Monthly Archives: October 2018

Is Blockchain Coming to Your Neighborhood?

Since 2008, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin has been in the news. Not only that, its underlying technology called Blockchain has become better known as an emerging technological trend. According to a COMPTIA brief citing research by Gartner, this technology is expected to grow in 2018 and beyond, with blockchain spending to reach a project $20 billion in 2024 and 2025. Is Blockchain for your business? Read on to learn more.

More Than Just Cryptocurrency

In an article in the Los Angeles Times from earlier this year, blockchain was tested by a major retailer in an effort to prevent further outbreaks of foodborne illness from contaminated produce. In a pilot test of the emerging technology, it was found that the path of a product through the supply chain could be tracked, from farm to shelf, and at all points in between. The tracking took only seconds, in contrast to the usual process which takes nearly a week.

What is Blockchain?

The definition of blockchain is “a technology that uses encryption to link a continuous series of records.” Instead of the data being centrally located or else not being trackable at all, it is distributed among multiple users, all of whom have access to a “distributed ledger” of actions on the data. Each participant has their own piece of the data and is connected to each of the other participants. This new technology, which we are hearing more about in 2018 and beyond, can help participants reach consensus while keeping data secure. For many businesses, blockchain has the potential to streamline daily business processes while ensuring compliance to cybersecurity regulations.

The Role of Blockchain in Compliance

The application of this new technology to compliance is aided by its democratic distribution of data. Instead of being in one central location, the data is shared among participants in various “compartments,” each securely linked to one another by encryption. According to COMPTIA, more than 49% of early adopters cite use of blockchain in regulatory compliance audits. Having the data distributed reduces the risk of data breach, and government-grade security prevents any one participant from corrupting any of the data.

With the infusion of multiple technologies, the rewards are great. But with those rewards comes risks, including dependence on technology that cybercriminals can exploit. Blockchain helps lessen this risk. If you want to learn more, contact your technology advisor today.

Processing Credit Cards? Make PCI-DSS Compliance Part of Your Network Security Plan

With the holiday season coming up soon, many businesses, both brick and mortar and online, will process a great deal of customer credit card information. This information will be stored and transmitted and must be protected from loss or compromise. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is the standard for compliance and is important year-round. Is your business compliant? If not, how can your business reach that standard? Read on to find out more about this important issue.

Not Just a Compliance Issue

According to a COMPTIA resource, compliance is connected with overall network security. If your business is security-minded, then compliance is a natural next step. Many retail companies must protect their customers’ credit card payment information, and PCI-DSS is a common-sense standard based on good IT security practices. With the possibility of a data breach being very real, having a strong network security policy is a must. Security is part of the operational risks of a business, and PCI-DSS compliance lessens the risk of lost or compromised data.

The Human Element in Compliance

Not only should the business’s technological components be able to meet the standard, but employees should know best practices for keeping customer financial data safe. With companies providing devices for employees, as well as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives in many companies, mobile security is an important aspect of complying with PCI-DSS. The COMPTIA guide cites the Ponemon Institute’s finding that 62% of lost or stolen devices contained sensitive corporate data; lagging behind at just 39% is the percentage of businesses with security in place. Employees trained to follow the security best practices of their employer can also be educated in how to safeguard customer data.

For any company doing business online and elsewhere, and which handles customer payment card information, compliance with PCI-DSS is an important part of overall network security. If you need help determining your company’s level of compliance, and with becoming compliant, contact your technology advisor today.