BlackBerry Agrees to Acquire Good Technology

Carl Weinschenk
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Black Hat 2015: 5 Takeaways on Mobile App Security

Though it has seemingly been in the endgame of its existence for a half-decade, BlackBerry announced this week that it is acquiring Good Technology, according to The Verge. While BlackBerry of course is famous for its mobile devices, both companies have a strong presence in the mobile management sector. The deal is for $425 million in cash. BlackBerry expects the deal to close by the end of November and it will realize $160 million in revenue the first year.

The acquisition seems to make sense, because it’s clear at this point that BlackBerry’s future is not primarily in devices. Mobility is experiencing huge growth and compounding complexity, so gaining the technologies from a firm that can help companies take advantage of mobility while limiting their vulnerabilities is a very valuable asset.

AppLock Rife with Security Issues

AppLock has been downloaded more than 100 million times by people in more than 50 countries, which is great for DMobile Lab, the company that offers the product. What isn’t so great is that AppLock is overrun with security flaws, at least according to Noam Rathus, Beyond Security’s security blogger.


The app is supposed to lock SMS messages, contacts and apps, but there are three main issues: Pictures and images behind a PIN-protected wall are not encrypted, a weak lock mechanism makes the PIN codes insecure, and it is theoretically possible for an interloper to bypass the PIN mechanism altogether.

ZDNet said that Rathus went public due to a “lack of communications” since July 31 with DMobile Lab. Employees who use AppLock may become an issue for companies that allow employees to use their own devices at their jobs.

Despite Recommendation, Smartphone Use on Planes Still on Hold

The use of cellphones on airplanes has been a safety and consumer preference issue for years. This week, the Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection recommended to the U.S. Transportation Department that the decision be left up to the airlines.

The caveat in the guidance is that safety and security must first be proven. Two issues are at play in the long-running debate, according to BloombergBusiness:

Even if the FCC determines that mobile phones or other mobile devices used during flight wouldn’t interfere with cellular networks and revises its ban, Federal Aviation Administration safety regulations would still apply, the Transportation Department said in a notice last year. Aircraft operators would have to determine that equipment won’t interfere with aircraft systems before any restrictions are lifted, according to the notice.

In December 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that it would open the issue to public comment. Though the recommendation is not insignificant, the use of cell and smartphones on planes still seems to be a long way off.

The Hidden ROI Benefits of Business Continuity Planning

Business continuity (BC) is necessary for the enterprise, but it is acknowledged to only have a return on investment (ROI) if something goes wrong. In other words, the best outcome is that the money spent on BC is wasted. Rainer Hübert, MBCI, a managing consultant and product manager at the German firm HiSolutions, argues at Continuity Central that BC can provide an ROI that is not directly related to bringing back the organization from an outage.

According to Hübert, good BC plans lower business interruption insurance premiums and the cost of borrowing money. A good BC plan also will make it more likely that the company is included in global supply chains. Finally, he points out that departments often are asked to describe workarounds for everyday tasks when a BC plan is being created. This stimulates thinking and can lead to useful innovations that are implemented outside the context of the BC plan.

Tracking Billable Hours

Vertical-specific collaboration platforms are a good idea, and the legal profession seems like a good place to start. Microsoft this week introduced Matter Center for Office 365, which is aimed at enabling legal professionals to work together in a way that is optimized just for that profession.

Project partners include Epona, Handshake Software, LawPoint365, the PayneGroup, Perficient, Project Leadership Associates and Ubiquity Wave. It is available for all devices that use iOS or Android. 

No tools are mentioned in the story that wouldn’t also be appropriate for other verticals; however, the platform figures to be strong on security and the ability to find the specialized resources that lawyers use on a regular basis. The company has been working on the platform for two years.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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