BlackBerry buys Encription, plots cybersecurity services unit

The purchase of the U.K.-based Encription gives BlackBerry a base to offer security services for regulated industries to start.

BlackBerry said Thursday that it has acquired Encription, which provides cybersecurity services, and will build a unit around consulting.

The move puts BlackBerry more squarely into security where it can leverage its software and intellectual property. Encription offers hardware and security technical consulting, penetration testing and white hat hacking services. Encription conforms with the United Kingdom's highest security standards and has certifications in the CESG CHECK IT and ISO/IEC 27001.

"We view this as a natural extension from what we do now, said James Mackey, executive vice president of corporate development and strategic planning. Mackey noted that BlackBerry already provides white hat hacking for its own products. "What was missing was the ability to take what we do now and point that externally. Encription gives us the ability to expand this practice," he said.

Encription has 40 employees and is based in Birmingham, U.K. The company has large enterprise and government customers, but works under non-disclosure agreements. BlackBerry has 15 employees today who focus on security services internally, but it's immaterial to the company's financial results.


With the purchase, BlackBerry gets a chance to cross-sell its other software and hardware. However, the company noted that it will work with clients who aren't BlackBerry customers.

BlackBerry plans to offer the following services:

  • Strategic security and best practices for IT operations as well as mobility and cloud management.
  • Technical assistance for infrastructure and product security.
  • Automotive and IoT security consulting. BlackBerry could leverage its QNX software with these services.
  • Detection, testing and analysis services.

BlackBerry's cybersecurity unit will mirror the company's overall strategy to focus on regulated industries.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Mackey said that Encription is the beginning of what could become a series of investments in security services. BlackBerry said it will hire more security professionals over time.


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