Years ago, the security concerns of companies were mainly about protecting their network of PCs from data theft and hacker disruptions. However, nowadays, companies need to protect not only their PCs but also numerous mobile devices which are often employee-owned. The growing number of these mobile devices increases the concerns about hacking and eavesdropping.
Moreover, security is a big challenge for the companies which develop IoT solutions. Inevitably, there is a constant communication between devices and between people and devices in any IoT ecosystem. And, with each device getting connected, there are serious concerns about protecting the sensitive data.
BlackBerry announced in December of 2016 a comprehensive mobile security platform which simplifies management and security not only for the smartphones but also for tablets, sensors, and many other industrial devices. Called BlackBerry Secure, the new product combines the firm’s various security solutions into a single integrated suite.
From Hardware to Software
Blackberry's new Mercury phone made waves this month at CES (notable for keeping the classic Blackberry keyboard aesthetic instead of going full touchscreen). But Blackberry no longer handles the hardware side of the equation. Instead, TCL Communications has taken up the hardware and distribution aspects of this new device, leaving the software, security, and branding to Blackberry.
The Mercury's keyboard. Image courtesy of Blackberry.
This is because, over the last few years, BlackBerry has had an ongoing move from hardware to software. Since the company has a rich heritage in providing mobile security solutions, it's focusing on pivoting into a security software company as of last year.
This helps explain why BlackBerry has acquired several security-focused companies over the last two years. BlackBerry’s major acquisitions include companies such as Watchdox (an Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) service), Good Technology (which makes products for managing and securing mobile devices in a business environment), and AtHoc (a system that lets organizations set up and send emergency alerts to mobile phones).
Now, BlackBerry Secure, which integrates the company’s proprietary technology with its recent acquisitions, is a big step in BlackBerry’s transition to a security software company.
According to Marty Beard, the Chief Operating Officer of BlackBerry, the company is no longer about smartphones. It's about the "smart" part of various devices such as phones, cars, containers, medical devices, wearables, and more.
BlackBerry Secure, which is a cloud-enabled application, has the potential to be a one-size-fits-all IoT security development platform. Addressing roadblocks such as data breaches and cybersecurity threats, BlackBerry Secure allows companies to achieve the greatest potential of the “Enterprise of Things”. BlackBerry defines the "Enterprise of Things" as a network of computers, sensors, trackers, and other devices which incorporate intelligent communications and enables smart product development, distribution, marketing, and sales.
The foundation for BlackBerry Secure is BES12––the company’s mobile device management software which was previously developed.
BlackBerry officials claim that the new platform, which can cover an entire enterprise without relying on a VPN, is able to protect all messaging and file types in communication. It can provide intelligence for highly secure supply chain communications, ensure patient confidentiality in healthcare, and safeguard assets in the financial industry. And the company has plans to expand the supported market segments.
BlackBerry Secure not only works with third-party software like Microsoft Office 365 but also allows users to build their own custom apps and workflows on the platform.
Carl Weise, president of global sales, notes that the BlackBerry Secure is currently being tested by dozens of the company’s existing customers and the feedback on the early tests is very promising.
Gartner predicts that, in 2018, nearly $547 million will be spent on IoT security. It seems that BlackBerry Secure would be a great opportunity for BlackBerry to enter this market.
Featured image used courtesy of Blackberry.