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Does Blackberry Device Management Solve BYOD Issues?

Bring Your Own Device continues to be an unaddressed issue for many corporate IT departments.  While Blackberry’s recent announcement of functionality to manage non-Blackberry devices looks to some as being an elegant solution to the BYOD issue, other experts raise caution.  We like to know what you think.

What’s The Problem?

When smart phones and mobile devices were gaining popularity, a number of IT departments took a decision to standardize on a specific platform in order to reduce support costs and allow a consistent set of security policies to be introduced and enforced.  While there were exceptions, the vast majority of insurance companies choose RIM/Blackberry as the standard.

That worked for a time, but as other suppliers (Apple with its iPhone and the range of devices supporting the Android operating system) brought forward competitive offerings, some users began to request, and in some cases, demand, the ability to select their own mobile devices.  The assumption was that IT would find ways to extend security to these devices.  A non-trivial task, in many cases.

Blackberry to the Rescue?

Few dispute Blackberry’s strength in device management.  The Blackberry Enterprise Server was the gold standard for this, but only worked with Blackberry devices.  In its latest iteration (now named Blackberry Enterprise Services),  Blackberry now extends its ‘managed workspace’ approach to embrace Apple’s IOS and Android Operating Systems, separating personal work spaces from corporate workspace on the devices.

Al Sacco

Al Sacco, writing in CIO.com, says this approach allows corporate systems administrators to provide “secure access to corporate directories and lookup features; corporate calendar and appointments; tasks; corporate Intranets and other behind-the-firewall data; a secure browser; document-viewing and editing tools; and more.”

While other suppliers offer similar functionality, Sacco says Blackberry’s advantage is “a single, centralized console for managing and customizing work and personal silos for different devices.”

So No More BYOD Issues?

Not quite.  As we noted in this space last year, BYOD is not a technology issue, it is a business management issue that involves technology.

Rene Hendrikse, writing in ComputerWeekly.com, notes that providing a secure environment is only one side of the challenge.  The other side is providing effective and efficient tools to make workers productive. Beyond security, other factors will include training costs, mobile data charges, business applications, etc.

According to Hendrikse, “if implemented correctly, a proactive enterprise mobility strategy that encompasses a BYOD plan can improve compliance, flexibility, device security and contain network costs.”

What Do You Think?

Is security the only consideration when it comes to BYOD?  Does your organization have a BYOD policy?  If so, what are its components? If not, is it really needed?

Feel secure in giving us your thoughts below.

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