MDR, Content, Endpoint/Device Security, Distributed Workforce

BlackBerry CEO Emphasizes Four Cybersecurity Differentiators, MDR Services

Amid fierce competition in the cybersecurity software market, BlackBerry has differentiated from its rivals in four ways, and the company is gaining Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services momentum, according to CEO John Chen.

BlackBerry's big cybersecurity push involves the company's automated Protect and Guard managed service offerings. Those offerings "really resonate with small and medium sized companies that don’t have a large security infrastructure," Chen told Wall Street analysts during BlackBerry's quarterly earnings call on December 21, 2021.

BlackBerry Cybersecurity Software Differentiators

But how does BlackBerry differentiate from its cybersecurity software rivals? Chen made four assertions:

  1. BlackBerry's focus on prevention contrasts to EDR (endpoint detection and response) rivals -- which aim to "remediate threats after the fact," he said.
  2. The Cylance AI engine is "the most mature in the market, having learned from the analysis of trillions of files and literally identify over 20 billion characteristics," he asserted.
  3. BlackBerry's endpoint protection works both offline and online, so  "endpoints are protected 24x7 and don’t rely on cloud connection," he said.
  4. "Nobody in this space knows mobile as better than Blackberry," he said.

For the quarter ended November 30, 2021, BlackBerry's cybersecurity-related products generated:

  • Revenue of $128 million;
  • gross margin of 59%;
  • annualized recurring revenue of $358 million; and
  • dollar based net retention of 95%.

"We saw continuous growth in pipeline for unified endpoint security products, and particularly our managed service offering, Guard," Chen added.

Chen noted competitive wins vs. CrowdStrike, SentinelOne, Microsoft Defender, McAfee and Symantec. Also, he pointed to XDR (eXtended Detection and Response) partnerships with Exabeam, Okta, Mimecast, Stellar Cyber and XM Cyber.

Cybersecurity Software for MSPs and MSSPs

Still, BlackBerry faces fierce competition in the market to attract and retain MSP and MSSP partners.

Both CrowdStrike and SentinelOne are in rapid growth mode, and winning substantial business with MSPs and MSSPs, according to MSSP Alert's ongoing reports.

The evidence:

  • CrowdStrike business from MSSP partners grew more than 30% quarter-over-quarter and triple digits year-over-year, the company indicated on December 1, 2021.
  • SentinelOne’s annual recurring revenues from MSSP-oriented channel partners grew more than 300 percent in Q3 of fiscal 2022 compared to Q3 of fiscal 2021, the company disclosed on December 7, 2021.

Key CrowdStrike partners include Presidio, a Top 250 MSSP and Top 250 Public Cloud MSP that announced a ransomware mitigation kit with CrowdStrike and CloudEndure at the AWS re:Invent 2021 conference in Las Vegas.

SentinelOne’s partners across the MSSP sector and IT channel include N-ableAT&T CybersecurityPax8ConnectWise and Kroll Cyber Risk, the company noted during a December 2021 earnings call.

Elsewhere, security companies such as Webroot (owned by OpenText) and Sophos (owned by private equity firm Thoma Bravo) have longstanding relationships with MSPs. Also, Cybereason made a major commitment to MSSP engagements in early 2021.

BlackBerry: MSP, MSSP Partnerships Remain Critical for Growth

The bottom line for BlackBerry? CEO John Chen sounds upbeat about the company's overall cyber business. But some larger rivals are growing far faster than BlackBerry in the cyber market, and the company will need to continue its investments in MSP and MSSP partners to maintain growth, MSSP Alert believes.

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.