Canadian handset maker BlackBerry may no longer be the preferred platform of busy business executives, but the company is doing everything it can to get back into their good graces. BlackBerry announced on Tuesday that it was acquiring U.S. technology company WatchDox in a bid to beef up its reputation for security.
WatchDox is a file-sync-and-share solution for enterprise customers, enabling them to share, work with and control their files on multiple devices. The solution is available as software as a service, as a virtual appliance, or as a hybrid, and is accessed by the user via a consumer-style app interface, according to the company.
Controlling Files Beyond the Enterprise
WatchDox’s profile would seem to fit snugly within BlackBerry’s strategy of pursuing government and enterprise customers while eschewing the consumer market. WatchDox boasts that it counts as its customers more than 150 companies in the Fortune 1000, including several large federal agencies, private equity firms, and many of the biggest Hollywood studios.
What is perhaps most valuable to BlackBerry and its enterprise client base is that the WatchDox solution allows enterprise IT departments to control access to corporate files, even after they have left their corporate IT environments and have been transferred to employees' personal devices, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
Organizations have full visibility and control over how files are edited, copied, printed or forwarded. The solution also allows end users to revoke access or delete files remotely, enables secure mobile productivity for repositories both in the cloud and on premises, and gives administrators the ability to lock or remove access to files compromised in a data breach.
“Sharing data outside the corporate walls can significantly increase workforce productivity, but can open an enterprise to serious financial and reputational risk if not implemented with the proper control,” said Maribel Lopez, Principal and Founder, Lopez Research, in a statement.
“WatchDox provides this control and truly focuses on data-centric security. Their enterprise file-sync-and-share technology will be an important enhancement to BlackBerry’s cross-platform EMM (enterprise mobility management) portfolio, as it delivers new capabilities while ensuring the level of security that enterprises have come to expect from BlackBerry,” Lopez added.
A High-Security Alternative
The deal follows several high profile cases in which large organizations have seen sensitive corporate e-mails hacked and disseminated on the Internet. For example, last year Apple suffered a black eye after a trove of private celebrity photos was stolen from its iCloud storage platform, raising questions about the security of many popular smartphones. Copies of pictures taken with iPhones or other Apple devices are automatically stored on iCloud if users enable the Photo Stream service on their phones.
Blackberry has said it wants to position itself as the high-security alternative to Android and iOS devices. “BlackBerry is constantly expanding the potential of data security so that it enables more collaboration and sharing rather than creating limitations,” said John Chen, BlackBerry Executive Chairman and CEO.
“This acquisition represents another key step forward as we transition BlackBerry into the premier platform for secure mobile communications software and applications, supporting all devices and operating systems. Together with last year’s Secusmart acquisition, Samsung partnership, our own internal development efforts, and now the acquisition of WatchDox, we now have capabilities to secure communications end-to-end from voice, text, messaging, data and now enterprise file sync and share.”
WatchDox is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, with research and development facilities in Petah Tikva, Israel. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Posted: 2015-04-22 @ 7:41am PT
This is interesting given that Blackberry users have been liking www.fileapartment.com.