What is the future of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server? Discussing the Mobile Device Management (MDM) Product Roadmap

Enterprise

I’m thrilled to take the opportunity today to discuss with you Mobile Device Management (MDM) in the enterprise, and to present a clear picture of the roadmap for what many have known and loved as the BlackBerry® Enterprise Server. Conversation has steadily heated up since BlackBerry® Mobile Fusion was announced, followed by the launch of BlackBerry® PlayBook™ OS 2.0 and the BlackBerry® Device Service for BlackBerry Mobile Fusion. Now the question has been asked: how do all of these pieces fit together, and where is it all going? You may also be wondering:

  • Is RIM getting rid of BlackBerry Enterprise Server?
  • What does the inclusion of Microsoft® ActiveSync® protocols mean for security?
  • Can iOS and Android devices (both tablets and smartphones) be managed with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion? Will the management be secure?
  • How will BlackBerry® 10 devices be managed?

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion: BlackBerry Enterprise Server and More

BlackBerry Enterprise Server has a rich history and is recognized as the most secure enterprise mobility device management solution available. Since its inception, the solution has grown in functionality, scalability, and a wide variety of other feature sets, and is now on version 5.0.3.

In the meantime, things in the market have gotten a bit messy and more than a bit challenging for IT administrators, IT specialists, and CIOs. Organizations are under pressure to support a wide variety of devices from multiple manufacturers, as well as multiple form factors, with tablets gaining steam as business tools. As a longstanding pillar of MDM in the enterprise, we’ve worked to provide a clean, simple, and secure solution to help you manage whatever gets thrown your way. This is BlackBerry Mobile Fusion. It’s a huge leap forward for device management, and it’s built on the valued security model introduced with BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The evolution of BlackBerry Enterprise Server is BlackBerry Mobile Fusion.

Microsoft ActiveSync: What’s the Deal?

With BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0, the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet adds support for Microsoft ActiveSync technology. ActiveSync is a common email/PIM synchronization and transport protocol, which is used by Microsoft® Exchange and other on-premise and cloud mail/messaging providers. Microsoft ActiveSync on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is designed to allow consumers to connect to popular mail platforms such as Gmail® or Windows Live™. Individuals and small businesses can also use its transport functions for integration with Microsoft® Exchange, IBM® Lotus® Notes Traveler, and other Microsoft ActiveSync enabled systems.

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion leverages Microsoft ActiveSync as an email and PIM sync protocol while providing enterprises with many of the same advantages that a BlackBerry Enterprise Server does for a BlackBerry smartphone. Namely, a straightforward yet highly secure connectivity model: proven BlackBerry end-to-end 256-bit encryption, and a behind-the-firewall path for applications, the browser, email, and PIM.

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and Corporate Data Security

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is designed to establish and maintain a BlackBerry Secure Connection from the business network to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, leveraging the unique RIM infrastructure that IT departments around the world know and trust. Additionally, BlackBerry® Balance™ technology on BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 and enabled BlackBerry® smartphones is designed to create a secure corporate perimeter so that all corporate applications and data remain secure on a device and separate from personal data.

With BlackBerry Balance and secure enterprise connectivity, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion provides leading platform-level security for BlackBerry PlayBook tablets and future BlackBerry 10 devices (smartphones and tablets), enabling administrators to manage, secure, and audit corporate data and applications, while preserving a seamless and personal user experience.

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is also designed to enable companies to push applications directly to end users, or make them available for users to optionally download. The apps will conveniently appear in a tab labeled “Work” in BlackBerry App World™. End users get the rich app experience they expect, while enterprise data is kept separate and secure.

Managing iOS and Android Devices

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion extends the BlackBerry mobile device management to iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. BlackBerry Mobile Fusion supports the latest MDM capabilities available in iOS and Android, and is designed to enable administrators to apply corporate policies and configurations to manage and secure these devices. Additionally, customers will be able to leverage the application management capabilities of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion to manage the distribution of mobile applications to employees on these platforms.

Customers can of course leverage their existing investments, relationships, and support agreements with RIM to consistently and securely manage the personal and company owned mobile devices used by employees.

BlackBerry 10: How Mobile Fusion Prepares You for the Future

The benefits that BlackBerry Mobile Fusion provides customers today for managing the deployment and use of BlackBerry PlayBook tablets will also apply when BlackBerry 10 devices arrive later this year. This means that customers can deploy BlackBerry Mobile Fusion now knowing that managing future BlackBerry 10 devices will be seamless.

Conclusion: One MDM Solution to Manage Them All

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is a unified, multi-platform, mobile device management solution. It will provide one place to manage BlackBerry PlayBook tablets and future BlackBerry 10 devices (tablets and smartphones), as well as iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

Building on a foundation of over 10 years of experience in mobile device management (MDM), BlackBerry Mobile Fusion makes RIM the best partner for MDM solutions. This means that enterprise customers only have to contact one trusted global vendor for support.

-Alan Panezic, VP Enterprise Product Management, Research In Motion

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