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Amid rumblings that BlackBerry is on the block and looking for a buyer, the company today offered a peek at its upcoming cloud-based enterprise mobility management (EMM) product.
In the wake of posting huge losses for its most recent quarter, BlackBerry is previewing a new multi-platform EMM solution that brings the mobile device management (MDM) capabilities of BlackBerry Enterprise Service to the cloud. According to the company, the solution blends mobile device management, mobile application management, security enforcement and end-user self-service features, easing mobile deployment and management tasks for IT departments.
With this solution, the smartphone maker is venturing into an increasingly crowded field. The competition includes Citrix, HP and AirWatch, a fast-growing Atlanta-based startup that has attracted hundreds of millions in venture capital.
Acknowledging that today's mobile workforces are as likely to tap away at Apple iPads as they are their Android-based smartphones, Stephen Bates, head of BlackBerry's Enterprise Business Unit, said in a statement that his company "is evolving."
"As the industry has adopted BYOD and mixed mobile environments, we've responded with our multi-platform EMM solution," said Bates. Citing Gartner research, the company noted that half of employers will require their employees to bring their own work devices by 2017.
The security implications are profound, even in the short term. "Gartner also predicts that through 2014, employee-owned devices will be compromised by malware at more than double the rate of corporate-owned devices," stated the company.
BlackBerry's EMM cloud offering provides a Web-based dashboard that enables security policy configuration and compliance monitoring. It can also be used to activate and deploy BlackBerry, iOS and Android smartphones. On the app front, administrators can build an approved catalog of apps from the Apple App Store, Google Play and BlackBerry World marketplaces. In addition, the solution offers per-user and per-device views of app usage and distribution to track and monitor their mobile software environments.
BlackBerry also hopes to draw organizations with is its streamlined, low-maintenance approach to MDM. The company promises "simple and fast deployment" with "no server hardware or software to install." An end-user accessible console further frees up an administrator's time.
"End-users will be able to easily perform common management tasks such as setting up or changing device passwords and remote wipe and lock without relying on an administrator, giving them independence and saving on help desk calls," boasted the company.
The company plans to officially launch its cloud-based EMM, which is currently being put through its paces in a closed beta, by the end of November.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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