There is still so much coverage these days about BlackBerry on a comeback trail, ready to take on the Apple iPhone and Android devices. There’s little doubt in my mind that BlackBerry will find success with innovative devices like the BlackBerry Passport.
Yet fans and business users who moved on from BlackBerry should not look at BlackBerry’s path to recovery from a device-centric perspective. Now that the release of BlackBerry Enterprise Server 12 (“BES”) is due for this fall, it is time that corporations embrace BES for secure device management.
The firm is growing its reach in mobile security through a multi-platform course, even positioning itself as the leader in the Internet of Things (“IoT”), where security is central to the technology solution. Security was always at the core for BlackBerry devices, but the company is now broadening it by enabling management of all devices. Administering devices to enable productivity from a secure foundation remains BlackBerry’s area of focus. Why was there a lag from corporations implementing BES 10? Corporations previously needed separate servers managing BlackBerry 10 devices from older ones, delaying implementation. Now that corporations finished the proof of concept phase for BES implementation, they are accepting BlackBerry’s current administration capabilities as essential tools for protecting corporate data and advancing end user productivity.
Security at the Forefront
News that Germany wants more officials using encrypted BlackBerry devices should hint to business and government users that security is becoming a top priority. No BlackBerry administrator wants to take full responsibility when the users they support carelessly expose device data to theft and leakage. Bring Your Own Device (“BYOD”) changed the way corporations managed mobile devices. Connecting them directly to Microsoft’s Exchange Server worked, but gave the IT little control over device security management. With the help of BlackBerry’s #BBFactCheck initiative, corporations are choosing BES 10 to manage BYOD. BlackBerry has a huge lead over its competitors in enterprise mobile management (“EMM”) security. It is the only firm to offer security at each architectural layer, end-to-end. This means every interaction among devices and corporate data has the highest level of security.
Truth be told, the first release of BES 10 had its bugs and was not an easy migration. BES 10.1 fixed numerous bugs, and BlackBerry addressed the iOS and Android device management through the release of 10.2.1. Having started at BES 10 and gone through the upgrade with BlackBerry’s support, the installation at my organization succeeded.
Administrators have an easy time enforcing security rules on devices. I can lock down anything as required, set auditing rules and keep logs if the business is regulated to do so.
Even though end-users don’t care much for security, they will hardly even notice that policies are being enforced. BlackBerry Balance gives end-users the freedom of maintaining a personal profile, while the workspace is kept separate.
Admins should explain to end users how security is implemented in BlackBerry Balance on BlackBerry 10 devices. Work email is accessible through the Work Space and on the personal side of the device. Administrators need to either enforce a password at the Work Space level or at the device level. Copying and pasting is a strong feature of BlackBerry devices, but with BlackBerry Balance it is locked down so that users cannot copy and paste work content to the personal space. That’s a good thing when it comes to security.
SWS, or Secure Work Space, is where BlackBerry’s BES 10 demonstrates ease in managing Apple and Android devices. Admins may now protect corporate data and remotely manage the corporate Work Spaces of all their subscribers’ end points. SWS is an optional add-on to UDS (Universal Device Service). SWS gives non-BlackBerry devices the equivalent BlackBerry Balance functionality.
Be Kind to Your BES Admin
The size of IT support staff is shrinking. No longer are staff assigned strictly to BES administration. If the responsibility for administering mobile devices in the enterprise is shared among the IT team, BlackBerry is on the right path to making this easier. When BES 12 is launched in the fall, expect even more ease for managing smartphone devices of any type. By that time, maybe end users could activate their devices without any help from the IT department. That would free our time for managing cloud computers and data centers.
End-of-support-devices: Time to Upgrade is Now
Sadly, it’s too often the case that something needs to ‘go boom’ with networking devices for organizations to realize there’s even a problem. But there are simple steps IT leaders before disaster strikes.