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BlackBerry Security Summit: Providing Assurance in an Insecure Era

07.23.14 / John Chen

491893013Today’s threats to mobile security have reached crisis proportions. Every day, I read a news article about another hacker attack, malware epidemic, million-dollar data breach or explosive spying report.

Also, enterprises that rolled out BYOD with light to no management over the past several years are starting to admit that their enthusiasm may have resulted in some problems. Take this CIO magazine article headlined, “Mobile Workers: ‘I Want My BlackBerry Back,’” from earlier this week. According to CIO, employees at a “well-known investment firm in New York City” ran into “mobile app performance issues and privacy concerns” after the firm rolled out a Bring Your Own Device policy.

“It’s a nightmare,” an IT executive speaking on condition of anonymity told CIO. The executive has tried out 4 different mobile device management (MDM) products to manage its deployment, and “in every instance, has had significant problems.”

Architectural failings made some rollouts difficult, he says. One MDM featured an impressive containerized solution but no push notifications for email. Another wouldn’t let salespeople send email from inside the Salesforce app or open a PDF with GoodReader.

“The failure of these systems has to do with little things that drive users crazy,” the IT executive says. “We’re an investment firm with a hundred-something monkeys, everyone is super smart, everyone is a prima donna, and it’s very difficult to accommodate them.”

As a result of this and other issues, unhappy employees sparked a “BYOD revolt,” with 60% of employees requesting to go back to a BlackBerry.

Grass Isn’t Always Greener

I understand human nature. The grass always does seem greener on the other side. This company and its employees had experience first-hand to understand that MDM point solutions don’t offer the breadth and capabilities that an end-to-end, cross-platform EMM solution – such as BlackBerry – can provide.

But this company was fortunate that during its experimentation with MDM vendors, it didn’t experience a major data loss or breach. That’s the risk that companies – along with their C-level executives AND Board of Directors – face when they take a chance on suppliers that lack the history and ongoing security credentials of a BlackBerry.

‘We Won’t Compromise on Security’

BlackBerry will be holding a Security Summit next Tuesday July 29 in New York City starting at 8 am Eastern Time. I will be giving the keynote speech, talking about how we are executing today to help our tens of thousands of customers deal with today’s mobile security risks. Things you’ll hear about include:

  • All of the R&D and patent work we are investing in today, and how that translates to our coming BES12 update to our flagship enterprise mobility management platform;
  • A key new feature to our secure communications platform, BBM Enterprise (formerly known as BBM Protected);
  • Other updates to our solution roadmap.

I’ll also share about how BlackBerry is already starting to plan and execute on a bigger looming security crisis – the Internet of Things. You won’t see the fruits of our execution there in any headlines in the near future, but maybe five years from now. But rest assured we are taking concrete steps today.

I’ll be joined by Forrester analyst, Tyler Shields, who will interview a panel of our leading enterprise customers, as well as a number of BlackBerry experts and executives.

Follow @BlackBerry4Biz on Twitter or the hashtag #BBSecurity to get live updates from the Security Summit. While the event is limited to journalists, and industry and financial analysts, we are also planning a live social event to get your questions answered on Tuesday immediately following our event.

John Chen

About John Chen

John Chen is Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry. Appointed in November 2013, John led BlackBerry’s turnaround stabilizing the company’s financial position, ensuring its viability, and pivoting its operations from consumer hardware to enterprise software. Today the company takes advantage of the current growth opportunities in IoT and Cybersecurity and is pioneering the convergence of these two markets.

John is a distinguished business leader and proven turnaround executive with over 40 years of engineering and management experience. Prior to joining BlackBerry, John served as Chairman and CEO of Sybase Inc. where he re-invented the company and achieved 55 consecutive quarters of profitability during his 15-year tenure.

Recognized as a thought leader and as a respected voice in foreign policy, John has testified before Congress on U.S.–China trade relations and was appointed by U.S. President George W. Bush to serve on the President's Export Council. In 2006, he was appointed co-chair of the Secure Borders and Open Doors Advisory Committee. Additionally, John chaired the U.S.-China Policy Advisory Roundtable for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), served on the Board of the National Committee on U.S. China Relations since 2012, and has been a member of the Committee of 100 since 1997 and its Chairman from 2009-2011.

John graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). John has an honorary professorship from Shanghai University, and honorary doctorates from San Jose State University, City University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. John has received awards from the U.S.-Asia Institute, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation, the California-Asia Business Council, and the U.S.-Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation.

John served on the Board of Directors for The Walt Disney Company (2004-2019) and Wells Fargo & Co. (2006-2018) and as a trustee of Caltech (2008-2022). John is an Advisory Board member of the US Chamber China Center. He is also active in the not-for-profit community, and is a board member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, member of CFR, national trustee of The First Tee and Governor of the San Francisco Symphony.