BlackBerry Wants to Teach Your Company How to Defeat Hackers

BlackBerry Wants to Teach You How to Defeat Hackers
  • Smartphone maker buys U.K.-based cybersecurity firm Encription
  • BlackBerry adding revenue streams after device sales drop

BlackBerry Ltd. is building out a consultancy business to help companies and governments defend against hackers as it seeks new revenue streams.

The smartphone maker is buying U.K.-based Encription, a 40-employee cybersecurity consulting firm, and is merging it with its own team of “white-hat hackers” to form a group that will help clients test the security of their products and computer systems, said James Mackey, BlackBerry’s head of corporate development. He declined to say how much BlackBerry paid for Encription.

BlackBerry is working to remake itself into a top seller of security-focused software for businesses and governments. Acquisitions over the past year have added secure file sharing and an emergency alert system to its portfolio of products. With Encription, BlackBerry can sell another layer of services on top of that software.

“We want to make sure we have a few areas of expertise where we really differentiate ourselves,” Mackey said. “We’re doing a small acquisition but we are organically standing behind this. If there’s significant demand there we will invest heavily.”

The acquisition adds the potential for a new source of revenue as Chief Executive Officer John Chen works to shift the company away from its reliance on smartphone sales, which fell more than 40 percent to $214 million in the company’s most recent quarter compared with the same period the year earlier. Chen has said he is aiming to reach $500 million in annual software sales by the end of this fiscal year.

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