BlackBerry acquired Encription Limited, a U.K.-based cybersecurity and forensic services firm, and announced that the Canadian phone manufacturer is launching a professional cybersecurity services practice.
The new consulting practice will offer enterprise mobility management, technical and product development, IoT security consulting and threat detection and penetration testing services.
The company’s shift to a stronger focus on enterprise and consulting services is crucial to BlackBerry’s success. While the company is best known for its mobile phones, device sales have dropped off in recent years.
In October, just after BlackBerry confirmed plans to roll out the Priv, CEO John Chen said the company may exit the smartphone handset business if it isn’t profitable within the year.
While security has historically been a hallmark of the company’s phone sales, the company’s reputation for strong mobile security was tarnished in January when Dutch police claimed they could access encrypted PGP messages on BlackBerry devices (the phone maker disputes this). Also last month, Sean Penn published an interview in Rolling Stone in which he mentioned that he and Mexican druglord Joaquin Guzmán, a.k.a. El Chapo, communicated through “a web of BBM devices” – after which El Chapo was promptly captured by Mexican authorities.
On Tuesday, Chen said the company is “the gold standard when it comes to security and we’re always evolving to maintain this high standard as the complexity of enterprise mobility and security increases.”
Encription has not announced any funding rounds since the company launched in 2006.