BlackBerry has just made one of its key selling points available for other devices. The Canadian smartphone company which was know for its enterprise solutions has finally made available a new security solution that separates work and personal apps and data on iOS and Android devices similar to what is already done on BlackBerry 10 devices like the Z10 and Q10.
The solution is called Secure Work Space for iOS and Android and is an option with BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 for companies that have their own BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy.
The app provides an alternative launcher that gives access to a completely sandboxed set of enterprise apps such as email, calendar, contacts and a secure browser.
BlackBerry had announced that they would be bringing their security solution to Android and iOS in January 2013, when they announced the new operating system BlackBerry 10.
So far BlackBerry has installed 18,000 BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 servers across the world since January and the service has been trialed successfully.
Using Secure Work Space, employees can use their own Android or iOS device for work and get integrated email (with attachment viewing), calendar and contacts for productivity, as well as secure browser access to intranets and document editing capabilities with BlackBerry’s Documents To Go. All corporate data will be separated and stuff from the corporate partition cannot be copied to the personal section. The fenced-off business area can be controlled by IT administrators of a company and can be extensively managed using the BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 admin console.
Forrester Research says that by 2016, 350 million employees will use smartphones and 200 million will bring their own devices to the workplace. BlackBerry hopes to target this audience as it now no more a major player in the smartphone segment.
Apart from bringing Secure Work Space to other platforms, BlackBerry is all set to introduce BBM for iOS and Android. This key service was a selling point for BlackBerry in its early days and the company hopes it can recreate some of that magic again.
This could be a mixed bag for consumers. Customers could be impressed with the BlackBerry services and pick up BlackBerry hardware but on the other hand loyal BlackBerry users who have been sticking on to their handsets for the secure solutions may now see no reason to stick around. Since BlackBerry Enterprise Service is a paid service this could also be a move by the company to also gain some additional revenues to make it for shrinking revenues from hardware sales.
In BlackBerry’s own words:
BlackBerry provides security at the device, server and network level. Secure Work Space leverages the same trusted behind-the-firewall connection available for BlackBerry smartphones and extends BlackBerry security capabilities for data-at-rest and data-in-transit to iOS and Android devices. The Secure Work Space container is managed through BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, making it easy and convenient to manage all devices from its single console.
Samsung is also set to launch a service called Samsung Knox which will allow enterprise security features that enable business and personal content to coexist on the same handset.
BES and India
The BlackBerry Enterprise Solutions and India have had a controversial past. Last year, the government and BlackBerry (formerly research in motion), where in discussions and negotiations to track communications from BlackBerry devices. The government threatened to halt all BB services in the country which led to the BlackBerry finally setting up servers in India and also agreed to share share information with the government if requested.