If you can't beat 'em, manage 'em?
Canadian handset maker Research in Motion (RIM), which is struggling to reclaim its status as the standard bearer of enterprise mobility, has released the newest version of its mobile management software suite, BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10). And rather than remain focused on its BlackBerry ecosystem, including its own upcoming BlackBerry 10 handsets, the company is instead taking a platform agnostic approach.
One of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10's most notable new features is a mobile management console that extends mobile device management (MDM) capabilities to rival platforms, namely iOS and Android. According to Jeff Holleran, senior director of enterprise product management for RIM, BES 10 is his firm's response to the realities of the enterprise mobile market.
During a video demonstration of BES 10's mobile device management capabilities, Holleran tackled the topic of multi-platform support. He noted that businesses are being swept up by the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, prompting RIM to extend its embrace to devices from rivals like Apple and Samsung.
"BES 10 was all about solving the evolving needs of the mobile enterprise. As we looked at the trends in the industry today, we've got end-users bringing their own devices into the organization," said Holleran.
"So as an end-user brings a different device in, that organization wants to be able to support that device no matter what the manufacturer is, and that's why RIM went and invested in an enterprise mobility management platform with support for those multiple platforms," added Holleran.
As a result, BES 10 features a fairly robust set of controls for non-BlackBerry devices, not counting Windows Phone.
In the case of iOS devices like iPhone and iPad, BES 10 allows administrators to disable cloud services, require strong passwords and impose encryption on data backups. Organizations can even opt to silence Siri, a measure that IBM took last year over data privacy and security concerns. All told, administrator can exert some level of control over most iOS functions, including camera and video functions, security certificates, cloud services, network connectivity, app purchasing and social media.
Support for Google's Android mobile operating system is limited in comparison. BES 10 enables administrators to enforce password policies, hide the default camera app and encrypt internal storage. It also supports TouchDown, software that provides Exchange sync services on Android.
On the messaging front, the software supports ActiveSync Gatekeeping to enable access to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 on both iOS and Android.
BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 is available now. RIM is currently offering a 60-day free trial.