Shared Services Canada signed a multi-year deal with the Waterloo-based company to use its cybersecurity products, BlackBerry Spark and BlackBerry secuSUITE
The agency that manages the federal government’s IT systems has chosen BlackBerry Ltd. to provide secure communications software for public servants, the company announced on Monday.
Shared Services Canada (SSC) signed a multi-year deal with the Waterloo-based company to use two of its cybersecurity products, BlackBerry Spark and BlackBerry secuSUITE, according to a media release.
Spark is a productivity and communications tool that an organization can use to communicate with employees, encrypt data on work devices, as well as securely manage work devices. SecuSUITE allows for encrypted voice calls and text messages to be sent across an organization’s devices.
Both products can be used on employees’ personal devices, too, something the company has touted as a good fit for the work-from-home transition accelerated by the pandemic.
Florian Kerschbaum, director of the Waterloo Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute, said it was good to see the government select a homegrown supplier.
“It’s a very good sign that the Canadian government is sourcing cybersecurity solutions from Canada,” he said in an email. “American or other international products are not reliable.”
BlackBerry is targeting governments and companies that deal with secure data, chief executive John Chen told analysts during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call at the end of March.
On the call, Chen said the Spark services had seen “strains” in terms of renewals, but listed a number of recent wins.
“These include Q4 business with the IRS, the United States Department of Commerce, the Continental Development Bank, the Scottish government, as well as the Scottish police, the London Metro Police Service, the U.S. Marines Corp, as well as Bell Canada,” Chen said,
Chen also told analysts that 18 governments around the world currently use Secusmart technology, which fuels SECUsuite.
The SSC was created in 2011 to modernize the government’s information technology systems. It has so far implemented a program for the Canada Revenue Agency to process online tax filings. As well, it established a round-the-clock security system to monitor cyber-security incidents and transitioned 43 departments to a videoconferencing system to reduce travel costs.
The value and exact length of the contract were not disclosed.
BlackBerry did not respond to a request for comment and the SSC did not respond before press time.