BlackBerry acquiring security software firm WatchDox

BlackBerry Ltd yesterday announced that it is buying privately-held US data security start-up WatchDox.

Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry did not reveal the financial terms of the deal, but The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that it is paying about $70 million.

The WatchDox deal comes after BlackBerry in September acquired Movirtu Ltd, a software developer that helps companies reduce their employee mobile-device costs, for $32.5 million and Secusmart GmbH, a maker of mobile encryption and anti-eavesdropping technologies in December for $82 million.

BlackBerry said that the WatchDox acquisition will further enhance its mobile security and give enterprises unmatched control over their files even after data leaves the corporate network.

WatchDox's technology will be offered as a value-added service that complements BlackBerry's Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) portfolio, and will be available with BES12, its multi-OS EMM solution BES 12, a cross-platform enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform that allows organisations to securely manage mobile devices running BlackBerry software and also other leading operating systems like Google's Android and Apple's iOS..

WatchDox is a data security company offering secure enterprise file-sync-and-share solutions that allow users to protect, share and work with their files on any device. WatchDox security travels with shared files on both mobile and desktop devices to give organisations full visibility and control over how files are edited, copied, printed or forwarded.

The company's software secures files for clients ranging from private equity firms, government, healthcare, manufacturing, law and media to Hollywood studios. BlackBerry hopes to boost its security offerings from the acquisition.

With WatchDox's software, clients get to exercise control over how their files are edited, copied, printed or forwarded. Network administrators would be able to revoke access to files, or delete them remotely even after they left a company's corporate network.

''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,'' he added.

Jim Mackey, BlackBerry's head of corporate development, said in an interview, Israel was widely known as a very innovative security market, and BlackBerry believed the team there was excellent, Reuters reported. He said the company believed it could use the location as a way to attract more talent and expand its offerings.