BlackBerry creates Washington subsidiary to serve U.S. government

Waterloo, Ont.-based BlackBerry Ltd. announced on Tuesday it’s creating a new subsidiary based in Washington, D.C. called BlackBerry Government Solutions.

The new entity is independent, but wholly owned by BlackBerry, and will serve the purpose of catering to U.S. federal agencies and focusing on the firm’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). It will have a separate corporate governance structure from the Canadian headquarters, a measure that BlackBerry says is necessary to comply with U.S. government security requirements.

According to a press release, the new division will be led by Rear Admiral Robert E. Day Jr., a retired member of the U.S. Coast Guard who joined BlackBerry in 2016. As president of the new firm, he’ll be responsible for navigating certifications required to operate in government and oversee FedRAMP cloud services.

“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,” says BlackBerry CEO John Chen in a press release. “This new subsidiary allows us to deepen our reach within the U.S. government sector by ensuring our next-generation cyber security solutions and Spark platform meet FedRAMP and ATO certifications, as well as provide our customers with a higher level of service.”

Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton joined BlackBerry executives in Washington for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new office.

Also on Tuesday, BlackBerry announced it won a contract with the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI). NCI assists NATO members in communicating securely and it will be using BlackBerry’s SecuSuite for Government to that end. The product can be installed on mobile devices, as well as on-premises data centres or in the cloud. It enables encrypted communications and provides high-grade security around VoIP.

BlackBerry isn’t the only company foreign to the U.S. to create a separate governance structure in the country. France-based cloud services provider OVH entered the U.S. market by creating a subsidiary as well, operating two data centres in the country.

OVH explains its motivations for doing so as two-fold. Like BlackBerry, it wants to maintain compliance with U.S. standards and have at least the opportunity to provide the government with services there. It also points to U.S. laws like the Patriot Act, saying that a clear and permanent separation for OVH operations in other countries is necessary to ensure customer’s data is safe from access from the U.S. government.

In an interview with IT World Canada at OVH Summit last fall, OVH CEO Michel Paulin explained that the U.S. will sometimes argue its laws supersede the local laws of other jurisdictions, as a way to make companies turn over data that is stored outside of its borders.


Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

Related Tech News

Featured Tech Jobs


CDN in your inbox

CDN delivers a critical analysis of the competitive landscape detailing both the challenges and opportunities facing solution providers. CDN's email newsletter details the most important news and commentary from the channel.