Content, Endpoint/Device Security

BlackBerry Reorganizes Into Cybersecurity, IoT Groups

BlackBerry has reorganized its software and services business around the two groups -- specifically, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cybersecurity -- CEO John Chen mentioned during BlackBerry's earnings call on June 24, 2021.

Tom Eacobacci
Tom Eacobacci, president & COO, Cybersecurity, BlackBerry
Mattias Eriksson,

On the leadership fronts, HERE Technologies veteran Mattias Eriksson is president of the IoT business unit. And BlackBerry President and Chief Operating Officer, Tom Eacobacci, is leading the cybersecurity business unit. Going forward, BlackBerry will provide revenue and gross margin by business unit as well as other selected metrics, Chen said.

The IoT business unit involves such BlackBerry technologies as QNX, IVY, Certicom, Jarvis and Radar. Revenue for that unit was $43 million for the quarter ended May 31, 2021. That's up 48% year-over-year -- though some of this year's growth is based off last year's covid lockdown, and associated spending weakness at the time.

Meanwhile, the cybersecurity business unit spans BlackBerry's Spark endpoint security and endpoint management product, UEM, as well as AtHoc, the critical event management software, and Secusmart, secure voice and text product.

BlackBerry's GAAP cybersecurity revenue for the quarter was $107 million, down from $119 million in the corresponding quarter last year, according to an SEC filing. Still, Chen pointed to momentum in the SMB market, where the new business pipeline grew around 18%, he noted.

Ransomware Blockers: Prevention vs. Detection and Response

Chen also emphasized BlackBerry's endpoint protection technology, and pitched it as a smarter alternative to traditional endpoint detection and response (EDR). The protection technology is based on BlackBerry's Cylance acquisition of 2018.

On that point, Chen said:

"Over the last couple of years and prevailing -- the prevailing narrative has been that detection and remediation is the most important part of cybersecurity. However, the founding principle of Cylance and one of our main reasons that we acquired it is that prevention is far better than cure. And that's why we're a market leader in EPP. Stopping threats before they execute and start doing harm is clearly a better strategy than trying to shut them down afterwards."

Furthering that point, Chen said the BlackBerry Protect product successfully blocked Darkside, Conti, Mobillion and REvil ransomware attacks.

BlackBerry XDR and Unified Endpoint Security

Meanwhile, BlackBerry continues to broaden its cybersecurity product portfolio to focus on eXtended detection and response (XDR). That effort includes the Blackberry Zero Trust Gateway, and the Optics 3.0 EDR offering.

Also, Blackberry's Unified Endpoint Security (UES) platform is on target to integrate with Microsoft Intune by the end of August 2021.

Elsewhere in the business, Chen assured Wall Street analytics that Blackberry remains committed to the Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) market.

Roll all the statements together, and BlackBerry really wants to align its efforts behind IoT and cybersecurity.

Fast-Growth Rivals

Still, competition in the cybersecurity market remains intense. Two prime examples:

  • CrowdStrike revenue was $302.1 million for the quarter ended April 30, 2021 -- up 70 percent compared to the corresponding quarter in 2020.
  • SentinelOne's revenue was $93.1 million in fiscal 2021, up 100 percent from fiscal 2020, the company revealed in a June 2021 SEC filing amid potential IPO plans.

SentinelOne, in particular, has growing relationships with MSPs and MSSPs.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.