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Why Olympus Trusts BlackBerry to Keep its File Security in Good Health

HEALTHCARE / 09.19.18 / Norio Gokita

Digital transformation and the Enterprise of Things are changing the face of manufacturing.  To keep pace with competitors, companies constantly seek new ways to drive efficiencies for people and machines. In many ways, this has shifted how manufacturers operate, causing them to become both service providers and equipment producers.

While that’s excellent from a customer perspective, it also represents a potential security risk. Everything is now online – and that means that keeping intellectual property safe is both more imperative, but more challenging than ever. This was precisely the sort of landscape facing Olympus when it approached BlackBerry to help protect sensitive information used by engineers in the field.

As a world-leading manufacturer of precision instruments, Olympus has a well-deserved reputation for quality and excellence. Among its multiple lines of business in imaging, medicine and scientific research, the endoscope devices it manufactures for the healthcare industry are especially valuable. It has devoted considerable time and effort to perfecting them, so it is vital the company protect its product manuals and documents from accidental leaks or unscrupulous individuals and businesses.

“The documents are like an encyclopedia of our technologies,” explains Takuro Watabe, Senior Supervisor of IT Planning and Development at Olympus’ Information Technology Division. “If they or the device that contains them is lost or stolen, our intellectual property could end up in the hands of a competitor.”

It is important to note that Olympus does more than manufacture technology. Part of the service it offers customers is sending skilled technicians to do on-site maintenance and repairs in the field. Those technicians need to be equipped with the most up-to-date product documentation, specifications and manuals in order to do their job.

Initially, field staff were required to carry armloads of physical files with them to a site, any of which could be easily misplaced. The first step for Olympus was to deploy a system to allow employees to view those documents digitally. Unfortunately, this system could not be used offline.

Since many healthcare facilities restrict the use of electronics due to the risk of interference with medical technology, field staff were forced to either download the files to their devices in advance or print them off. This only amplified security concerns at Olympus, and Watabe and his team quickly realized they needed something that would enable secure, real-time access to digital documents, independent of connectivity.

That led them to BlackBerry ®Workspaces, the most secure enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) that enables companies to safely store, share, protect, and track information.

Olympus had three critical requirements when assessing a new solution. First, staff needed to be able to refer to the latest version of a document, whether online or offline – even while on-site at a healthcare facility. Second, it needed to be able to set secure, granular access permissions on each document. Finally, it needed a native app capable of running on the Apple iPads many of its field staff relied upon.

“We were aware of many file encryption technologies and products, but none had enough of the features that we needed for our operations,” notes Rie Makano, an IT Planning & Development Professional in Olympus’ Information Technology Division. “The only one that met all of our requirements was BlackBerry Workspaces.”

Thanks to BlackBerry Workspaces, field staff can safely access digital documents no matter where their job takes them. More importantly, Olympus is always in control of those documents, which are protected by 256-bit AES encryption and powerful Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. Workspaces’ file management and tracking ensures that only authorized users are able to access files – even if a device is lost or stolen, its intellectual property remains secure.

“We are extremely pleased with the features of BlackBerry Workspaces, and it has decreased the risk of information leaks dramatically,” says Watabe. “It has delivered results in our medical business that exceeded our initial expectations. In light of this success, we are looking to use the platform in our scientific solutions and other segments.”

Click here to read the full case study. To learn more about what BlackBerry Workspaces can do for your business, visit

Norio Gokita

About Norio Gokita

Norio Gokita is BlackBerry's Director of Enterprise Sales in Japan.