A technology that is still quite nascent, Blockchain is a decentralised database in which all managing systems store an identical replica of all the data. Like a chain, each block of information is inseparably linked to the previous one, forming a chain of information blocks that keeps on growing. The blocks on the block chain can never be changed. They are secured and bound to each other through cryptographic principles. This results in Blockchain being ideal for serving as a distributed ledger.
It is the best scenario for storing and archiving information that is shared and managed by a cluster of parties that do not fully trust one another. Its immutable manner of storing data ensures that all data cannot be deleted or modified. In addition, it offers transparency and visibility, with a record of time-stamps.
It is precisely this form of data-sharing that enables cryptocurrency to exist, as it is not controlled by a government or a nation-state. In today’s era of technology and information sharing, it is not a revelation that blockchain for business is being applied and used for its efficiency. With its capacity to support pseudo-anonymous transactions, it is also versatile that it can be used in a wide range of industries.
The role of Blockchain in IAM
Blockchain technology has gradually been harnessed into the sector of identity and access management (IAM). As it can be used to create a platform that secures individual identities from being stolen or becoming victims to fraudulent activities, businesses have enlisted the help of blockchain technology to deal with issues of authentication and authorisation.
Under blockchain technology, individuals are granted the freedom to create digital identities that are encrypted. Not only does this means that multiple usernames and passwords will be replaced, but it also offers more comprehensive security features that will be able to save time and resources for customers and institutions alike.
Individuals can create identities that are fully controlled and personally maintained by them and no one else. With such self-sovereignty, it becomes much more difficult for identity theft to happen, which is a common obstacle for traditional IAM systems. As authority is decentralised, the use of blockchains allows for a decentralised method of registration. As a result, their identity cannot be tampered or controlled by an external party without the individual’s permission.
Furthermore, given that blockchain technology is based on the concept of decentralisation and distribution, the cost and management of external identities can be eliminated. It has been proven that automating the synchronisation of centralised identity data within and without the organisation is not cost efficient. The impracticality rises when one has to take into consideration the external identities and users.
Moving towards a future of blockchain, digital identity issues and hurdles faced by existing IAM systems can be overcome. One current option is the implementation of a hybrid blockchain. Better suited for commercial sectors or highly regulated environments (e.g. enterprises and governments), hybrid blockchain ensures flexibility and control over data. As blockchain technology continues to emerge, the future of identity is sure to be revolutionised.