After the launch of BlackBerry® Mobile Fusion, there’s been a great response from folks on our Twitter® feed, LinkedIn® group, and across the industry in general. We’re all very excited and, as you can imagine, the office is buzzing with activity as we try and provide more information and respond to customer questions on this exciting new generation of Mobile Device Management technology.
The biggest area of interest is around the specific details of the BlackBerry® Device Service component of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion. Simply put, the BlackBerry Device Service is to BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablets as the BlackBerry® Enterprise Server is to BlackBerry smartphones. The BlackBerry Enterprise Server manages your current BlackBerry smartphones, and the BlackBerry Device Service allows you to manage and secure your organization’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablets – and, moving forward, it will also manage BlackBerry® 10 smartphones. But that’s not all that BlackBerry Device Service offers – there’s even more going on underneath the covers.
In terms of core functionality, the BlackBerry Device Service is designed to enable you to manage and secure your company’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. Once you’ve associated a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with a specific user (a capability available with BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0) and enrolled them within the work environment, you can configure settings and policies for the device. Hopefully your organization is looking at the kinds of policies that are appropriate for your staff, but some common examples that BlackBerry Device Service can provide include:
- Encryption of work information
- Requiring manual synchronization while a user is roaming
- Remotely locking tablets
- Remote wipe of work-related (or all) information
- Password controls/enforcement
It’s worth noting that, in typical RIM® fashion, when we talk about “password controls”…we don’t just mean “users can create a password if they want”. We’re talking about a robust set of IT-managed options such as:
- Mandatory Password
- Password required only for work perimeter
- Minimum Password Length
- Required Password Pattern
- Password Timeout
- Maximum Password Attempts
- Maximum Password History
- Maximum Password Age, etc.
It’s important to give options to IT departments, and BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is really about providing options, choices, and flexibility…without compromise. Besides, did you expect any less from the company that offers over 500 IT policies on its BlackBerry Enterprise Server? We don’t take this stuff lightly!
While the BlackBerry Device Service brings new and important management and security capabilities, there are a few more important things to be aware of.
BlackBerry® Balance™ technology: Keeping control in the right hands
BlackBerry Balance technology certainly isn’t new. Since its launch, this technology has been widely adopted by end users interested in protecting their personal data, as well as organizations interested in safeguarding their corporate assets. What is new, however, is the extension of BlackBerry Balance technology to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0.
BlackBerry Mobile Fusion includes BlackBerry Balance technology. When a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is activated with the service, a secure AES-256 bit encrypted file system is created on the tablet for work information and applications. This creates a perimeter between work and personal data and helps keep information secure. In the event an employee leaves the organization or a device is misplaced, for example, you can choose to wipe only work-related information or all of the information from the device. Not only does this help to ensure that sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, but it also provides a comfort factor to encourage employees to purchase and bring their own BlackBerry PlayBook tablets to their workplace. With an estimated 65% (Source: Yankee Group’s 2011 US Enterprise Mobility: Employee Survey, Wave 2) of tablets entering the workplace as personal purchases, this is an important consideration.
BlackBerry Balance technology and the Work App Catalogue
And speaking of games and applications, the second key feature to consider is the new “Work App Catalogue”. As a key part of the BlackBerry Device Service, this feature is designed to allow you to manage required and optional work applications remotely on an end users’ BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Remember though, with BlackBerry Balance technology in place, this does not mean you’ll waste your time sorting out whether people should download Angry Birds or Madden 12 – your colleagues can handle that themselves. What it does mean is that you can securely turn an individual’s personal products into corporate productivity tools by providing easy to discover, pre-ordained enterprise apps.
BlackBerry Device Service is designed to provide administrators with a simple method to securely deliver corporate applications to their employees. End users can simply ‘discover’ optional and required corporate applications that have been approved for use by the organization. This approach leverages the familiar and easy-to-use interface of the BlackBerry App World™ storefront to display both corporate and personal applications through a single discovery channel. End users can visually differentiate between personal applications and business applications which are displayed in a private list.
WHAT THE IT ADMIN SEES
WHAT USERS SEE
Optionally, IT administrators can push mandatory applications in a controlled manner to end users. Using BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, administrators can support over-the-air installation, upgrade and audit required and optional applications for BlackBerry devices. For the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion works with BlackBerry App World to enable administrators to push and install required work apps on a user’s tablet.
I know there’s a lot to digest…but that’s rather the point. BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is a big deal! This is not just a BlackBerry Enterpriser Server service pack – this is a fundamental evolution in the BlackBerry management tool set. If you haven’t already taken advantage of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and started to test it in your environment, I’d encourage you to get moving…time’s a wastin’! Right now you can download BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and enjoy a free 90-day trial (before standard CAL prices kick in). It’s a great way to test out the technology in a controlled environment before you deploy it companywide.
And don’t worry, we’re here to help you with your deployment and make sure you understand the capabilities of this new technology. If you haven’t already, take a look at this educational webcast, feel free to ask us questions below, and stay tuned to our LinkedIn group and SlideShare™ channel for more information and updates.