Since blockchain is an emerging technology, until now there has been little clarity on the requirements to securely operate blockchain networks in the cloud. To help speed the adoption of blockchain for business, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced a new framework for securely operating blockchain networks, as well as new services on the IBM Cloud that are designed to meet existing regulatory and security requirements.
Blockchain networks are built on the notion of decentralized control, but some cloud environments leave back doors open to vulnerabilities that allow tampering and unauthorized access. Working with teams of security experts, cryptographers, hardware experts and researchers, IBM has created essential new cloud services for tamper-resistant, trusted blockchain networks.
“Clients tell us that one of the inhibitors of the adoption of blockchain is the concern about security,” said Jerry Cuomo, vice president, Blockchain, IBM. “While there is a sense of urgency to pioneer blockchain for business, most organizations need help to define the ideal cloud environment that enables blockchain networks to run securely in the cloud.”
After working with hundreds of clients, startups and developers building blockchain applications, IBM is addressing their security needs in several ways, including cloud services with the highest Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS 140-2) and Evaluation Assurance Levels (EAL) in the industry to support the use of blockchain in government, financial services and healthcare. The company is also making it easier to use IBM’s code based on the Linux Foundation Hyperledger Project in any environment, and offering services on Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform, to help developers quickly build applications.
With the opening of the IBM Garage this month in New York City, IBM is also working with clients such as BNY Mellon to accelerate the design and development of a unique application for securities lending, using a blockchain network to trade and transfer assets. “At BNY Mellon, we are actively exploring blockchain’s potential to better serve our clients and our company,” said Suresh Kumar, CIO, BNY Mellon. “With this new initiative, IBM is providing an environment that will allow companies like us to collaborate more easily and more securely and in a more standardized way, which is critical to advancing meaningful use cases for blockchain.”
Defining a Security Framework for Blockchain in the Cloud
Built to help businesses quickly host secure, tamper-resistant networks and scale to thousands of users, IBM Cloud will allow production blockchain networks to be deployed in minutes, running signed, certified and tested Docker images with dashboards and analytics as well as support.
These new cloud services have been optimized for cloud-based blockchain networks by providing an auditable operating environment with comprehensive log data that supports forensics and compliance. Tamper-resistant storage of crypto keys and complete protection around the cryptographic module detects and responds to unauthorized attempts at physical access. Additionally, the IBM Cloud services enable blockchain peers to run in protected environments to prevent leaks through shared memory or hardware.
“Blockchain is a highly innovative and promising technology. However there are a lot of issues to be solved for enterprise systems,” said Eiji Ueki, director and executive vice president, NTT DATA. “IBM’s new blockchain cloud service is directly trying to address those issues. We believe this will help accelerate the maturation of blockchain technology.”
IBM’s Blockchain for Hyperledger Now Available on DockerHub
For organizations that need the flexibility to run blockchain on different cloud servers or devices, a signed, certified distribution of IBM’s code submission to the Hyperledger project is now available on DockerHub. Ongoing updates will provide new features including dashboards, analytics, chat support and exclusive network services.
IBM Blockchain for Bluemix Provides Developers New Flexibility
For application developers who want to get a blockchain environment running almost instantly and start building applications, the beta release of IBM Blockchain on Bluemix provides access to the very latest Linux Hyperledger code, updated as the code continues to emerge. Whether on DockerHub or IBM Cloud, IBM Blockchain supports multiple industries and diverse use cases.
“Bluemix Services make it easy for Factom developers to work with IBM Blockchain code,” said Paul Snow, Chief Architect of Factom. “IBM is the single largest contributor to open source technology and the Internet would not be what it is today without their contributions. Exploring blockchain technology with IBM is exciting and our approaches are complementary. We are thrilled to see how they will help grow the industry.”
Join IBM during the Consensus Building Blocks Hackathon 2016, where developers will be challenged to use IBM’s blockchain service on Bluemix to rapidly build innovative applications incorporating services such as IBM Watson, IBM Internet of Things, The Weather Channel Data and others. Voting, risk management, finance, healthcare, insurance, supply chains and IoT are some of the systems that are poised for dramatic change using blockchain networks.