Can BlackBerry Make a Difference in EMM with WatchDox ?

Why Blackberry Acquired WatchDoxBeleaguered Mobile SmartPhone company Blackberry acquired Enterprise Mobility Management file sharing company WatchDox of Israel to bring Dropbox or type features in-house.

WatchDox’s main differentiating features are policy controls that allow administrators full rights access to files and the ability to alter rights of files previously shared via the WatchDox platform (product named LockDox) over smartphones, tablets, computers and the ability to see who and how the files are then shared with or forwarded on to. The features are analogous to Microsoft Outlook’s ability to “recall” an email.

Although limited in the scope of file types that can be shared, other competing solutions such as Safeguard PDF Security for example (LockLizard) offer a 1 year subscription license for an unlimited amount of users and docs at a fraction of the price or $2,495. It is also unclear whether WatchDox documents can be shared outside an organization, with clients of a law firm for example, while LockLizard is an external / internal solutions though for PDFs only. We therefore believe the WatchDox price makes it suitable just to governments, financial services, and other highly sensitive or highly regulated industries with stringent security requirements that justify such a high price.

More popular commercial solutions such as Box also offer access control settings for admins to restrict read-only files, limit sharing, set various permission / rights capabilities for specific users or business units and even expiration times for sharing on particular files. MobileIron and other EMM players also offer mobile versions of secure documents, with granular controls down to geolocation, for example in the event a CEO wants to secure internal-only docs to when he or she is in the office.

While the deal adds capabilities to Blackberry’s platform, it is not immediately clear why those features / services need to be owned rather than partnered with. Maybe Blackberry needs to take some lessons from Airtel’s Mittal on managing successful partnerships.

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