Advice from a CISO: Blockchain still searching for its tipping point

CISOs are the business leaders everyone wants to hear from. So do they have to say? Mike Turner, Chief Information Security Officer at Capgemini, shares his views on why 'blockchain is on every CISO’s shopping list.'

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Digital business depends on digital trust. If organizations cannot trust the data on which they increasingly rely, they cannot compete. It’s the CISO’s job to establish data integrity. Integrity builds trust and dependability. But the CISO must also persuade departments to behave in a data-centric way to ensure the potential of digital is maximized. And he or she must also establish a bond of trust between the organization and its external stakeholders, such as customers or third party suppliers, to help guarantee that data is secure and accessible only to the right people, on demand.

Ultimately, the CISO sets the culture of data governance. With the right culture in place, trust in the organization’s digital tools and services will follow.

Trust is the reason why blockchain is on every CISO’s shopping list. The most interesting activity is in financial services and logistics, where large incumbents are partnering with startups to change the way they record and process transactions. NASDAQ for example is working with Chain.com, to provide technology for processing and validating trades, while Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Standard Chartered are trialing blockchain as an eventual replacement for the more manual elements of trade processing.

Using blockchain to digitize processes is particularly effective among logistics firms, and many are trialing innovative solutions to cut inefficiencies. A digital blockchain ledger can replace complex systems of paper based records and have a big effect not only on trust but also on effectiveness because it enables third parties to access and manipulate the same data in real time. Done well, organizations can create more intelligent, more responsive supply chains.

But there are reasons why these innovative experiments aren’t being commercialized as rapidly as some proponents suggest they should. For CISOs the high level of security inherent in a blockchain is attractive. But there are practical barriers to consider.

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