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BlackBerry is buying an AI security firm for $1.4 billion ― here's how it could ...

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Canadian technology company BlackBerry is acquiring cybersecurity company Cylance for $1.4 billion,Business Insider reports. The startup, which was founded in 2012 and raised nearly $300 million in venture funding, specializes in AI-powered security tools. The all-cash acquisition is set to close in February 2019, and Cylance will operate as a separate unit.

Business Insider Intelligence

BlackBerry has been turning more and more to enterprise services, especially in IoT communication and security as well as the connected car, in an attempt to transform from its mobile roots. The company wasn't able to keep pace with Apple and Google in the smartphone space, but it was able to establish itself as a company known for fast and secure communication in the minds of workers at large enterprises.

It's overhauled its business in the last few years and moved almost entirely away from mobile phones ― recently released devices with the BlackBerry moniker are actually designed and sold by Chinese manufacturer TCL as part of a licensing deal. Instead, it's been focusing its development efforts on building up its QNX business unit, which is one of the leading operating systems for in-car infotainment centers, as well as tools like itsSpark IoT communications platform.

The acquisition of Cylance is meant to add new capabilities to the Spark platform. Cylance offers AI-powered tools that are meant to actively prevent malware or other attempts to compromise an enterprise network, rather than passively scanning to find areas that have already been compromised.

It does this by monitoring behaviors and understanding what is out of the ordinary for users of a platform, so it can highlight and stop any unusual activity from getting into a network. BlackBerry plans to integrate elements of Cylance's technology stack into its Spark platform, which it intends to function alongside another platform that handles things like analytics, while Spark tackles communication.

This could help the company capitalize on demand for security in the IoT platform market. Seventy-nine percent of respondents to Business Insider Intelligence's 2017 Global IoT Executive Surveycalled an extremely important factor in an IoT platform.

This acquisition will likely help the company to expand its presence in the market as an adjacent tool alongside platforms like AWS IoT and Microsoft Azure IoT by providing secure communication to augment those platforms' capabilities.


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