BlackBerry And A More Secure Autonomous Future

BlackBerry had its analyst event this week, and it again was a reminder that today’s BlackBerry isn’t the company we knew two decades ago.  There was no mention of Smartphones, and the focus was on what the company is doing with security and how they are working to assure that our future autonomous cars are safe.  

The company also showcased two new executives Tom Eacubacci, the firm’s COO and President who came to the company out of Citrix, and Peter Virk, VP of the IVY (automotive) effort and out of Jaguar Land Rover’s as Director of that firm’s Connected Car & Future Technology (4+ years).  

BlackBerry’s mission has shifted from creating the most secure Smartphone system to shifting their focus to general security, particularly around autonomous things, which will be critical to the future deployment of those things, which will also depend on the accuracy of the data they receive to make decisions. 

Let’s look at each effort.

BlackBerry Automotive 

BlackBerry Ivy is being developed with AWS as a cloud-connected scalable platform designed to create personalized driver and passenger experiences while improving operations of connected vehicles using QNX and AWS technology.  The AWS element is important because Amazon has several independent projects ranging from drones to autonomous vehicles focused on increasing the speed at which packages are delivered and reducing the costs associated with those deliveries.  

Amazon has been working on a drone, drone launch platforms, and autonomous delivery vehicles as it moves away from traditional carriers and towards taking delivery in-house.  Much like the firm displaced most bookstores and outperformed most retailers, it is expected that once it enters the delivery segment, it will put FedEx and UPS at risk, much like Apple did with Smartphones to companies like BlackBerry two decades ago.   

Security for autonomous platforms is critical because if those platforms become compromised, they can cause accidents and death for the passengers and those operating on the same roads and in the same skies.  This security exposure is not a trivial problem because future autonomous cars, to function, will need to share data with other cars and systems that control traffic and alert the car to hazards it may not see.   Any of these data sources could become compromised, resulting in accidents if the source for the data isn’t protected and the data itself not only protected at rest but in use.  

BlackBerry Security In-Depth

This effort is primarily driven by BlackBerry’s Cylance effort and has a significant AI component critical to the Zero Trust environment they advocate.  Any system or network can become compromised, so connected elements must continuously validate who they are. Even if validated, if they behave badly, they need to be disconnected and quarantined.  Cylance technology can detect malware its real value by monitoring the behavior of users and connected systems coupled with the ability to react if anything on the network starts behaving unusually, including employees quickly.  This approach is to isolate anything questionable and stop most damage even before it starts creating unusually safe environments.  

This effort does dovetail with BlackBerry’s automotive effort to ensure the integrity of the data holistically. An autonomous car using that data won’t make bad decisions based on data that isn’t trustworthy.  As noted, BlackBerry is a big Zero Trust advocate, and this Cylance technology is uniquely suited for Zero Trust sites because its AI core can aggressively detect and automatically mitigate malware that hasn’t been created yet.  It doesn’t rely on outdated scripts but invasively looks at the people and things on a network.  This data integrity feature will be increasingly crucial as autonomous cars, drones, and robots rely on that data to navigate and perform their tasks.  

In short, BlackBerry is the only security vendor at the center of the enterprise, automotive, and IoT segments.  Given these areas will increasingly need to interoperate, having a security solution that can span them is becoming crucial to our safe future. 

Wrapping Up:  BlackBerry Is Poised For The Future

With the emergence of AI, Autonomous things (cars, robots, drones, planes, boats, etc.), IoT, and massive shifts in politics, weather, and government resources, having a security company that bridges all of that is increasingly important.  This importance is directly related to the need for these systems to interoperate and increasingly rely on data currently under-protected.   By aggressively and proactively protecting against the growing number of threats, some from major governments, BlackBerry has found itself at the crossroads of our future.  With their help, that future will be safer, more secure, and far more dependable than it otherwise would be.  The old phone-based BlackBerry is gone; the new BlackBerry is working to ensure our safe future and the future of our autonomous electronic children.