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BlackBerry expands security role

The name BlackBerry may still conjure up images of smartphones, but the company’s enterprise software footprint in Australia and New Zealand continues to expand with the company signing up Optus, Briggs Communications and Mobile Mentor to its AtHoc secure communication platform.

The agreement will see the three parties deliver, deploy and support the AtHoc platform in the region and it is not the only win for BlackBerry, with the company getting one of the latest customers in the region, Bank of New Zealand, to start using the secure crisis communications solution.

The platform can deliver accurate, targeted or en masse information in real time through an encrypted network, if necessary, inside and outside an organisation.

Bank of New Zealand Markets executive manager Katrina Maxwell said that, having dealt with two serious earthquakes in 2013 and 2016, the bank had to think about keeping channels of communications open to its staff and customers and ensuring services stayed up and running in case of future incidents.

“After the earthquakes took place, we wanted to make sure that if it happened again, we would be ready to alert our people around the country, account for where they are and have a system in place to help us maintain continuity of business,” Ms Maxwell said.

BlackBerry’s APAC vice-president, Paul Crighton, said that from natural disasters to cyberattacks, organisations were under increasing pressure to ensure they remained online at all times. It is a difficult task, with research firm Telsyte saying that only half of Australian organisations are prepared properly to quickly communicate to employees in times of crisis.

Telsyte’s latest research says only 10 per cent of organisations have increased their spending on crisis communication during the past two years, while 48 per cent had made no investment or disregarded the need for better communications tools.

“Crises can take many forms from terrorism threats to operational failure, however it’s increasingly critical that companies can inform large groups of people very quickly,” Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said.