BlackBerry Buys British Security Consultancy, Underscoring Commitment To Mobile Security

BlackBerry has acquired British cybersecurity consultancy Encription -- another sign that the smartphone maker is serious about its newly sharpened focus on security services as opposed to its legacy hardware business.

This latest acquisition, revealed Wednesday, will help the provider in its plans to secure mobile communications across all platforms, according to Robby Hill, founder and CEO of Florence, S.C.-based HillSouth, an IT solution provider and longtime BlackBerry partner.

"Clearly, BlackBerry is showing they want to compete across all mobile platforms and be a mobile security company, so I applaud them in any acquisition that helps set them up for that," Hill said. "Continuing to gain knowledge and products that can go into a mobile security offering is really going to position BlackBerry against a lot of mobile security competitors."

[Related: BlackBerry Lays Off 200 In Software And Service Transition]

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BlackBerry, Waterloo, Ontario, has been vocal about the turnaround plan it has put in place to combat plunging hardware sales. The plan includes moving away from its waning smartphone business and focusing instead on security software and services, as well as Android smartphones for enterprise users.

Kidderminster, England-based Encription is an IT security consultancy and forensic service provider that offers penetration testing, and security assessments and training. Encription's small staff of 40 security professionals has helped test network vulnerabilities for both government and large corporate clients, and its employees will now join BlackBerry's staff. The acquisition will give BlackBerry years of cybersecurity consulting experience, BlackBerry said.

The Encription acquisition closed last Friday, but specific terms of the deal are not being disclosed yet, according to BlackBerry.

BlackBerry said it will use its latest acquisition to launch its Professional Cybersecurity Services practice, which was also announced Wednesday. The practice will expand the mobile company's security portfolio by offering businesses new consulting services, tools and best practices aimed at addressing cybersecurity risks, Blackberry said in a news release.

The enterprise mobile security market has been growing by leaps and bounds, and BlackBerry has made some good acquisitions in this area, according to HillSouth's Hill. However, the company hasn't done enough marketing to the partner community to get the word out on its growing security portfolio, he said.

"I'm thinking they may need to make sure they are communicating their slate of offerings is evolving and meets the needs of the community around mobile device management and security," Hill said. "Honestly, I think a lot of people forget BlackBerry offers mobile device solutions."

BlackBerry may continue to gobble up security-focused companies, but the company may also choose to focus on integrating some of its recent acquisitions and getting the word out on some of its new partnerships that haven't born products yet, Hill said.

In September 2015, BlackBerry acquired mobile device management and security software company Good Technology for $425 million. This purchase, coupled with the latest acquisition of Encription, will help drive interest in pursuing a BlackBerry partnership from the channel, Hill said.