BlackBerry pushes further into cybersecurity, secures new wealth client

  • By Christine St Anne

BlackBerry has secured wealth management business Patersons Securities to its cloud-based security solution as the global firm continues to build a cybersecurity business.

With more than $13 billion dollars under management, an international client base, growing mobile workforce and changing compliance laws like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Patersons Security’s chief information officer Darren Michael said the business was looking to ensure security and confidentiality to its business.

“Our clients' data privacy is key. The consequences of a data breach could cost us millions in financial loss and reputation. We have been in business for over 115 years. Our longevity and success is due to the trust our clients have in us and reducing risk is our first concern,” Michael said.

The firm will use BlackBerry Workspaces to give its advisers full control over files, both internally among staff and when they are sent to clients outside the firewall.

It will also support the wealth manager’s move to going fully paperless in the onboarding of new clients.

“BlackBerry Workspaces will allow us to trace, track, and audit digital documents and information shared among staff and clients. This empowers our mobile employees to remain productive while ensuring a high level of data confidentiality in a complex regulatory environment,” he said.

“It’s also about efficiencies and making it easier for our clients.”

Michael acknowledged the challenges around third-party data breaches and added that BlackBerry’s solution will help mitigate such breaches, but the key was to choose a limited and quality number of vendors because “you can’t have data in many places because of that third-party issue”.

“Control and security is important in financial services. It is also making it a good and seamless experience for our clients and our staff."

The change agent

BlackBerry’s shift into cybersecurity was led by John Chen who took on the helm of the then embattled handset phone business in 2013.

“Most people know BlackBerry as a handset and phone business. In reality not much has changed. It’s now about building software not hardware to solve the same problems,” BlackBerry vice president of product management, Nigel Thompson said.

“Our customers still face the same problems around the ability to communicate securely through data sharing. Secure data collaboration is still part of the BlackBerry brand,” he said.

Through a series of acquisitions in 2015 led by Chan, who Thompson describes as the “change agent”, BlackBerry has increased its presence in cybersecurity software.

This included the acquisition of mobile security business Good Technology – which Thompson has worked for – WatchDox which rebranded to BlackBerry Workspaces and AtHoc. AtHoc provides emergency alerts during periods of crisis such as natural disasters.

The global firm's clients are in “highly regulated” sectors such as government and healthcare.

A number of global banks are among its clients. Locally, the Queensland Investment Corporation also uses its Workspaces solution, 

“Financial services has always been our core customer base because of the high security and regulatory requirements. It’s a sector we continue to make big investments in.”