May 19, 2020

Blackberry's Acquisition of Secusmart a 'Smart Move' Say Analysts

Acquisition
blackberry
Secusmart
Data Security
Tony DelCastello
3 min
How to protect data in a highly connected age

Blackberry has signed an agreement today to purchase Secusmart, a leader in secure communications for governments, defense ministries and corporations alike. On Secusmart’s website it says, “The past few years have shown that the future will be all about security.”

Blackberry CEO, John Chen said buying Secusmart addresses growing concerns about threats to individual privacy and national security.

“We are always improving our security solutions to keep up with the growing complexity of enterprise mobility, with devices being used for more critical tasks and to store more critical information, and security attacks becoming more sophisticated,” Chen said Tuesday in a news release.

Financial details of the acquisition have not yet been disclosed and Blackberry said that some terms – including regulatory approval – need to be finalized.

The move positions Blackberry against competitors like Apple and Samsung, which have been making inroads into mobile security for some time, an area that Blackberry once almost exclusively dominated.

Reputation management expert Ken Wisnefski told Business Review Canada, “People are becoming more aware that as they move more of their life online, they become more and more vulnerable.  Blackberry's purchase of Secusmart’s high-security voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping tech goes a long way to addressing those concerns.  It also shows that Blackberry is a company that thinks security is as important as its users do.”

Secusmart provides high-level voice and data encryption for governments, businesses and telecommunications service providers. The company developed special technology for Blackberry 10 phones that were distributed to several German government agencies, ministries and leaders such as Angela Merkel.

Corporate security has become a hot topic in recent months as more and more data is collected online. With more government agencies and businesses relying on smartphones to transfer confidential information, the likelihood of third parties obtaining private information has increased. “Corporations, governments and practically everyone else cares about privacy and security when it comes to their sensitive information, but today’s online mobile world can make it seem almost unrealistic to secure all of that information,” said Wisnefski.

Secusmart managing director Hans-Christoph Quelle said, “We see significant opportunities to introduce Secusmart's solutions to more of Blackberry's government and enterprise customers around the world.”

While it wasn't immediately clear how BlackBerry benefits from having Secusmart under its umbrella, the security developer could help build an all-encompassing infrastructure that would be the foundation of Blackberry's future.

“In the past couple years, while it has been apparent that Blackberry was losing serious ground in mobile device market, it has also become apparent that eavesdropping and security is more rampant than anyone had previously thought.  If Blackberry can create capable devices that people want, this serious effort to reassure folks that someone is looking out for their mobile security could generate huge value and win them back a sizable share of the market,” says Wisnefski.

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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