The blockchain: a rescue for French companies that have been victims of cyberattacks

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Digital technology is reaching and conquering more and more companies. Indeed, “in 2015, 41% of digital occupations are held in institutions whose economic activity is not in the digital sectors” reports INSEE (1). However, 67% of French companies were victims of cyber-incidents in 2018, according to the Forrester report (2). With this aim of securing data, French startups are looking for solutions to facilitate the quality of working life of the French. One of them that seems to be the most effective at the moment is the blockchain.

A Bordeaux startup supports accountants towards a digital transition and online data protection

According to the hiscox insurance company’s study of Forrester’s report (2), which was conducted on more than 5,000 companies in 7 different countries: this year there is still “a considerable increase in cyber attacks and the costs they generate. More than three in five companies (61%) have been the target of one or more attacks in the past 12 months.”

These cyberattacks target businesses of all sizes: although small businesses are the least affected, those with “less than 50 employees who reported a cyber incident have increased from 33% to 47%. This figure increased from 36% to 63% for medium-sized enterprises (50-249 employees).” between 2018 and 2019 (2).

Moreover, French companies are not prepared to fight cyberattacks. Indeed, in 2018, only 11% of companies that took the test to assess their level of cyber risk preparedness were awarded the “expert” level (2). This proves that despite the current digital transition of French companies, very few know how to protect themselves against cyber attacks.

That’s why French startups are challenging themselves to create platforms capable of optimizing the security of companies’ online data.

That’s the case with Welyb. Created in 2017, this Bordeaux startup has the initial objective of supporting accountants towards a digital transition. It offers a collaborative platform, i.e. a virtual workspace, where certain tasks of the trade are automated. For example, collecting and sorting invoices is stored in secure Electronic Document Management (EDG) available from the accountants and relevant clients.

Following the increase in cybercrime, the startup Welyb has been able to identify the need for security and sovereignty of online data of companies. It then created a decentralization of its network (also called a blockchain). In other words, each document is stored, encrypted and distributed across all nodes in the network, and only users with access to that document can view it. So security is at its maximum.

Welyb, a startup supported in particular by Unitec (one of the main support structures for startups in the Bordeaux region), put the blockchain in the spotlight in its process of securing online data for companies.

Blockchain: the solution against the increase in cyberattacks in companies

Cyber surveillance can be done online through a variety of tools. There are “unique SSO authentication solutions, user access rights management, strong authentication, public key infrastructure…” according to the ADESATT presentation (3), with the aim of authenticating users within the company’s IT information system. Thus, it is possible to control users’ access to the resources available in this online database.

One of the solutions against the increase in cyberattacks is called the blockchain. It is “a technology that keeps track of a set of transactions, in a decentralized, secure and transparent way, in the form of a chain of blocks” according to the French Economy, Finance, Action and Public Accounts portal (4). In other words, the blockchain allows information to be stored and transmitted in a transparent and secure online space. It collects all the data (in this case the company concerned) and contains the history of all the exchanges made between its users.

The blockchain works relatively quickly and easy:

A User A makes a transaction (information, money,…) to a user B. The transaction is grouped with other transactions within a “block.” The latter is validated by the nodes of the network through cryptographic means. It is then dated and added to a string of blocks: the blockchain. Users with access to this blockchain can then view all the data inside. This is how the issued transaction of User A is transmitted to User B if the user is properly authorized by the blockchain to access it.

The blockchain solution seems to be a real step towards total security of companies’ online data. Knowing that moreover, according to the ADESATT presentation of 2010 (3), more than 50% of company employees work away from their teams because of travel in particular. As a result, more employees are working in virtual teams to maintain some closeness with their colleagues. It is therefore essential to secure their exchanges and data circulating online. This virtual team practice is widespread and increasing. The blockchain could solve many of the problems of cyberattacks.

With a labour market that is increasingly digitized in terms of data and exchanges between the various players, it is essential to find a solution to secure them. Indeed, with digital transformation, hackers and cyber-malicious computer engineers are attacking the data of companies around the world. French companies are no exception and securing them becomes a real issue. Fortunately, the development of the blockchain seems to be the solution against the repeated cyberattacks that many companies are experiencing. This security system could thus conquer many trades and multiple markets around the world.

Kim GABORIEAU – BORDEAUX BUSINESS

Sources

www.welyb.fr

  1. The strong growth of the digital business, driven by the digital sectors of Valérie DEROIN and Laurent FEFEU, on 04/09/2018: https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/3604254
  2. Cybersecurity, companies remain unprepared despite the increase in the number of cyberattacks,Forrester Cabinet Report, 04/23/19: https://www.hiscox.fr/sites/france/files/documents/Etude%20Cyber%20Readiness.pdf
  3. Virtual labour organizations: piloting and cyber-monitoring of the Association for the Study and Monitoring of Working Time in The Knowledge Trades (ADESATT), from 11/05/10: https://www.syntec.fr/pdf/web/viewer.html?file=/fichiers/20130906160544_ADESATT_etude_cybersurveillance.pdf
  4. Fintech, the digital sector at the service of the financial sector of the french economics, finance, action and public accounts portal, from 19/01/18: https://www.economie.gouv.fr/entreprises/fintech-innovation-finance
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