Microsoft and BlackBerry announced a strategic partnership to improve mobile security while workers toil away on Office 365 content using their Apple iOS and Android devices.
On March 19, the companies took the wraps off BlackBerry Enterprise Bridge, an app that enables organizations that use BlackBerry Dynamics to run Microsoft's native Office apps within the secure mobile environment. BlackBerry Dynamics is a hardened container technology that allows apps developed for the platform to operate and transfer data with little risk of data leakage or snooping.
According to BlackBerry, some of the world's largest governments, financial institutions and health care firms use the technology to enable secure mobile productivity and collaboration. Now, those organizations will be able to add Excel, PowerPoint and Word to the mix.
"We saw a need for a hyper-secure way for our joint customers to use native Office 365 mobile apps," said BlackBerry's president of Global Sales, Carl Wiese, in a statement. "BlackBerry Enterprise Bridge addresses this need and is a great example of how BlackBerry and Microsoft continue to securely enable workforces to be highly productive in today's connected world."
That integration provides a more consistent experience while working with Microsoft Office files, the companies claimed. Content renders as expected, and essential functionality is preserved across all devices.
In addition, BlackBerry Enterprise Bridge supports apps from Microsoft that are protected by Intune, the software giant's own mobile device and app management platform. This adds an extra layer of security, ensuring that content is encrypted and shared appropriately and in accordance to an organization's compliance policies.
Microsoft and BlackBerry also used the occasion to announce that BlackBerry Secure is now available on the Azure cloud-computing platform. BlackBerry Secure is a collection of mobility services that includes BlackBerry Dynamics along with BlackBerry UEM Cloud, BlackBerry Workspaces and BlackBerry AtHoc, an emergency alerting and crisis communications offering.
Although BlackBerry's heyday as a phone maker may be over, the Canadian company remains at the forefront of IT security. Its strong suit is email and web encryption, which has earned BlackBerry a sterling reputation among CIOs and other IT leaders in highly regulated industries.
Beyond mobile security, the company is parlaying its expertise into protecting other aspects of an increasingly interconnected world.
In January, BlackBerry launched Jarvis, an application that can quickly detect vulnerabilities in the code used in autonomous vehicles and provide automakers with insights on how to correct them. In a statement, John Chen, executive chairman and CEO of BlackBerry, described Jarvis as "a game-changer for OEMs because for the first time they have a complete, consistent, and near real-time view into the security posture of a vehicle's entire code base," helping them to stay a step ahead of attackers that target self-driving cars.
BlackBerry has also been making moves in the rapidly growing internet of things (IoT) market. On March 7, the company announced a licensing deal with Punkt that certifies the Swiss electronics maker's products as BlackBerry Secure, an indicator that they can be securely connected to enterprise and home networks.