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BlackBerry Announces Cybersecurity Services, Microsoft Azure Partnership

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

BlackBerry announced here at Mobile World Congress this week the acquisition of Encription, a UK-based cybersecurity services firm, and with that acquisition the official launch of a professional cybersecurity services offering.

BlackBerry also announced that it is partnering with Microsoft to take its vaunted BlackBerry Enterprise Server technology to Microsoft's Azure, allowing customers to move what's typically been an on-premises solution to the cloud. 

BlackBerry's been busy lately on the acquisition front. Consider some of the highlights:

  • April 2015: Acquired Watchdox, a play for secure mobile content, since Watchdox provides secure enterprise file sync and share services. [See our guide to Enterprise File Sync And Share offerings here.]
  • July 2015: Announced acquisition of AtHoc, a secure crisis communications company.
  • September 2015: Announced plans to acquire Good Technology, one of the long-time leaders in cross-platform mobile device management. [See our MDM vendor comparison guide here.]
  • February 2016: Acquired Encription, a security services company.

During a small session with reporters here in Barcelona, BlackBerry's chief security officer, David Kleidermacher, said that the company actually already had an internal pen testing team, one that it hasn't really made a habit of talking about, until now. Kleidermacher said that BlackBerry will now offer professional cybersecurity services to enterprise customers. While this will certainly serve the existing BlackBerry installed base, it is an additional service with obvious additional costs, according to Kleidermacher.

When asked what sort of services this team will provide, Kleidermacher said vulnerability assessment, but also helping companies think about security development life cycle management (SDLC). Encription's specialty is actually in the automotive space, Kleidermacher said.

BlackBerry also talked during its session with reporters about some of the success it's having in automotive, but also extending QNX into more of an IoT (internet of things) play. What BlackBerry didn't talk about were devices, except to briefly mention the Priv in passing, and to say definitively that the company is committed to the device business and being profitable in it.

The QNX and device businesses aside, most of the movement these days for BlackBerry seems to be around enterprise mobile security and mobile management. The company has moved firmly into multi-OS device management through its various acquisitions over the years, and the addition of AtHoc, Good Technology, and now Encription send a clear message that BlackBerry knows what it probably needs to be.

One somewhat confusing message I heard, however, was that BlackBerry wanted to move "away from emails toward outcomes." This is really business speak for: BlackBerry wants to be seen as strategic. With businesses forever mobilizing workforces and creating mobile user experiences for their customers, BlackBerry is in the right spot to help. That might be as strategic as it gets.