Amazon Ruling Everywhere: Buys A Government-Approved Encrypted Messaging Software - MENA startups, innovation, and tech news

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Amazon Ruling Everywhere: Buys A Government-Approved Encrypted Messaging Software
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Amazon Ruling Everywhere: Buys A Government-Approved Encrypted Messaging Software

• Wickr, a popular encrypted messaging platform, has been purchased by Amazon Web Services, the firm said on 25th June 2021.
• It comes as Amazon’s cloud computing division seeks to expand its government client base.
• Wickr services, such as end-to-end encrypted conversations that fulfill regulatory standards will continue to be available on AWS.

Amazon’s cloud computing behemoth Amazon Web Services (AWS) has entered the encrypted texting market. Wickr, a messaging app aimed at delivering services to government and military groups and companies, has just been purchased by the firm. It claims to be the only “collaboration service” that fulfills the NSA’s security requirements. In a blog post announcing the announcement, Stephen Schmidt, AWS’s VP and CISO, stated that AWS will continue to operate Wickr as is and offer its services to AWS customers “effective immediately.” The brief announcement did not provide any financial details.

According to PitchBook statistics, Wickr has collected just under $60 million in investment (it also cites a valuation of around $30 million, although that appears to be an outdated estimate). Meanwhile, Amazon’s AWS cloud and enterprise branch have been a huge success for the e-commerce and services behemoth. Last quarter, AWS generated $13.5 billion in sales up to 32% year over year, with $8.1 billion in net profits. Amazon’s purchase of a messaging product aimed at delivering secure services to government organisations comes as the firm continues to be engaged in a battle over the JEDI contract, a $10 billion agreement awarded to Microsoft to offer services to the US during the Trump administration.

It’s unclear whether this is part of Amazon’s aim to expand its infrastructure and services to complement its offerings or just an indication that the company would continue to seek that market. The move also implies that Amazon may be contemplating a larger push into the messaging market, which some may regard as a long-awaited move. Chime, a communications service offered by the AWS division, allows businesses to meet, chat, and make business calls. However, it’s a lesser-known product that hasn’t had the same effect as competing services like Slack or Microsoft Teams, and it doesn’t focus on end-to-end encryption like Wickr.

As early as 2017, Amazon was said to be working on a texting service however, it looked to be aimed primarily at customers. Several social media patents are also owned by the firm. Fast forward to 2021, and there is a slew of new communications issues that weren’t important in 2017, such as encryption and other privacy-preserving features. In addition, communications have become more complex in general.

Amazon may be interested in participating in four areas in particular:

(1) to continue using Wickr as a commercial service.
(2) to develop “messaging-as-a-service” for other firms to utilize in their apps, similar to other AWS services.
(3) Create a consumer messaging app based on Wickr’s architecture.
(4) More Echo-connected services, with more features centered around a larger social commerce/interactive game. Or maybe all of the above.

“The need for this sort of secure communications is accelerating,” said Stephen Schmidt, AWS CISO, in response to the purchase. Because of the shift to hybrid work settings, prompted in part by the Covid-19 epidemic, businesses and government organizations are increasingly concerned about the security of their communications across many remote locations.

Wickr’s secure communications solutions aid companies and government organisations in adapting to this shift in their workforces, and it’s a welcome addition to AWS’s increasing suite of collaboration and productivity services.” Wickr stated on its website, “We have expanded to\ service businesses across a wide range of sectors, all around the world, since our foundation 10 years ago.” We are excited to collaborate with AWS to take our solutions to the next level for our clients and partners.”

Wickr

Wickr, located in San Francisco and launched in 2011, bills itself as the “most secure” video conferencing and collaboration platform. Wickr employs end-to-end encryption, which means that only persons on both ends of a discussion can decode and read messages. This differs from other collaboration platforms, which encrypt messages as they travel from a user’s device to a company’s servers but keep them in an unencrypted state. Wickr also has a feature called ephemeral messaging, which allows users to set self-destruct durations for as little as a few seconds.

As a result of the widespread adoption of internet communications, the firm has recently made a significant push into the enterprise. Wickr announced ‘Global Federation’ in February of this year, a feature that allows corporate and government institutions to securely interact with mission-critical partners outside of their network utilizing end-to-end encryption. No wonder, Amazon is flourishing itself.

Thank You!

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