The year 2017 saw explosive growth in cybercrimes. The U.S. alone experienced 1,579 data breaches—nearly a 50 percent increase over 2016—in which nearly 179 million records were exposed. In light of this record-setting year, businesses are willing to pay a premium to protect themselves from the damage to brand equity and the potential insolvency that a cyberattack can cause.
If only money could solve the problem. A major strategic challenge facing enterprises today is the security of data assets, either at rest or in motion, around the world. Though Gartner predicts that worldwide cybersecurity spending will climb to $96 billion in 2018—for antivirus, intrusion detection, monitoring and other tools—a static cybersecurity strategy will fail to address evolving data threats. Money won’t solve the problem without innovation.
Companies today have moved their business applications and data-storage operations to cloud-based services and data centers. But in doing so, they run the risk of exposing high-value, highly sensitive data to bad actors. Organizations of all sizes are subject to the vulnerability of the public Internet and a global, disparate network infrastructure.
Emerging Markets Drive Innovation
Although blockchain technology is highly secure, blockchain-based cryptocurrency isn’t exempt from the vulnerability of terrestrial infrastructure. Hackers have pulled off numerous cryptocurrency data breaches that have emptied online vaults. As the world has moved to cloud services, it’s becoming clear that the time is now for a paradigm shift in how to store and access high-value data such as digital currency.
As global demand for cryptocurrency continues to increase, exchange operators and cryptobanks must find an alternative, secure storage and managed-network solution to allay the cybersecurity concerns of customers and prospects. What if there was a way to bypass the terrestrial network infrastructure entirely to greatly mitigate exposure and secure this data from theft?
Today’s cloud services run across both public and private networks using cybersecurity solutions that are insufficiently robust to stay ahead of continuously evolving cybersecurity threats. Cryptocurrency is being targeted and stolen.
Cryptocurrency Storage in Space
An innovative solution under development today will create a space-based global network and data-storage service that will provide cryptocurrency-asset owners, exchange operators and cryptobanks with a global, seamless cloud infrastructure. It will entirely isolate and protect sensitive data from the vulnerable global terrestrial network infrastructure. Blockchain technology provides an immutable ledger of transactions, and storing the transaction data in space would provide an additional layer of impenetrable security. Since this data never traverses the terrestrial network infrastructure, an ultimate “air-gap security” or “space gap” would offer unprecedented data security.
A network of satellite data vaults would create the ultimate secure “cloud” storage, bypassing exposure to terrestrial networks. It would result in the ultimate cold wallet vault. Its architecture and operation would provide a truly transformational way of securing data assets, shifting the paradigm for cybersecurity risk mitigation.
A solution of this type would serve as a major market differentiator for companies that are looking for a cloud service that provides physical protection of their currency and of their customers. It’s infeasible for an organization to build and maintain a global, seamless terrestrial network for their internal enterprise connectivity, business operations, or communications and transactions, because such a system would need to include a seamless terrestrial network infrastructure to be entirely secure.
But this feat can be accomplished in space. It won’t be long until enterprises will look to the skies for the satellite-based cloud storage of highly sensitive, high-value data. It only makes sense that cryptocurrency-exchange operators, cryptobanks and currency owners would do the same for their digital-currency assets.
Looking Further Into the Future
The world appears to be on a trajectory where it is crossing the chasm for the commercialization of space, with cold-vault storage being just one application. Satellite communications has been a fundamental and critical part of the global communications infrastructure, so the emergence of cloud services in low Earth orbit (LEO) is a natural evolution. Although space-based cloud services operating in LEO is the first step, one can envision space-based cloud services as an integral part of the infrastructure for all future commercialization and exploration such as moon and Mars colonization, including while humans are in transit. Communications and data storage for deep-space exploration are a natural extension of space-based cloud service in LEO.
Just as cloud services will be fundamental to space exploration and commercialization, blockchain technology will as well. While the benefits (security, reliability and efficiency) of blockchain technology are well understood for applications and services on Earth, they’re clearly amplified for future commercial uses in space. Blockchain will provide an immutable distributed ledger capability for humans to manage data and execute transactions across vast distances. Given these distances, confidence in the data and the transaction must be of the highest level. Blockchain enables a high standard for confidence in the data and transactions.
A Just-in-Time Solution
Back to the present. Like death and taxes, cybercrime has become a certainty. Though enterprises increasingly allocate funds for their cybersecurity strategies, they can’t overcome the reality of inherently insecure and compromised terrestrial networks. Rather than remaining at its mercy, organizations can consider a space-based alternative that bypasses terrestrial networks in favor of services that isolate and secure critical, high-value data. For rich targets such as cryptocurrency vaults, this is an idea whose time has come.
About the Author
Cliff Beek is CEO and president of Cloud Constellation Corporation. Cliff is a leading global-communications executive. He has extensive experience with the management and financing of equity-backed ventures in satellite, mobile-broadband, mobile-app development and cloud-infrastructure entities. Cliff founded Star Asia Technologies as well as Laser Light Communications and served as the executive VP at CoCo Communications. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.