy, and security. These assurances enable myriad uses cases in supply chain digitization, smart cities and intelligent infrastructure, and manufacturing 3.0.
Today, however, many enterprise blockchains are running in the cloud and often in a single datacenter. This goes against the philosophy that blockchains should be fully decentralized and opens up security risks associated with managing data in a single location. Cisco believes the next generation of enterprise blockchain systems should be fully decentralized and offer hybrid deployment models, where blockchain nodes can be on-premise behind firewall systems or use public cloud nodes or some combination of the two.
In addition, business leaders need to think holistically about end-to-end security. A common misconception is that the distributed nature of blockchains makes them inherently secure, and in many ways, they are. However, without the correct design measures, they can be prone to multiple threats, for example through the exploitation of infrastructure-level vulnerabilities. Our approach involves end-to-end security architecture, leveraging analytics that spans the infrastructure layer through to the application layer.
Finally, when evaluating any new enterprise blockchain technology, it is important to consider the ease of adoption. This includes the ease of deploying and managing the network, developing applications with best-in-class tools, and integrating with existing enterprise systems. Our blockchain framework includes interfaces that expose the necessary functionality to perform these objectives, simplifying the process of connecting to existing systems, such as ERP and supply chain management systems.
Cisco is building a comprehensive foundation for enterprise blockchain technology that brings together our strengths in network automation, distributed systems architecture as well as capabilities around security, identity, and cryptography. If you’d like to learn more visit us at: cisco.com/go/blockchain