BlackBerry Live 2013: BES 10.1 - Security updates
BlackBerry Live kicked off in Orlando, Florida this week with a bang; a new QWERTY Q5 handset and significant updates to its messaging tool BBM stole the spotlight. However, BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) also had a few updates with the operating system's upgrade to BlackBerry 10.1 this week. I've spoken to Michael Brown, VP security product management and research to get his two most important updates.
BlackBerry's latest operating system BB10, was launched at the end of January this year. At the same time, the company dropped its Research In Motion name in order to refocus its brand and bring the company out of the misery of plummeting profits. Followed by sleek new handset launches, including BlackBerry's first touch-only device the Z10 which shipped one million in its first quarter, the company's future is looking considerably more hopeful than this time last year.
Along with the BB10 operating system, the company also updated its mobile device management solution to BES 10. During the keynote, BlackBerry announced that it had issued 12,000 BES 10 server connections since its launch, which is already more than any other MDM solution available according to Jeff Holleran, senior director of enterprise product management.
Brown's BES 10.1 important security updates:
Security update: Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) regulated mode
With BlackBerry 10 came BlackBerry Balance, a clever way for users to keep their personal and work life separate on the one device. With the added EMM regulated mode in the 10.1 upgrade enterprises which need an additional higher level of security have the option to lock down communications and disable hardware functionalities (such as the camera). With the EMM mode, the user no longer has a personal side of the device, this function is aimed at corporations such as banks, government and defence organisations who have to be aware of an employees data and where it is coming from.
The beauty of this feature is that can co-exist on the BES server, incase you only needed to implement the extra security to a portion of users. This functionality reminds me a lot of Mobile Now MDM solution by AppSense that I review a little while back, it too can lock down a device from a central portal.
Compatibility update: 10.11 Android and iOS secure workspace solution
When BES 10 was announced, a major feature was that BlackBerry would now be able to accommodate Android and iOS devices as part of its MDM solution. Companies which are not restricted to just one device could use BES to leverage controls within the BES platform.
However, in the 10.1 upgrade, the company has added more management capabilities to include Android and iOS, as well as more security features including secure storage email, pin entry, and connectivity using BlackBerry transport as a mobile VPN.
It seems as though BlackBerry has no plans to include Windows Phone in its roadmap at the moment. Holleran said that the company had listened to its customers who were pushing for Android and iOS, but if the landscape was to change and customer would want to include Windows as part of BES, BlackBerry would explore this as an option.. However, at the moment there is no demand.