BlackBerry Set to Unfurl Zero-Trust Network Access Service

BlackBerry Ltd. next month will make available a zero-trust network access-as-a-service offering based on a gateway it hosts on its cloud platform.

Alex Willis, vice president of global sales engineering and independent software vendors (ISVs), said the CylanceGATEWAY service is designed to provide continuous authentication so that application access is limited to specific sets of known users and devices. The service is based on a gateway BlackBerry gained via the acquisition of Cylance in 2019 CylanceGATEWAY is infused with machine learning algorithms that continuously authenticate users and devices based on behavior.

Now that gateway is integrated with the same agent software that BlackBerry relies on to provide a wide range of security capabilities, said Willis.

Blackberry claimed the AI models have been trained on more than one trillion diverse threat data sets over the last several years. Core capabilities include zero-day phishing detection capabilities, the ability to detect lateral movement attempts using the MITRE ATT&CK framework rules and integration with the Microsoft Office 365 cloud service.

Arguably, the biggest cybersecurity challenge organizations face today is the overall size of the defensible attack surface. A much larger percentage of the workforce today is either still working from home full-time or has adopted a hybrid approach that results in them working from home one day and then being in the office the next. BlackBerry is making a case for a cloud service that unifies the management of security regardless of where an end user happens to be physically located.

That approach also eliminates the need to backhaul network traffic from cloud services such as Microsoft Office through a local data center before sending it on to a remote user, added Willis.

It’s not clear what percentage of end users will continue to work remotely, but even if it’s only a quarter, the pressure to shift the management of security to the cloud increases sharply. It’s often too difficult to manage virtual private networks (VPNs) at scale. Essentially, a cloud service offloads much of the management of security to a more scalable cloud service that IT and security teams can access from anywhere.

There is, of course, no shortage of cloud-based platforms for managing security. BlackBerry is betting that the AI capabilities of its platform will provide a level of differentiation at a time when interest in zero-trust approaches to IT is gaining traction. In effect, BlackBerry has created a data lake for security events that it is employing to continuously train its AI models, noted Willis.

It’s not likely any organization, on their own, is going to be able to build and maintain AI models optimized for cybersecurity. The sheer volume of data required is beyond the capability of any one organization to effectively aggregate. As such, it’s not so much a question of if cybersecurity management will shift to the cloud as much as how quickly. Cyberattacks are increasing in volume and sophistication to the point where the only real option is to augment the finite amount of human cybersecurity expertise with algorithms that will, hopefully, level the playing field.

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Michael Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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