It may come as a surprise, given BlackBerry's recent fortunes, but there's a lot to like about BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.
Its predecessor, BlackBerry Enterprise Server, was primarily noted for its secure push email and personal information synchronization, and it was available only to users of BlackBerry handsets until quite recently. But the company has been through a lot in recent years, and with a new management team, it has refocused on multi-platform enterprise mobility management (EMM) via BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10.
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BES 10 provides mobile device, application and content management for BlackBerry OS, Android and iOS devices. With many organizations now implementing large-scale EMM strategies, BES 10 is often on the short list of potential products, whether a firm is big on BlackBerry handsets or not.
The reasons for this can be seen when examining the key features in BES 10, as follows:
Multi-platform and bring your own device support: As noted above, all of the popular mobile operating systems are supported, and there's no need to use BlackBerry handsets unless desired. BES 10 can manage both enterprise- and employee-owned devices, and a self-service portal is included.
Security: BlackBerry is synonymous with mobile security, and BES 10 includes a wide range of features in this area, including data leak prevention, unauthorized device mitigation, and end-to-end encryption. There's also mobile application management, which includes an app store for the enterprise. A big plus: No additional VPN is required, which simplifies deployment operations and support.
Mobile content management: This technology can minimize pushback from end users that are wary of organizational control of their personal devices. BlackBerry OS 10 introduced BlackBerry Balance to isolate user and enterprise data. This approach is carried over to iOS and Android via the Secure Work Space function, which provides a similar level of data isolation, encryption and control.
Unified console: The productivity of IT operations staff is just as important as that of users, so BES 10 has a single console for all managed devices. Monitoring and reporting via dashboards is also included.
Support: BlackBerry Care Support is included and provided online with each deployment, providing access to company experts, training materials, and productivity and diagnostic tools.
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One caution: As with many EMM products, installation and configuration can be challenging, with many options to consider and decisions to make. BlackBerry provides a very comprehensive guide (.pdf) for technical staff undertaking this effort, which you should review as part of an evaluation or purchase process.
BlackBerry has been doing mobile for a very long time, with an impressive list of customers that includes the U.S. Department of Defense. Still, BlackBerry executives have been candid in noting that their revised corporate strategy to emphasize BES 10 may not be successful. With more than 100 EMM systems to choose from, the daunting selection process might lead some to write off BES 10 from the start.
No matter how you might feel about BlackBerry handsets and the company overall, however, there is no doubt that BES 10 has a feature set that merits attention.