BlackBerry Bright Spot: BES 10’s BYOD Security and Management Catches IT Interest
Even as BlackBerry says this week it is looking for “strategic alternatives,” one bright spot is IT’s growing interest in BlackBerry’s BYOD security and management offerings that work with Android, iOS and BlackBerry devices. Some 60% of Fortune 500s are using or evaluating BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. IDN speaks with BlackBerry vice president Bob Dawson.
"We are truly embracing BYOD . . . to empower CIO’s, CTO’s and IT admins to have full control and visibility"
Even as BlackBerry says this week it is looking for “strategic alternatives,” one bright spot is IT’s growing interest in BlackBerry’s BYOD security and management offerings that work with Android, iOS and BlackBerry devices. Some 60% of Fortune 500s are using or evaluating BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. (BES 10).
“BlackBerry is not just a company that sells smartphones, but offers a combination of hardware, software and services for an end-to-end enterprise solution. We are truly embracing BYOD . . . to empower CIO’s, CTO’s and IT admins to have full control and visibility into their growing enterprise mobility investments,” BlackBerry vice president for enterprise software programs Bob Dawson told IDN.
BES 10 sports quite a few new BYOD features, but the key attraction is its end-to-end EMM (enterprise mobility management) and secure workspace support for workers using any popular mobile device – BlackBerry or not.
“EMM is an indispensable element of IT strategy and it only makes sense that we expand [BES 10] to support the full EMM needs of our customers,” Dawson told IDN. “With trends like BYOD, our customers are opening their doors to support a varied mix of corporate owned and personally owned devices. BlackBerry is reinventing EMM and embracing today’s mobile realities.”
Related to EMM is also BlackBerry’s escalating focus on mobile security. “Our security platform satisfies a full range of security needs, from basic level up to the high security and control needed by government organizations and businesses in regulated industries,” Dawson added.
IDN asked Dawson to spell out some of the core capabilities of BES 10. “BES 10 lets customers fully manage a complex fleet of devices and users, all through a single platform and management console,” Dawson said. Customer adoption patterns reveal that with BES 10, customers can tackle quite a number of vexing BYOD issues including easily deploying, managing, securing and controling BYOD smartphones and tablets, he added. Companies can also ensure end-to-end security.
Under the covers, a new BES 10 add-on called BlackBerry Secure Work Space extends security built for BlackBerry 10 smartphones to work with iOS and Android devices, according to Dawson, who also drives R&D at BlackBerry. The BlackBerry Secure Work Space quickly became a key part of BES 10. “Secure Work Space essentially extends BlackBerry security to corporate data at rest as well as data in transit using our global and secure BlackBerry infrastructure,” Dawson added.
One analyst also noted that BlackBerry’s device-agnostic support for EMM is proving appealing to CIOs. “The adoption of BES 10 has been largely driven by BlackBerry’s strategy of multi-platform enterprise mobility management. The company’s ability to bring secure workspace capabilities to iOS and Android alongside BlackBerry, gives IT managers the tools needed to manage the complexity that [BYOD] has brought to many environments,” said Kevin Burden, director of mobility at Strategy Analytics, in a statement.
BES 10 also provides other valuable multi-platform mobile device management features. IT admins can push updates, remotely wipe devices and lock stolen devices using the intuitive management console.
BES 10’s EMM features also address another growing management problem for BYOD projects – separating “at-work” and “personal” content on phones and tablets.
BES 10’s technology called “BlackBerry Balance” can partition personal and corporate data and secure them separately, Dawson added. “A simple swipe gesture reveals the ‘work’ and personal’ buttons at the top of the display, letting you instantly switch between your workspace and personal space,” he said.
In the BlackBerry Hub, BlackBerry Balance lets a user maintain one message store for all accounts, but is also designed to prevent users from accidentally sending content from work to contacts in their personal profiles. The work space is fully encrypted and secured, giving organizations the assurance that important content and applications are protected, even if a password isn’t set on the phone.
One other BES 10 feature customers like, according to Dawson, is the fact IT does not need to deploy expensive VPN solutions. IT can implement and monitor all EMM and security features from a single BES 10 console, he said.
To wrap up our conversation, Dawson put BES 10 into BlackBerry’s larger vision for enterprise mobility. He noted that BES 10 is one product that looks to provide IT a comprehensive and integrated EMM, security and mobile-ready infrastructure strategy. “These [four] pillars shape our roadmap and are key differentiators,” he told IDN. They are:
Mobile Device Management – BlackBerry enables enterprises to manage complex fleets of devices, including Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. BlackBerry can manage all these corporate and BYOD devices from a single platform and management console.
Security – BlackBerry products and solutions are protected by built-in AES 256-bit standards-based data encryption.
Unified Communications – BlackBerry offers high-performance synchronization of multiple sources (email, IM, social feeds, calendar and PIM and supports real-time communications and secure access to corporate data stored on servers/intranets and network file shares.
Applications and App Store Access – BlackBerry also offers mobile apps that can be used side by side with business users’ personal apps. BlackBerry applications can take advantage of seamless integration into the core OS and can easily connect to other applications, giving customers the ability to flow from application to application quickly and intuitively.
Dawson also noted BlackBerry’s approach to an enterprise-grade app store to keep apps secure, up-to-date and available to only those who should have them. “[W]e’ve enabled a simple user-interface in the BlackBerry World storefront that enterprise developers can use to host not only public apps, but also unique enterprise apps that they have built for their business – all housed behind their corporate firewall.”
In context, Dawson underscored that BES 10 is a key piece of BlackBerry’s holistic approach to a providing a BYOD-friendly mobile lifecycle environment – to develop, deploy, manage and secure apps, data and devices.
“At BlackBerry, we understand the importance of security. We are also committed to supporting the development of enterprise-grade mobile apps. Applications on BlackBerry embrace the connected, social and ‘get-it-done’ nature of the entire BlackBerry experience,” Dawson said.