Cloud Security, Data Security, Encryption

AWS acquires encrypted comms platform Wickr to support shift to hybrid work environments


In a move that could bring some relief to organizations looking to secure their cloud migrations, Amazon Web Services on Friday announced that it had acquired Wickr, provider of secure end-to-end encryption and communications platform.

Stephen Schmidt, vice president and CISO at AWS, said in a blog that with the move to a hybrid work environment due in part to the pandemic, companies and government agencies have a growing desire to protect their communications across multiple remote locations.

“Wickr’s secure communications solutions help enterprises and government organizations adapt to this change in their workforces and is a welcome addition to the growing set of collaboration and productivity services that AWS offers customers and partners,” Schmidt said.

The acquisition of Wickr should allow AWS to enhance its portfolio with secure, end-to-end encryption communications and expand its reach into the enterprise and government sectors, said Raul Castanon, senior research analyst for S&P Global Market Intelligence’s 451 Research.

Castanon said the deal follows similar moves by other cloud communications providers, such as video collaboration SaaS provider Zoom, which acquired secure messaging service Keybase in May 2020, and cloud communications provider RingCentral, a Zoom partner, which acquired encryption software vendor Kindite in March 2021. He said this signals that organizations will consider security a top priority as a way to deploy a hybrid work model.

“While in the past, advanced features such as end-to-end encryption were mainly the domain of niche players – such as Symphony and Wickr – the shift to remote/hybrid work has raised the bar for broad, horizontal apps – including team collaboration and unified communications,” Castanon said. “The acquisition could be particularly relevant for AWS in two key areas: Its Amazon Chime SDK, allowing AWS to enhance its communications PaaS offering with encrypted communications services; and since Wickr’s client roster includes several U.S. government agencies, it could help strengthen AWS’ position in the public sector.”

Frank Dickson, a program vice president at IDC who covers security, said that the major cloud providers continue to find ways to help with their customer’s portion of the shared responsibility model, adding that one way to do that is by building resiliency into and between cloud environments.

“Wickr brings a wealth of data resiliency tools which leverage secure, end-to-end encrypted, communication technology,” Dickson said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced security-conscious companies and public sector organization to support remote work, but the need for highly-secure communication and collaboration did not go away. Wickr provides AWS with tools to implement important governance and security controls to help meet strenuous security and compliance requirements.”

Doug Cahill, a vice president and senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group, added that the pandemic-induced increase in remote work has resulted in a reliance on cloud-delivered messaging and collaboration platforms.

“These modern workflows are here to stay, serving business-critical functions resulting in sensitive information travelling through these channels,” Cahill said.  “As such, secure communications platforms such as Wickr will enable the way in which organizations now communicate both internally and with trusted third-parties.”

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