It was a busy Tuesday at BlackBerry as the company made a series of security-themed announcements at the RSA Conference. First, we announced that BlackBerry has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire WatchDox, a leading data security company that provides the most secure content collaboration and enterprise file-sync-and-share (EFSS) solutions.
A significant acquisition was just the opening ante, however. Later in the day, BlackBerry also introduced the BlackBerry Center for High Assurance Computing Excellence (CHACE). According to BlackBerry’s Chief Security Officer Dave Kleidermacher, the Center is “BlackBerry’s initiative to build systems that are clear of security flaws. CHACE will extend our state-of-the-art competencies in vulnerability prevention and enable the application of high assurance security research to real-world products and services.”
And, that wasn’t all. BlackBerry also announced that its subsidiary Certicom will offer a new managed public key infrastructure certificate service for connected devices, unleashing the performance of its renowned security technology for a broad range of Internet of Things (IoT) applications. According to Kleidermacher, this service will help “device manufacturers and service providers secure their IoT networks and ecosystems, ensuring that the devices they connect are known and trusted.”
Media and analysts were positive about the moves, noting that it demonstrated BlackBerry’s commitment to stretch its lead in mobile security. Not surprisingly, many focused on the WatchDox news and how it enhances BlackBerry’s cross-platform Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) offering, BES12.
Analyst Maribel Lopez, writing in Forbes, likes that BlackBerry is “being aggressive” and argues that the “WatchDox acquisition is just another step in the BlackBerry journey toward mobile cloud security services.” She believes that “with focused research and development and good acquisitions” the company could very well become “the next generation security platform for the mobile cloud world.”
Matthew Miller at ZDNet said that, “given the increasing number of data breaches, a secure solution like WatchDox that is integrated with BlackBerry services will be attractive to companies and government agencies.”
IDC Research Director Stacy Crook tweeted: “MY POV: @Blackberry acquisition of secure #EFSS solution @WatchDox fills an important gap in the company’s #EMM strategy.”
TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden thinks the acquisition of WatchDox is a “significant step” one that will give BlackBerry “a big step ahead in its own enterprise security business.”
Jef Cozza, writing in CIO Today, thinks BlackBerry’s “enterprise client base” will strongly value the WatchDox solution’s ability to allow “enterprise IT departments to control access to corporate files, even after they have left their corporate IT environments and have been transferred to employees’ personal devices, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets.”
As observers get a chance to dig deeper into all three announcements, they are beginning to also report on the significance of the CHACE and Certicom elements.
For example, Reuter’s Euan Rocha, in reporting about the two announcements, noted that “increased network and device security has become a huge focus for large North American corporations in the face of costly and damaging security breaches.”
As companies experience first-hand how damaging a security breach can be, BlackBerry’s legacy of security is becoming a more valued asset.
As Dave Kleidermacher has noted: “If you think we have a big security problem with a billion smartphones, think what will happen when we have a trillion autonomous objects. I think BlackBerry is uniquely positioned to meet this challenge head on and I’m excited to be part of it.”