Considering BlackBerry out of the game is like saying you won’t drink water out of your tap now knowing that Coke exists. If you are interested in securely managing data on your smartphones and tablets you should at least look at Blackberry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10) and BlackBerry 10 (BB 10). While the competition is definitely popular, there is no question that the original is still best for business.
No question Android and Apple devices have come out with new sexy hardware, operating systems, apps and ecosystems of services. BlackBerry has had basically the same hardware, OS, and apps (actually even less apps than before) for several years now. One thing that has remained constant is that businesses love the management infrastructure and reliable security of BlackBerry.
We’ve taken approximately 1,000 client calls in the past year asking how to manage Android and Apple devices in the same way you manage BlackBerrys. While there are definitely some slick solutions and products out there, none of them really measure up quite the same way.
What’s worse is that while all of these businesses are looking at MDM, they have been doing a lot more looking than buying. And every time RIM makes an announcement about the new BES 10 or (BB 10) devices, the calls slow down in anticipation of launch. Most of said launches either fell short or never happened at all.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting out to the RIM campus in Waterloo, Ontario over the last few weeks for a couple of deep dives into both BB 10 and BES 10. Here are the 5 reasons I think they’re both game changers.
1.No public APIs for BB 10.
Without an application programming interface into the BB 10 Operating System, other MDM solutions like Airwatch and Mobileiron will not be able to manage BB 10 devices. Because so many organizations have sacrificed much of their systems management and security in BYOD scenarios and settled on ActiveSync alone, BB 10 will be manageable through ActiveSync and BES 10 exclusively.
Prior to December 2012, BES 10 did not have the ability to ensure that any device connecting to ActiveSync was enrolled on BES 10. Gatekeeper is a small piece of software that connects to ActiveSync to make sure that every device connecting to your network is enrolled in your BES 10 MDM.
3. Android and Apple support.
Since RIM acquired Ubitexx in 2011, they are now able to manage the other most popular mobile Operating Systems. The integration is now complete in BES 10, meaning through a single management station and single pane of glass you can manage all BB 10, Android, and Apple devices. Until this month the integration was piecemeal.
4. Current install base.
This is the big one. Most organizations already have a BES. This means they still have BES licenses. Upgrading to BES10 is a relatively simple procedure and the licenses are transferrable. This will give administrators and procurement teams a certain extra level of comfort. It’s much easier to upgrade a solution than to deploy a completely new one from a manufacturer you’ve never worked with before. The support CALs will be transferrable.
One of the things businesses struggle with is how to wipe corporate data and leave personal data. Because on most devices the user can easily save email attachments to the device or a cloud service, it is impossible to know where that work data has gone. At the root of the BlackBerry10 operating system, the kernel, is BlackBerry Balance. With a single swipe the user can switch between a personal version of the phone and a work one. Within the work area there is no mixing of the data and the administrators can prevent cloud apps from getting installed in the first place. When the work area is wiped you have a much higher level of assurance that the data will no longer be available to the user. The residual risk is still that the user may forward data to a personal email address however this can be prevented through policy or with a solution on the email server like Data Loss Prevention.
There has been a lot of investigation by businesses around how to manage all of the new smartphone operating systems available today. RIM had this market on lock many years ago. And now with a compelling new smartphone of their own and a management infrastructure people are used to, there is a great chance that they will regain the seat on their proverbial MDM throne.
If you would like to discuss BB 10, BES 10, MDM, or BYOD strategy please reach out by adding a comment below! I’ll respond as quickly as I can.