Research In Motion® (RIM®) recently announced approval for the use of BlackBerry® 7 OS smartphones across the Department Of Defense (DoD) in the United States. Working with U.S. Army and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) sponsors and partners, BlackBerry 7 OS smartphones went through various testing in Army labs, gaining them subsequent listing on DISA’s Unified Communications Approved Product List (UCAPL). The approval allows all DoD customers to use BlackBerry 7 smartphones on DoD networks including everything from the flagship BlackBerry® Bold™ 9900 smartphone to the more consumer friendly BlackBerry® Curve™ 9360 smartphone, as well as more touch-centric BlackBerry Torch smartphones (9810, 9850/9860).
Scott Totzke commented on the significance of the DoD accessing BlackBerry 7 OS technology: “The Army introduced a wide range of new apps and capabilities for their BlackBerry users last year, and these new BlackBerry 7 smartphones will now enable Army users, and all DoD users, to experience an even greater level of performance on new smartphones that include features such as voice activated universal search, Near Field Communications, Augmented Reality, and Social Feeds 2.0 just to name a few”.
But, even with all these great features, let me be clear – buying a device is not the same as crafting an enterprise grade mobility strategy. There’s back-end integration, security policy selection, budgetary considerations, and of course application deployment decisions. However, this pre-approval means that IT leaders can move from the tactical role of “device pickers” to a more strategic role of “mobile enablers” – providing greater value to the organization, and a more rewarding career for the IT staff.
Over the past year, the Inside BlackBerry for Business Blog has featured conversations with Mike K. Brown (Director Product Security, SVP BlackBerry Security Group) around the various certifications and approvals RIM has achieved, such as FIPS 140-2 validation and Common Criteria EAL4+. There are many reasons why these certifications are important, but one of the recurring themes is around “making it easy for IT”. Certifications and official approvals allow IT decision makers to deploy BlackBerry devices in their organizations with ease by removing a certain amount of organizational or political risk. You can proceed with confidence knowing that not only are you making the right decision, but there’s an external, neutral, trusted body that has your back.
In the end, this approval will help ensure that the DoD is able to fully leverage the power of BlackBerry smartphones and realize the full potential of their investment in the BlackBerry platform.
(As of February 2015, BlackBerry holds 70+ security certifications and approvals from governments.)
How do you handle device selection? Do you have a pre-approved list? Are device upgrades based on time periods or technology shifts? Is your organization on BlackBerry 7, or are you missing out on key features?