Using the ITIL Framework to Manage the Boom in Blockchain

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Blockchain and Bitcoin have been the hottest buzzwords in the cyber economy for the past several years. People around the world have taken to this trend in cryptocurrency thanks to its unique method of operation and the potential to deliver high returns.

To put it in simple terms, a Blockchain is an online record of transaction, maintained in the form of interlinked blocks. These blocks are secured by cryptographic tools preventing unauthorised people from accessing it. The hash sign helps to link one block to another. In addition, each block has a distinctive timestamp as a mark of authenticity. This also prevents them from being modified after creation.

Blockchain is recognized as an innovative development in cryptocurrency, offering people and businesses a safe and efficient way to make online payments. For this you don’t need to invest in any flashy cryptographic tools or equipment such as a laptop with backlight keyboard. This is a revolutionary way since it removes any intermediaries from the picture and reduces the costs of transactions. Since all payments are made online, it is easy to integration Blockchain with conventional business operations.  

Going beyond being the next big technology, Blockchain offers us a new way of looking at the Internet. Since we live in the age of Big Data, Blockchain is the best candidate to maximize the efficiency of data mining technology to apply it in our day to day life. Even though Bitcoin has become a popular cryptocurrency and is almost normalised in online transactions, Blockchain goes beyond online transactions to become an official cryptocurrency at a global level, integrating banks, multinational companies and even governments. It might even take the place of credit and debit cards, and wire transfers in a few years to come.

To operate efficiently, Blockchain requires an infrastructure that includes the supporting hardware and software. In addition, there is a need for efficient connectivity systems, mobility, high level of performance and, of course, robust security. Because of its global potential, we can expect some global standards to emerge in the next few years to facilitate secure payments across countries. In this regard, ITIL is the most appropriate and secure technology out of the ones available currently. The reason is that in addition to offering efficient systems it is heavily focused on IT security.

For more than 2 decades, ITIL certification has been widely respected as an IT service management system across the world. Its 5 core processes and additional subprocesses are used globally to transfer data safely and securely. In terms of its service quality, ITIL Foundation certification pays a lot of attention to continuously improving its processes, products, people and partners.

There are many reasons why ITIL certification can be used to manage Blockchain processes smoothly. For instance, its purpose is to address the security issues of the business aspect of the organization as well as the online security aspect. Therefore, it helps to ensure confidentiality of the data being transacted, the integrity of the data while it is being transmitted and the continuous availability of organizational IT resources to deliver the necessary services to the client. For organizations to fully embrace Blockchain technology as a core part of their processes, it is necessary for the system to be equipped with these features. Thankfully, ITIL offers these to a high quality.

For an ISMS or information security management system to be effective in a Blockchain environment, it needs to possess the following features:

  1. Effective control over Blockchain processes

This is largely a governance issue which requires the laying down of policies and rules to govern the use of Blockchain technology. An effective management framework should be drafted to ensure security of the system at all times. The organization’s tolerance for security risk is a key question to answer here. Next, a supportive structure is required to ensure security of the system. For this to be effective, commitment from the strategic management is critical. Duties and responsibilities must be defined and assigned to each individual responsible for its execution. Moreover, the process along with any controls needs to be documented thoroughly. The Knowledge Management module of ITIL can be immensely beneficial in this regard. 

  1. Careful planning of Blockchain activities

Security standards need to be planned to manage how Blockchain will be accessed and used by the organization. ITIL’s Service Design protocol can help the management in the planning stage. 

  1. Implementing systems and processes for Blockchain

In this stage, the controls and procedures need to be defined to execute the Blockchain policy. The Service Transition module of ITIL can help to manage the transition from the previous systems to the Blockchain based systems. Since the changeover would require some reconfiguration of existing systems, ITIL’s standards for Service Transition can also help in this area. 

  1. Monitoring and assessing the performance of Blockchain

At this stage, it is necessary to ensure that the system complies with the service level agreements. ITIL offers a Service Desk process which can help the organization to manage this stage effectively. It is also important to perform regular checks and security audits of the system. In this regard, the Service Validation and Testing module of ITIL offers all the necessary support. It can help you to carry out multiple tests until you are satisfied with the security of your Blockchain operations. Moreover, this information needs to be shared with outside auditors to increase reliance on the system. 

  1. Maintenance of the Blockchain system

ITIL’s Continual Service Improvement offers a 7-step process that can help the organization to continuously enhance its security agreements. Moreover, the effectiveness of its security controls can also be improved over time.

Blockchain continues to evolve and offer new possibilities for online commerce and transactions. While better technologies might develop in the future, currently ITIL is the most effective one as it offers global standards and processes to plan, execute and manage such a system.

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