Content, Endpoint/Device Security, Distributed Workforce

Enterprise IoT Security: BlackBerry’s New Sweet Spot?

In remarks at an industry and financial analysts confab in January, BlackBerry CEO John Chen reportedly channeled his inner Mark Twain, saying: “We’ve come from a near death experience. I’m here to tell you that we’re no longer dead or afraid of being dead.”

It’s not the first time Chen had waved off the company’s critics. In the nearly four years since taking BlackBerry’s helm, he’s concentrated on rebuilding, redirecting and rebranding, all aimed at finding the right cure.

At all corners, Chen’s constant drumbeat has been BlackBerry’s commendable enterprise security platform. Now, with its hardware business shuttled off to outsourcers, enterprise security for the Internet of Things (IoT) is both its target and its lifeline, to where the vendor defines itself as a “mobile-native security software and services company.”

It’s a promising equation for MSSPs--the junction where high-bar security meets the IoT meets the enterprise--pretty much the matrix of opportunity.

BlackBerry Enterprise IoT Security Strategy

Ultimately, the bounty could go to those that can solve this problem: How do enterprises best balance information security and compliance with productivity and connectivity?

BlackBerry believes it is inching toward the solution with new productivity and security enhancements to its enterprise software platform. The new BlackBerry Secure and BlackBerry Enterprise Mobility Suite enhancements include:

  • Microsoft Office 365 apps: Management and protection policies for Word, Excel and Powerpoint from BlackBerry’s Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) platform.
  • Business data: Extends BlackBerry Access to unmanaged laptops (personal or BYOD) to Windows 10 and MacOS systems.
  • Sync/Share: Workspaces, BlackBerry’s enterprise file synchronization and sharing solution, now allows in-line comments, @mentions and alerts. DocuSign has also been integrated.
  • Tracking: BlackBerry Analytics has been upgraded to track daily and monthly active users, daily minutes used, usage by OS type and version, daily launch count and user engagement type.
  • Wearables: BlackBerry has extended its endpoint management software capabilities to include smart glasses and apps specific to wearables.

Billy Ho, BlackBerry’s executive vice president of enterprise software, said mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobile management (EMM) “are simply not enough.” Getting employees to use corporate applications is “one of the biggest IT challenges,” he said, pointing to BlackBerry’s UEM platform as the answer to enable companies to secure and manage the “explosion” of devices and applications.

Meanwhile, in February, 2016, Facebook’s WhatsApp service said it intended to stop supporting versions of BlackBerry OS, including BlackBerry 10, by the close of the year. That end date subsequently was pushed back to June 30 of this year.

Now, as GSMArena reports, WhatsApp has extended the support date through the end of 2017 and its Blackberry client has started receiving a new update with change-log confirming the end-of-life date.

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.