This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Cybersecurity series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and cyber security.
In this interview we speak with Narayan Neelakantan, CEO and Co-founder of Block Armour, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the cyber security business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Block Armour? Why and how did you begin?
NN: It all started when I was the Chief Information Security officer for National Stock Exchange, the third largest stock exchange globally in terms of volumes. I had spent close to 16 years there, building robust systems and high-performance teams. My role there also involved evaluating new technologies, which is when I came across blockchain and realised that the technology had great potential in augmenting security, and I started experimenting with blockchain. The first step of course was to identify couple of likeminded folks who believed in the idea. I was fortunate to meet my co-founders in a relatively short time and in a few months, we quit our day jobs and decided to launch Block Armour.
2. Please describe your use case and how Block Armour uses blockchain:
NN: The systems and data of today’s enterprises are distributed across multiple locations and use a combination of in-house and cloud infrastructure. However, cyber security continues to be implemented with the centralized approach. We have built Secure Shield Architecture (SSA) based on the zero-trust model which is natively distributed and allows only authenticated and authorized users and devices to see and access systems. We have significantly enhanced the authentication and authorization process by using digital identities which are difficult to spoof and impersonate.
Additionally, we record the logs on the blockchain making it immutable and tamper-proof giving the customer complete visibility of potential attacks. The secure shield architecture provides holistic and scalable security and has the capability to secure systems and devices across enterprise, cloud, and IoT using a single platform.
The blockchain is a key component of our solution and we primarily use it for generating digital identities and tamper-proof storage of logs.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
NN: One of our products is the digital vault, which is an invisible vault which can store data in an encrypted manner. Our client is using the digital vault to securely store KYC information of their customers. The vault ensures that the data cannot be stolen or infected with malware/ransomware or accessed in an unauthorized manner.
4. What other blockchain use cases in cybersecurity are you excited about?
NN: There are two use cases which I am particularly excited about.
- Sharing private and confidential information securely
The blockchain provides a highly robust and secure platform which can be used to share sensitive information with various stakeholders. The owner of the information can decide who can view and access the information. I strongly believe that various DApps will be developed in the near future which will consume this selectively shared information for various use cases.
- IOT security using blockchain
Securing the rapidly increasing IOT and IIOT devices is a major challenge because of the sheer numbers and the scale required to even authenticate these devices. One of the biggest advantages of blockchain is its scalability and resiliency. These features coupled with the immutability aspect make blockchain the ideal choice for authenticating and securing IOT and IIOT devices.
5. Where will Block Armour be in five years?
NN: We are seeing a lot of traction for our solution since the beginning of 2019. Our approach is to acquire few more strategic customers via direct sales and onboard partners to take our solution to market. This two-pronged approach will allow us to scale quickly and position our products to global clients. Our goal over the next five years is to become the preferred cyber security provider for critical infrastructure institutions and large enterprises.