BlackBerry Opens D.C. Subsidiary to Focus on Government Work

It pays to be close to the action.

BlackBerry has announced the creation of BlackBerry Government Solutions, a wholly-owned and independent subsidiary headquartered in Washington, D.C. meant to accelerate the company’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). By moving closer to the capital of the U.S., BlackBerry is able to deepen ties with federal agencies and more easily source contract work and connect with stakeholders. The new subsidiary even has a separate corporate structure led by Robert E. Day that complies with national security requirements, along with its own board of directors and offices.

“A tidal wave of connected devices is in sight and I believe BlackBerry is uniquely positioned to help the U.S. government securely build and connect all ‘things’ from ATVs and drones to documents, emails, and the data that flows between,” said John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry. “This new subsidiary allows us to deepen our reach within the U.S. government sector by ensuring our next-generation cybersecurity solutions and Spark platform meet FedRAMP and ATO certifications, as well as provide our customers with a higher-level of service.”

The goal will be for BlackBerry to better communicate with the FedRAMP, the governing body in charge of secure access to cloud computing products and services. The Waterloo-based BlackBerry has experience in this area, having rolled out the FedRAMP-approved crisis management platform AtHoc, a platform that alerts large organizations to different emergencies and seamlessly provides instructions and management solutions. It is currently in use by more than 70 per cent of U.S. federal employees. BlackBerry will also use the new subsidiary to guide products through Agency/Component Authority to Operate (ATO) certifications.

At a launch event of BlackBerry Government Solutions, Chen stated that he has found his company not being included in federal work due to its international status. There are a lot of concerns in the U.S. right now regarding hosting data in foreign countries as companies like Huawei are banned from working and providing services, so BlackBerry had to fight those concerns by opening a new subsidiary.

BlackBerry has been on a surge over the last few years as they reinvent themselves, slowly moving away from mobile phones. Apart from government solutions, the company is also heavily invested in the connected car world, having recently pledged $350 million to the growing industry.