BlackBerry adds security for iOS and Android to enterprise platform
- By John Breeden II
- May 02, 2014
BlackBerry is adding mobility management and security monitoring to its enterprise platform and extending those features beyond the company's devices for use with any smartphone or tablet.
With BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 software, iOS and Android devices can be secured, and now they will also have previously exclusive BlackBerry device features added to enhance security.
For many years BlackBerry devices have been among the most popular for creating a secure mobility management program. Administrators chose BlackBerry smartphones because of their separation of work and personal content spaces, as well as a secure back end to manage them over an enterprise.
Because of this, growth of BlackBerry devices was greatest in government and private industry, where security is and remains one of the most important factors to consider when setting up mobile services.
But times have changed. Whereas new BlackBerry devices have unique features such as BlackBerry Balance, which allows for the separation of work and personal information, the phones are not generally considered as versatile for personal use and don't have access to the huge number of apps available for other platforms.
What’s more, users looking for more consumer-friendly devices have begun to purchase many more iOS and Android-based phones and tablets. And with the arrival of bring- your-own-device programs, those less secure devices are finding their way into government service.
"We had enterprise [managers] telling us that they wanted their BYOD users to be able to play Angry Birds and conduct their own personal business, but only within a dedicated space on their phones," said Jeff Holleran, senior director of enterprise product strategy for BlackBerry. "It needed to be secure and not allow any snooping."
BlackBerry responded with BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 software, which extends BlackBerry’s secure back end to almost any device in a BYOD setting. It also extends the ability to separate work and personal data to iOS and Android devices.
Android and iOS users on a network running BES10 will also have the Secure Work Space application, which can be setup by administrators to operate automatically with designated applications.
The software delivers a high level of control and security managed through the BES10 administration console. Managed applications are secured and separated from personal apps and data, providing integrated email, calendar and contacts, an enterprise-level secure browser and secure document viewing and editing with the Documents To Go software from DataViz.
New applications can also be deployed securely across an enterprise using the BES10 console, regardless of whether a user owns a BlackBerry, Android or iOS device. "Users of non-BlackBerry devices can now use the secure mail server and browser and can access content safely behind the firewall," Holleran said.
The BES platform will continue to expand. BES12, due later this year, will extend the security and balancing features to Windows 8 phones. It will also add cloud support that will manage all on-premise, public cloud, private cloud and hybrid environments.
BES12 will also contain a set of tools to allow administrators to develop custom enterprise mobility applications and deploy them across an entire network regardless of what devices users have as part of a BYOD program.
John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.