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BlackBerry Hires Cisco Veteran As President; Accelerates IoT Security Push


BlackBerry has hired former Cisco Systems executive Bryan Palma as its president and COO responsible for securing the "Enterprise of Things" (EoT), according to a prepared statement.

BlackBerry President Bryan Palma
BlackBerry President Bryan Palma

Palma now leads the following BlackBerry business units:

  • Enterprise Software and Services.
  • Mobility Solutions.
  • Technology Solutions.

Palma most recently served as SVP and GM of customer experience for Cisco's Americas division. In this role, Palma led the development and execution of Cisco's $8 billion support, professional, managed and subscription services. Earlier he also held key roles across Cisco's managed services and security services operations.

In addition, Palma previously served as VP of cyber and security solutions at Boeing, where he managed the company's cybersecurity solutions portfolio. Palma also has held various roles at HP, PepsiCo and the United States Secret Service and possesses nearly 20 years of cybersecurity and IT industry experience.

What Does the Palma Hire Mean for BlackBerry?

Palma reports to CEO John Chen, the executive widely credited for stabilizing BlackBerry's business, shedding money losing handset efforts, and pushing hard into software, mobility management and cybersecurity.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen

Palma could help BlackBerry drive the growth and development of BlackBerry Secure, an EoT platform that includes enterprise communication and collaboration software and safety-certified embedded solutions. BlackBerry Spark provides data encryption across mobile devices and networks and helps organizations comply with global data security requirements.

Furthermore, Palma could help BlackBerry accelerate its earnings growth following a profitable third quarter of fiscal year 2019.

BlackBerry reported total generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) software and services revenue of $217 million in 3QFY19, which represented a 14 percent year-over-year increase. The company also recorded non-GAAP operating income of $27 million in 3QFY19; this represented the 11th consecutive quarter of positive non-GAAP operating income.

BlackBerry Acquires Cylance

Palma's security experience could be valuable amid BlackBerry's buyout of Cylance, an artificial intelligence cybersecurity software company. BlackBerry announced that $1.4 billion acquisition in late 2018, and is expected to close the deal in end of February 2019.

Cylance will operate as a separate business unit within BlackBerry, according to the companies. Cylance also will incorporate its AI-based cybersecurity capabilities into BlackBerry Spark.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.