BlackBerry has acquired file security company WatchDox to add its cross-platform DRM software to its Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) portfolio, and also to establish an R&D presence in Israel. BlackBerry confirmed the acquisition on Tuesday, but did not confirm the $100 to $150 million price reported by Israeli publications Globes and GeekTime.
WatchDox will be available with multi-OS EMM solution BES12, the foundation of BlackBerry’s enterprise services portfolio.
“Enterprises require secure mobile solutions that enable users to more easily collaborate and increase their productivity. WatchDox meets this need by uniting data-centric security with a user-friendly experience that is highly valued by our customers,” said Moti Rafalin, WatchDox CEO and founder.
Its file-sync-and-share solutions allow privileges, encryption, expiration and history to be attached directly to the file, providing control and visibility over document changes and access. It also allows end users to revoke access or delete files remotely. Providing administrators with that degree of control enables flexibility in terms of where files are stored, without increasing security risks.
“BlackBerry is constantly expanding the potential of data security so that it enables more collaboration and sharing rather than creating limitations,” said John Chen, BlackBerry Executive Chairman and CEO. “This acquisition represents another key step forward as we transition BlackBerry into the premier platform for secure mobile communications software and applications, supporting all devices and operating systems. Together with last year’s Secusmart acquisition, Samsung partnership, our own internal development efforts, and now the acquisition of WatchDox, we now have capabilities to secure communications end-to-end from voice, text, messaging, data and now enterprise file-sync-and share.”
WatchDox is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, but has research and development facilities in Petah Tikva, Israel, where the team of 100 will remain to become the first part of a BlackBerry R&D facility, TechCrunch reports. Israel is an obvious location for a new cybersecurity R&D team, as favorable conditions have consistently produced successful startups and products. One such company is Trusteer, which was cofounded by WatchDox chairman Schlomo Kramer, and acquired by IBM in 2013. IBM also took the opportunity to establish a cybersecurity lab in Israel.
WatchDox has more than 150 of the Fortune 1000 as customers, the company says. BlackBerry is banking on being the software provider which bridges the security gaps between different platforms, and is coming off a return to profitability in Q1 2015.
Red Hat acquired mobile application platform FeedHenry in October, and more recently outlined its enterprise mobility strategy.