1. dbmalloy's Avatar
    Well written and thought out article....

    Can BlackBerry Become The Next Security Superpower? - Forbes

    Can BlackBerry Become The Next Security Superpower?

    BlackBerry announced its intent to acquire Secusmart. It’s a company that offers high-security voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping solutions for government organizations, enterprises and telecommunications service providers. BlackBerry had previously partnered with the company to offer Secusmart’s technology to its customers. John Chen said “We have addressed eavesdropping concerns with Secusmart, who has been a partner since 2009 and we currently have the SecuSUITE for BlackBerry 10. It’s a solution used by Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security for classified communications between the country’s top officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.”

    What to take away from the transaction?

    In case you hadn’t noticed, BlackBerry is fully retrenched on the enterprise and highly regulated industries. The company cut a deal with Amazon and Android that allows BlackBerry users to have access to more than 200,000 Android applications, including thousands of popular apps and games. Effectively, this allows BlackBerry to have consumer apps without requiring developers to build apps for its operating system. As a result, BlackBerry developers can focus their resources on creating more lucrative enterprise apps.

    Blackberry is hanging its hat on becoming the next security company…and that’s not a bad thing. Blackberry is making progress with its Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution but this is a tough market to win against the likes of Vmware/Airwarch and Mobileiron. However, Mobileiron’s IPO is good for Blackberry because there will be tighter pressure on the company to demonstrate good margins and revenue growth, not just customer wins. While the recently announced Apple and IBM partnership appears to make this harder, the focus of that partnership is on apps and analytics.

    Everyone looks at BlackBerry an thinks its trying to become a simple EMM company of yesteryear. What we need to consider is that EMM could be the foundation for our next generation of identity management and security solutions across the entire computing stack. EMM will evolve to managing and securing every enterprise connected device, not just smartphones and tablets. It has the potential to control your buildings HVAC system, manage your fleet vehicles and any other network connected devices.

    The good news for BlackBerry is that EMM isn’t fully penetrated. IoT management and security platforms are nascent and highly vertical in nature. Identity solutions are also getting an overhaul as a result of mobility and cloud computing. Rather than focus on the device market and winning the mobile operating systems battle, Blackberry has the opportunity to capture new ground. First, in the regulated industries and security sensitive environments. For example, the new Smart City networks will connect everything from lamp posts, to parking spaces, to vehicles. This opportunity isn’t owned by any EMM vendor today. BlackBerry could partner with Cisco and GE to add value in the Internet of Everything and Industrial Internet space.

    Going forward, we should think of Blackberry as more of a security company competing with Symantec and Intel’s McAfee for the next generation of security and Identity solutions.These markets are in flux and it’s unclear who will lead in the future security landscape. There will be many solutions proposed to offer identity management, IoT security and threat protection. In corporation’s today, a large percentage of identity management focuses on using Active Directory user names and passwords. Blackberry has the opportunity to use mobile to insert itself into the upcoming security markets. We should also look at them as a potential IoT platform competing against the like of Axeda and LogMeIn’s Xively. Earlier this month PTC acquired Axeda for $170 million. The Axeda Machine Cloud Service includes machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT connectivity services, software agents, and toolkits that enable companies to connect their products to the cloud using virtually any communication channel (e.g. cellular networks, the Internet, WiFi, or satellite). Axeda’ssecurity strategy covers all levels of the IoT technology stack, including network, application, user, and data security. Doesn’t this sound like something that BlackBerry could provide with its NOC and a few additional security components?

    Secusmart is just one piece of the security puzzle. BlackBerry will need to acquire other pieces over time. To make this acquisition successful, BlackBerry will need to get Secusmart technology adopted as the standard for new connected devices that require rich security (e.g. medical devices, automobiles, connected city infrastructure.) The challenge for BlackBerry is to continue to invest in this transition. None of this is a trivial task but BlackBerry needs to pivot from being a device company to being a provider of next generation security solutions. The company only has to be successful in one area of the upcoming security landscape to be a viable entity. If nothing else, this transition to a security company could make it a more appealing acquisition target for a large company that wants to change it’s security portfolio or add a new set of capabilities.

    Maribel is the founder of Lopez Research LLC, a market research firm focused on mobility. She’s also the author of the Wiley book “Right-time Experiences: Driving Revenue with Mobile and Big Data”
    07-30-14 10:12 AM
  2. m1kr0's Avatar
    Nicely written article. Competing with McAfee in future? I don't know if that is a bit of reaching though.

    Z10 STL100-1, OS
    07-30-14 10:19 AM

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