This is a big week for mobile announcements because of Mobile World Congress and BlackBerry didn’t disappoint. In the shadow of Apple’s FBI problems, BlackBerry isn’t just doubling down on security it is tripling down. BlackBerry announced three major events: it launched a new cybersecurity service, it increased its alliance to create secure health help to users, and it increased its relationship with Microsoft so that companies could have a secure hosted solution for BES.
Let’s take each in turn.
If your key differentiator in a market where security is a huge concern is security, why not increase your security footprint to include practices? And that is exactly what BlackBerry is doing, focusing on three IT competency areas and one interesting new one.
Strategic Security: This is long-term, sustainable protection—collecting the best practices in IT operations across enterprise management and cloud services for mobility.
Technical Security: More tactical, this focuses on infrastructure and product development for the client company.
Detection, Testing, and Analysis: This is the big whole I think exists in most companies and even government agencies. They assume their products are keeping them secure but they rarely test to see if their assumptions are correct and generally find—as a result—they aren’t. This service not only tests these assumptions, but when there is a breach can help identify why it occurred, and should be able to help find the person or persons who created the breach.
Automotive and IoT: The automotive technology market is rapidly moving to self-driving cars but has been woefully behind on security. This is true as well with IoT, and that combination—particularly with cars—could be deadly. So BlackBerry is specifically targeting that opportunity to make us safer.
We have a wealth of information on health available to us. Too much actually, and often need professional help when faced with a crisis or concern. But this information and these relationships are, by law, required to be secure and any service with regard to this would need to comply with that security law. So it makes sense for BlackBerry to launch a secure service with Sharecare that could help people with their health questions and concerns. This messaging service works across phone platforms to supply a secure and trusted channel for those needing real time information on their health or the health of loved ones.
BES12 On Azure
One of the things that differentiates BlackBerry is the BES service which gives full control over the phones owned by an organization to that organization but it requires a BES server. As we move increasingly into a cloud world, for smaller organizations putting up their own server is problematic.
Microsoft’s Azure services has grown to be recognized as one of the best solutions for those that can’t or don’t want to bring up their own servers but need the control and want comparable security to that which they would get if they did bring up their own servers. Thus a relationship between BlackBerry and Microsoft to host BES servers on Azure was natural.
I have a feeling that increasingly we will be more focused on the security of our mobile devices than on the consumer-focused functionality because events like what put Apple and the FBI in the news will become even more common. As a result, focusing on security as a primary differentiating capability and one that can be applied to the major platforms should be an increasingly attractive differentiator in the world of device management. A world that is moving from phones to IoT and cars very rapidly. BlackBerry wants to be part of that wave and, I expect, many of us will be safer because it is.