If there was one sentence in which 2014 could be described in terms of data security, it could be described as “the year of massive data breaches” that occurred in many organizations. It was only a few weeks ago that Sony Corporation was hacked and its entire system compromised, to a point where all communication was rendered useless.
When Sony Pictures employees got into the office on Monday, November 24, they discovered that their corporate network had been hacked. The attackers took terabytes of private data, deleted the original copies from Sony computers, and left messages threatening to release the information if Sony didn’t comply with the attackers’ demands. Someone claiming to be a former Sony employee posted this screenshot, which (allegedly) shows the message that appeared on Sony employees’ computer screens:
Sony’s network was down for days as administrators struggled to repair the damage. Staff were reportedly forced to work on whiteboards to do their jobs.
Sony executives, who had long ago stopped using their BlackBerry devices discovered that they still had some in storage and were able to reactivate them, which allowed them to re-establish communications. What was interesting was that these executives did not go to their shiny iPhones or Android devices in their time of crisis, but to the proven and trusty BlackBerries, as they knew that where security is concerned, BlackBerry holds the gold standard.
The lesson learned from this and other incidents is that any organization that stores, transmits or processes confidential data should have an adequate system in place to secure it. This includes the encryption of sensitive information, sensible access control policies to manage the level of access allowed by authorized personnel, while limiting and preventing access by unauthorized entities.
As the trend to allow access to these systems by mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets grows exponentially, there is also the need to have not just a mobile device management policy in place, but also to have a reputable MDM system in place to secure these devices.
Unfortunately Sony is just one of the latest companies to experience a data breach. Earlier this year Insurance giant, Aviva had a massive breach in which more than 1,000 employee smartphones and iPads had their contents wiped completely clean.
The Register is reporting that the Heartbleed vulnerability was leveraged in an attack last month against a BYOD service provider, allowing the attackers to potentially cause millions in damages for insurance giant Aviva after a number of the company’s fleet of employee-owned mobile devices were wiped clean.
“Aviva was using BYOD service MobileIron to manage more than 1,000 smart devices such as iPhones and iPads. On the evening of the 20 May, a hacker compromised the MobileIron admin server and posted a message to those handhelds and the email accounts, according to our source,” the report stated. “The hacker then performed a full wipe of every device and subsequently took out the MobileIron server itself.”
When this incident occurred, BlackBerry again came to the rescue. This time with its BES 10 MDM solution to secure and manage these devices.
On some forums when BlackBerry and its gold standard BES solution are being discussed, there are some comments in which their strength in security is dismissed by some who say
“Well, who cares about security?” or the famous “I don’t care as I have nothing to hide”
Well for these people, they should care as not only their personal information could be compromised, but their banking and financial information as well, leaving them vulnerable to financial fraud. Out of a total population of 300 million in the United States, approximately 55 million had their identities compromised last year. So the approach of ignoring the security issue unfortunately does not make it go away.
Cyber-crime on the rise:
- The sophistication and number of cyber attacks has exploded across our personal lives, corporate lives, and government lives
- In the US, 55 million identities were compromised last year out of a country with a total population of 300 million, according to the symantec internet security threat report
- 19% of all healthcare facilities had reported that their systems had been compromised in the last year
- Consumer breaches – ie. Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan, iCloud hack of celebrities photos, etc
- Last July, WellPoint health care provider fined $2 million for HIPAA, privacy and security violations
- eCommerce eBay – internal employee logins were compromised. These logins provided access to over 233 million of their customers personal data, credit cards, etc
Many companies have been lured away from BlackBerry due to a certain perception that BlackBerry devices are not cool anymore and that its consumer market-share has dropped to a level due to many former users migrating from their previous BBOS devices. In addition, there is the FUD being spread by BlackBerry’s competitors in the MDM marketplace that BlackBerry is bankrupt or going out of business, but this is not the case and is completely false.
- BlackBerry has moved past the question that many have been asking “Is the company going to survive?” Obviously it is
- BlackBerry has completed the restructuring stage, has right-sized the company and is now focused on growth
- BlackBerry has completely stabilized its cash flow
- BlackBerry increased its cash reserves to 3.1 billion in the last quarter and earned approximately 973 million dollars in revenue.
- BlackBerry is not totally reliant on hardware sales, as software, services and other revenue streams is making a larger percentage of BlackBerry’s revenue stream.
- The revenue breakdown for the quarter was approximately 46% for hardware, 46% for services and 8% for software and other revenue.
- In the last 12 months, BlackBerry has removed $2 billion from its operational expenses
- Normalized positive cash flow of $43 million in the quarter, compared to cash use of $36 million in the prior quarter
Non-GAAP earnings of $0.01 per share compared to a loss of $0.02 per share in the prior quarter
Below are some strong arguments why BlackBerry’s BES10/BES12 MDM should be considered.
BlackBerry’s security remains the gold standard in the industry and will remain the gold standard in the industry due to the following reasons:
- All the G7 countries are standardized on BlackBerry
- 16 of the 20 G20 countries are also on BlackBerry
- BlackBerry has over 70 government certifications and approvals
- BlackBerry is the first and only end to end mobile platform awarded full operational capability to run on U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) networks networks
- BlackBerry devices and software are NATO approved for restricted communications
- Across all 28 NATO countries, you can share classified/confidential information over the BlackBerry network
- BlackBerry’s end to end mobile device management (MDM) solution is completely STIG approved for the U.S. Department of Defense.
So folks there you have it. Any organization that stores, transmits or processes confidential data should have an adequate system in place to secure it. In the case where it is accessed or updated by mobile devices a MDM system such as BlackBerry’s “gold standard” BES12 solution, should be in place to manage and control these devices.
Companies that have raised concern about BlackBerry’s financial position and future outlook due to FUD being spread by the mainstream media and other competitors need to take a deep breath and look at the facts.
- BlackBerry track record in providing security for enterprises and organizations is second to none.
- BlackBerry 10 devices such as the Passport and Classic are specifically built to satisfy enterprise needs.
- Even if you choose to use other platforms such as ios, Android or Windows, BlackBerry’s BES12 solution can both manage and secure them.
- BlackBerry is not going away, as it is in a much better financial position than it was a year ago when CEO Chen first arrived and is here to stay.
So for 2015, companies need to make the right choice when securing their data and choosing a MDM provider in order to avoid the security disasters that occurred in 2014. For those looking for a MDM solution, BlackBerry’s BES12 is an option that should be considered. BES12 is the “gold standard” with a solid record and high level of satisfaction among the clients that have implemented it. It has also earned the trust of governments, industries and many organizations around the world.