IoT, the term that has hit the entire digital spectrum is trending everywhere. From smartphones to smart homes, smart cars to smartwatches, nearly every device you own or use is smart. And by smart, we mean connected.
Now, picturing the wide network of connectedness, it becomes important for organizations to shift their focus towards security. While IoT definitely eases a lot of business operations, adds flexibility and enhances the overall workforce efficiency, it, on the contrary, opens up new doors for hacks and software breaches. Embedded in the majority of the electronic devices that we use today, IoT collects users’ data which is then used for taking an enhanced decision. Now, this data is extremely vital for the organization. It is important that organizations embed an infrastructure that caters to the safety needs of the data and protects the data that is ready to be processed.
With increasing cyber threats and global vandalism, it becomes important that organizations widen their IoT model to abide by the need for security.
Searching down the web to find an answer to this? Well don’t worry, if I have outlined the problem, I also have an answer to this, blockchain.
Yes, you heard me right! The drawback of IoT is the advantage of blockchain. It is more like they complement each other.
Now before we dive into the concepts of blockchain covering up IoT, let’s have a look at what blockchain exactly is.
Blockchain – The Connected Ledger
Regarded as a digital ledger, blockchain stores data in chronological order. It is more like a peer-to-peer connection between multiple parties that have the right to authenticate a transaction. For instance, consider Mike wants to initiate a transaction. The request for the same gets initiated and is sent to the network connection. This is a kind of connected computer which is also designated as nodes. After the transaction request is approved by the nodes, Mike can move ahead with the transaction. If not, then the transaction is declined.
Blockchain apparently is one of those systems that allow people to communicate with the network publicly and in a way that no one can forge a transaction or tamper data. Meaning that the entire system is secured and embed, total reliability.
Ok, so we know that blockchain enables secured transactions and has data stored in chronological order, which further reduces the possibility of tampering, right? But what does all of this have to do with IoT? How can a blockchain enable the system to prevent or rather secure an IoT system?
Blockchain in IoT
Similar to IoT, blockchain finds applications in domains such as healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation. And they too emphasize the need to have secured infrastructure so as to ensure undisturbed collaboration and transparent connectivity. Well, blockchain does it for them, let’s see how?
● Decentralized Model
The existing IoT infrastructure is primarily based on a centralized connection that promotes data sharing and transfer. The connection involves authenticating devices and then connecting them to serves or central database for gathering and storing data. Also, drawing a connection mandates the need for internet connectivity. While all of this appears meaningful, such a system turns unstable when the scope of the infrastructure widens. Here is where blockchain comes into the picture. Using blockchain to draft the network connection, organizations would eliminate the need for a centralized network as the former operates on a peer to peer connection of computers. Embedding blockchain with IoT would enable sharing or collaborate with the existing system, instead of running at the top. In a way, blockchain decentralizes the centralized connection of the IoT system.
● Secure Infrastructure
Considering the fact that blockchain embeds a shared network of nodes, for an intruder to hack into the system and alter the data, he/she would need to alter the ledger at least 51% of the servers at the same time to be legit. Now, the cost of performing such a hack is definitely higher than the actual profit, the hacker would earn after attacking the server. Now, this is not valid for the private information that rests on single server sites as owned by Amazon and Google.
● Eliminate The Need Of Third Party Trust
Blockchain and IoT applications do not require a third-party trust. The distributed data feature of blockchain further protects data shared via IoT devices and thus prevents data tampering. Also, blockchain eases the authentication process with its distributed ledger system.
● Reduces The Cost of Information
Owing to the need for a secured IoT infrastructure, organizations invest huge amounts to get the ecosystem right and further have secured cloud connectivity. It is seen that the cost of maintenance of cloud features is pretty high and at the same time, the cost incurred in processing the information securely is also huge. To deal with this, organizations can integrate the blockchain technology. Backed up by a decentralized system, blockchain eases the process of storing and managing data and further, reduce the cost of maintenance.
● Higher Scalability
As and when a new device is integrated within the IoT infrastructure, a question that concerns the professional most is malware. What if the new device is already infected and spreads in the entire system causing damage. With blockchain, this no longer remains a problem. Whenever a new device has to be integrated, the universal ledger registers the same and performs a security check to validate the device. Only after a safety check is completed, will the new device be able to function within the IoT infrastructure.
To end our discussion, I would stress the fact that integrating blockchain along with IoT and then using the merger would be a better approach instead of using either of them in a standalone environment. The main idea of the technological revolution is to manifest them in a way that optimizes the digital ecosystem without causing damage. So, be mindful when you are about to upgrade your enterprise environment and remember, security is something that should be your priority.
Nikhil Bansal is the CEO and Founder of Apptunix, a leading Mobile App Development helping businesses in streamlining their processes with powerful and intuitive mobile apps. With extensive experience in iOS app development, he has established himself as a highly-focused Solution Architect and UX expert, the one who is always ready to make efforts in the direction where technology blends with lives.