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How Blockchain Can Solve IoT’s Security Problem

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, staying up to date on the latest phrases and terminology can feel like a chore. Although you have likely…

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, staying up to date on the latest phrases and terminology can feel like a chore. Although you have likely heard the words ‘IoT,’ meaning Internet of Things such as Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ or a Bluetooth speaker, and Blockchain, commonly associated with Bitcoin, you may not actually understand their true meaning. However, both of these emerging technologies have the potential to change our worlds, and sooner than you might think.

Through this article, we will state our case for how Blockchain can solve a major issue that is currently holding IoT back from reaching its full potential. Our hope is that through putting the right measures in place, we can ensure the security of user data across the globe. Not only that but by combining the two, we can create a better experience for everyone involved. Let’s take a look.

blockchain security

The Problem

Last year alone, there was a 31% increase in the amount of connected IoT devices globally, bringing the number somewhere close to 8 billion. By 2020, that number is estimated to reach 20 billion devices. With each of these devices, there is a risk of someone hacking or augmenting the connection, allowing for malware to enter the system and compromise the entire network. This is why IoT security is such a big deal when it comes to the future of the technology.

In fact, according to a recent overview of IoT security, the consulting firm Accenture stated that “the urgency for viable IoT security solutions grows by the day. At front-of-mind for many businesses and government leaders lies the same, nagging question: What do we need to do to secure the IoT?” Our solution is found in another emerging technology, Blockchain, which at its core is about protecting data and keeping a tight seal on security.

Combining Blockchain and IoT

For those who aren’t already familiar with how Blockchain works, imagine a GoogleDoc spread across your organization. Each person has the GoogleDoc on their computer and can view and edit it until it is finished. However, once it is decided by the group that it is completed, no changes can be made and this information becomes locked in. The only way that changes can be made is if each and every person with access were to log in and agree to the changes. This, in a simplified form, is how a Blockchain keeps data accurate and secure.

Now, imagine combining this technology with IoT. Each time that someone connects with a wireless device that is connected to the IoT network, for them to make changes, it would have to be approved by the other parties involved. Otherwise, they will not be able to touch anything and in some cases, even see any of the data. Not only can this prevent hackers from accessing every device on a given network and the data within, but having a Blockchain IoT system opens up a world of possibilities for improving both technologies.

blockchain iot

Benefits of a combined Blockchain and IoT system

Along with improving the security of IoT networks, Blockchain technology has the potential to improve functionality across the board. In fact, by combining these two technologies, there are plenty of benefits that would come with this pairing outside of heightened data security measures. For instance:

· By operating through a Blockchain, IoT networks won’t need to use a third party. This will lead to less operating costs, faster speeds, and the elimination of a single point of failure, something that still currently exists within most IoT platforms.
· Setting up an IoT system can be complicated. Thankfully, Blockchain offers a distributed ledger that is well suited to provide IoT device identification, authentication and seamless data transfer.
· IoT devices are directly addressable with Blockchain, providing a history of connected devices for troubleshooting purposes.

And these are just naming a few. If this sort of technology were to become more widespread, who knows what kind of new benefits and use cases would emerge! It all comes down to creating the right solution.

The Solution

The great thing about this is that we aren’t the first people to come up with these solutions. There are already numerous projects trying to combine the strengths of both technologies, hoping to override the weaknesses of the other. For IoT, as Accenture stated, they are currently lacking the security that would make the tech viable across a wider distribution. There is still a great deal of skepticism surrounding blockchain and this collaboration would be a good step in the right direction to legitimize both technologies.

As we continue to push technology forward, it will be combinations and integrations that will help us continue to remain efficient and effective across all channels. By having these conversations now, we can use the tools at our disposal for a greater end than the sum of its parts and create a better tomorrow for all.

Author Bio:

Nathan Ellwood is a technology writer and marketing coordinator for Snyxius Technologies. Find more of his work and his company at Snyxius.com or simply follow him on LinkedIn for the latest on IoT, Blockchain, and more!

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