If you’ve met blockchain before, it may well have been in the context of the cyber currency Bitcoin. To understand how it might affect business continuity, it’s good to know the basics about how blockchain works. Essentially, it’s a distributed file system.
People using blockchain keep copies of the blockchain file. The file is made up of blocks. Each block contains a cryptographic signature of the preceding block, making the whole blockchain file incorruptible.
Today with Bitcoin and other financial transactions, the blockchain file is a shared ledger. It also has the potential to replace other error-prone, manual processes. So how might blockchain contribute to business continuity?
Businesses today depend on a number of critical elements in order to function properly and continually.
Financial transactions are an example of such elements. Blockchain offers a peer-to-peer network with many distributed nodes and built-in fault tolerance.
The failure of one node (or even several nodes) cannot prevent the rest of the network from functioning properly. Without any other need for disaster recovery, a blockchain network can then offer 24/7 availability.
Some security experts go as far as to pronounce any hacking attack on a blockchain network as mathematically impossible.
Making blockchain work for any business to business financial contracts, including sales, purchasing, supplies, order fulfilment, and more, may require a few changes to current configurations.
Criticisms of today’s blockchain operations include its slowness and the visibility of the information to anybody who wants to see. In general, however, blockchain could be applied (with faster speeds and information confidentiality) to any cross-enterprise business processes.
It could then also significantly reduce both cost and complexity.
These two advantages can help reinforce the business continuity of the participants. As with any new idea, execution is the biggest part of the process, and blockchain technology will need to made appetising to all, not just cyber currency traders. However, the potential is there.