BlackBerry has revealed what it is calling its “mobile-native approach to security with the launch of a comprehensive platform designed for the Enterprise of Things (EoT)”.
It becomes a step further in its new pursuit of software over hardware. It also takes the company’s journey into mobile device management, or ‘enterprise mobility management’, further.
Securing the Internet of Things (IoT) for enterprises is likely going to become an expanding market in the near future, with the number of IoT-connected devices set to rise by 200 per cent by 2021, according to Juniper Research.
BlackBerry said its new platform is “designed to be the foundation that drives the company's ongoing move to software, is cloud-enabled and addresses the entire enterprise from endpoint to endpoint”.
It follows a September announcement from the company that it would stop manufacturing its own devices and focus on software.
In a statement at the time, BlackBerry chief executive John Chen said: “Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications. The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners. This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.”
BlackBerry software has long been well-received for its security features. It has provided software to governments and huge global enterprises, so the company certainly has the background and the experience to move into securing the EoT.
Internet of Things
The IoT has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Amazon has released its Dash button, fitness trackers are taking the world by storm and the widespread adoption of autonomous connected cars is right on the horizon.
A number of reports have predicted that the numbers of consumer devices connected to the IoT will increase by massive margins in the coming years as their costs fall and people become more familiar with the technology.
However, along with more devices comes the risk of more threats. The IoT has already been hacked, leading to a blackout of the internet for hours in the US.
This is why ensuring the security of the IoT – and particularly that of the EoT – is vital.
Enterprise of Things
According to BlackBerry, data breaches and cybersecurity threats are some of the biggest roadblocks to realising the greatest potential of the EoT, which the firm defines as “the network of intelligent connections and endpoints within the enterprise that enable products to move from sketch to scale”.
Like the IoT, the EoT is a collection of devices, computers, sensors, trackers, equipment and other "things" that communicate with each other. However, unlike the consumer IoT, this communication works to enable smart product development, distribution, marketing and sales.
According to Mr Chen: “Businesses must be able to confidentially and reliably transmit sensitive data between endpoints to keep people, information and goods safe.
“BlackBerry is uniquely qualified to address this emerging market now because of our deep experience, industry leadership and ongoing product innovation that addresses future business needs.”
The company said its solution is called BlackBerry Secure and is grounded in the company's mobile software security platform. It has been developed to help companies manage and secure their mobile devices and connected things and secures communications for all messaging and file types.
Announcing its new service, BlackBerry said its platform helps to “prevent hackers from penetrating devices and computers, provide intelligence for highly secure supply chain communications, ensure patient confidentiality in healthcare and safeguard assets in the financial industry”.
Mr Chen added that his firm’s customers' investments are protected as the platform is compatible with our current products and third-party software like Microsoft Office 365, and is also 'future-proofed' to address upcoming capabilities such as messaging and analytics.
BlackBerry will have to work on ensuring that its security solutions really are future-proof in order to succeed in the arena of the EoT. This is due in part to the fact that many of the devices that will be connected have not yet been developed.
Whether BlackBerry is successful at securing the devices connected to the expanding EoT remains to be seen but there are ways that businesses can protect themselves now. One example is Arrow’s mobile device management, which secures devices connected to enterprise networks and conduct work in the cloud.
What is certain is that companies can’t be too cautious when it comes to security so it pays to take as many precautions as possible.