BlackBerry: Keeping IT in Mind From the Beginning

By Rob Enderle, CIO
Fri, February 22, 2013

BlackBerry started with businesses as its primary customers. Then known as Research in Motion, the company initially brought the two-way pager into the mainstream—and, unlike today’s typical smartphones and tablets, these actually entered the market as executive tools, not consumer products. From the very start, the company had to learn what IT needed and how to protect top executives. These were lessons hard learned.

 

BlackBerry Security

Look at BlackBerry security efforts, then, and you see that they start and end with targeted IT needs. BlackBerry ties its systems into IT policy, assuring that IT can easily get the devices to conform. This is critical; IT doesn’t have the time to manage everything that’s currently on the table, and BlackBerry is designed to assure compliance without significantly increasing IT overhead.

One of the most talked-about problems since the introduction of the smartphone is separating personal and corporate information. This is because IT doesn’t want to deal with personal apps and files, and users don’t want IT seeing their personal stuff.

BlackBerry separates the environments on its devices, giving the user his own space and letting IT manage and secure the business information under its control. This is unique in the market—and it was driven by IT demands for this feature.

When developing its unique tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook, the company tied it to its overall security framework and sandboxed the apps so they can’t do hostile things. Looking at the overall nature of email and application attacks, BlackBerry created permissions and monitoring components that directly address the damage these attacks can cause, even though BlackBerry platform is generally less likely to be attacked than one of the consumer platforms.