“We’re not running off Bitcoin or Ethereum,” said Narayan Neelakantan, co-founder and CEO of Block Armour. “We have used Hyperledger as the base.”
The mentions of Bitcoin and Ethereum refer to the two primary cryptocurrency platforms — built with blockchain technology — that have gained the most traction, so far. These platforms are global in nature, allowing anyone to purchase cryptocurrency.
But aside from these uses, there’s unlimited potential for blockchain within more contained network environments, as is the case with Block Armour’s security technology. It leverages the technology’s inherent authentication functionality to assign digital IDs to users.
With blockchain, Block Armour is able to convert user IDs to digital IDs. While this sounds kind of basic, Neelakantan said this has been a tough nut to crack for vendors of software-defined perimeter (SDP) security. With SDP, users access an enterprise’s servers via their devices. An agent on a user’s device sends an encrypted key to open the server. However, those agents introduce a vulnerability because they’re connected to user names and passwords.
“SDP has a few weaknesses, which can be fortified with blockchain,” said Neelakantan.
Block Armour converts all keypad and agent information to digital IDs. This seems like a logical thing to do. Even if an attacker accesses user credentials, he’ll still need to access the digital IDs.
Although the concept of assigning digital IDs has been around for a couple of decades, it hasn’t been done extensively because it has involved a third-party certification process. “The challenge is the issuing and management of the certificates,” said Neelakantan.
The certifying process today involves an outside party such as Verisign. Or, an enterprise could set up its own certification system, but that has been complicated, too.
“In blockchain the same process gets simplified,” said Neelakantan. “Blockchain allows you to do this in an elegant manner. It’s all digital-ID driven.”
The company says it enhances SDP using private permission-based blockchain, creating what it calls “Blockchain Defined Perimeter (BDP).”
Although Block Armour is only 13 months old, the company has three customers signed up for a pilot of its security technology. Those companies are in three different industry verticals: they are a media house, a financial company, and a manufacturer.
So, Block Armour is using blockchain to simplify the certification process of digital IDs used for cyber security, dispensing with the need for third-party certifiers.
Cutting out middlemen processes, by the way, is the beauty of blockchain.
Global cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum eliminate a lot of banking processes. And even traditional financial institutions are tapping into blockchain to cut down on the number of steps for their financial transactions.
Raphael Davison, global director of blockchain at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) told SDxCentral that a typical credit card transaction today requires 16 steps, it involves seven parties, and it takes seven days. With blockchain the same transaction can be reduced to two parties and take less than one hour.