Earlier today, BlackBerry announced the completion of its acquisition of Cylance. The combination of a secure communications powerhouse with a native artificial intelligence (AI) security pioneer represents a synergistic union that will have a tremendous impact on how we navigate and secure the increasingly interconnected world.
For more than three decades, BlackBerry has earned a reputation for being the trusted provider of secure communications products and services, making it an undisputed leader in security solutions for mobile and distributed workforces. The BlackBerry brand has since become synonymous with the notion of trust, enabling the rapid adoption of cutting-edge technologies ranging from autonomous vehicles to the embedded smart devices that increasingly drive efficiency in our daily lives. In fact, BlackBerry is now the de facto platform for secure communications for the G7 and all of the Fortune 100.
The company finds its counterpoint in Cylance, a six-year-old upstart that has defined the effective application of advanced mathematical algorithms using AI to revolutionize the endpoint protection and response market. Prior to Cylance, the sages of security had all but abandoned the notion that attackers could be neutralized before they caused harm, and the industry collectively acquiesced to the post-breach defense approach, virtually assuring the recurring cycle of compromise to critical systems we see today. Cylance upended that paradigm, restoring confidence that a prevention-first security posture is not only possible but imperative.
In their own ways, both BlackBerry and Cylance are mission-driven organizations fueled by a passion to protect people and their data wherever they reside. Their respective commitments in the healthcare industry are just one of the many examples that illustrate the enormous opportunities the combined organization can create.
Let’s start with BlackBerry and the fight against melanoma. Treating melanoma costs healthcare organizations in Australia approximately $201 million every year, and the disease is impacting thousands of lives and millions of families. Melanoma rates have increased in other parts of the world, too: The U.K., Sweden, and Norway have all seen annual increases at about 3%, and the percentage of melanoma cases in the U.S. has more than doubled in the past 30 years.
To combat this trend, BlackBerry partnered with the Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA), a leading organization that pioneers the prevention and cure of melanoma through world-class research, treatment, and education programs. MIA required a solution that would let researchers around the world securely access and share data in real-time, while complying with Australian, European and Canadian privacy regulations. The secure collaboration platform BlackBerry Workspaces played a critical role in the process by allowing clinicians, researchers, and other stakeholders to share data securely, collaborate on timely clinical data, reduce the risk of data leakage, and accelerate research efforts. Ernie White of MIA noted, “As we continue to expand our research network, [we are] accelerating how our researchers can freely collaborate in a very regulated environment while maintaining data integrity.”
Cylance’s work on the front lines manifested a little differently. When the WannaCry ransomware attack hit in 2017, it was one of the largest reported cyber attacks in history. Among thousands of other victims and hundreds of thousands of infected endpoints, some 40 hospitals in the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) were torpedoed by the ransomware, forcing critical medical procedures to be delayed and potentially endangering human lives.
The Cylance over-the-horizon prevention capability against known and unknown threats offered a predictive advantage to customers like Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) and Tufts Medical Center, because it proactively prevented all known samples of the ransomware. In fact, the entire network of Cylance customers had been continuously protected from WannaCry by sophisticated, native AI models created nearly two years prior in November 2015, long before the threat manifested as a successful attack. As a result, Cylance was able to deliver a safe systems environment for patients to receive high-quality care without interruption by ensuring that all medical devices were protected at all times. Daniel Shuler at PHC remarked, “We rest a little easier knowing this level of protection is on our endpoints.”
The union of BlackBerry and Cylance creates the foundation for the world’s largest AI security company. Their common mission, to protect people and their data wherever they reside, has never been more critical. As the world faces a crisis of trust in the midst of the digital revolution, BlackBerry – with the addition of Cylance – is uniquely positioned to cultivate trust by offering the next-generation technologies that not only help save lives but also work to improve them.
BlackBerry is dedicated to continuing to foster and protect the trust that our customers have rightfully come to expect. After all, trust is at the heart of the BlackBerry and Cylance synergy, and it is the touchstone that drives our mission forward.