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On Tuesday, BlackBerry kicked off its Security Summit 2020. The two-day event is being held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ahead of the event, BlackBerry announced new security products and services including Cyber Suite and BlackBerry Persona Desktop. Sessions and presentations are expected to focus on the new cybersecurity challenges associated with remote work and virtual collaboration, 5G cybersecurity, and more.

“The world’s leading companies are transforming their industries with BlackBerry. Over the next couple of days, attendees will hear from a whole host of industry experts on hot button issues,” said the chief marketing officer at BlackBerry, Mark Wilson, in a statement via email.

Those include remote working, unified endpoint security and management, critical event management, AI, zero trust/zero touch, and 5G.

The theme of the event is “Intelligent Security. Everywhere,” Wilson noted, adding: “We’re excited to have our speakers and attendees join from everywhere as part of our first ever all-virtual cybersecurity symposium. We are confident that attendees will walk away with new insights into how they can go about protecting their businesses, endpoints and people.”

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BlackBerry Security Summit 2020 keynote

The summit started with a keynote from BlackBerry CEO John Chen. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the transition to remote work, data security, and scalability were all central to Chen’s brief speech, before handing over the virtual stage to Rob Smith, research director from Gartner’s endpoint and operations security group.

Smith similarly started by discussing the new challenges presented by COVID-19 and the transition to remote work, however, Smith also emphasized the notion of the new normal of increased remote access.

“Prior to [the] pandemic, you might have had 5,000 employees, working from say five different offices, and that was pretty typical for a midsize enterprise. But now you have 5,000 offices, and, unfortunately, this isn’t going to change. We need to get the concept of remote working out of our mind and just start thinking about work. There is no more remote working, just simply working,” he said.

Smith explained that there are essentially three waves to an organization’s COVID-19 response strategy. The first wave involves enabling remote access quickly although security isn’t at the forefront of the strategy at this time. The second wave includes adding security to the framework. The last wave focuses on enhancing this system and making it better. Smith explained that most Gartner clients are between the second and third phases.

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Smith also laid out a set of recommendations for organizations to enhance their remote work operations. Again, Smith reiterated no longer focusing on the idea of remote work and instead embracing this new normal. Smith also recommended organizations transition to a cloud CMT/UEM to help with patching challenges.

“COVID is a mess. We all know it, so you don’t have time to do things the way you used to. You need to simply pick a solution, draw a line in the sand, and deploy. Don’t think about it. Deploy. You can always improve it as you go, but you made the decision for today. Don’t debate it. Don’t wonder about it. Get security in place [and] improve your usability, and make things work better,” Smith said.

BlackBerry Security Summit 2020: Sessions, themes, and presenters

Aside from the keynote speech, the first day of the conference is scheduled to focus on best practices and illustrate use cases on topics including business agility, crypto-jacking, business continuity, and more. On Wednesday, BlackBerry President Tom Eacobacci and BlackBerry CTO Charles Eagan will present the opening keynote for day two. How-to sessions and demonstrations will focus on Blackberry products surrounding secure communication, endpoint security, and more.