BES 5.0.2 Aims To Separate Professional From Personal
New features in Research In Motion's BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.2 make it easier for businesses to draw the line between corporate data and personal data.
Every company uses a different model when it comes to smartphones, how they are distributed to employees, and what they may be used for. Some provision and distribute them directly, others allow employees to purchase them and then expense the cost. Research In Motion is hoping to help enterprises draw a clearer line between corporate and personal information with new features in BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.2.
It is very easy for professionals to head out to the local wireless store, buy a BlackBerry, and configure it to access and/or receive corporate email and data. This is both a boon and a bane for IT, which may not have to deal with provisioning individual handsets, but does need to be concerned with securing corporate data of said devices. Enter BES 5.0.2.
One of the key new features of BES 5.0.2 allows IT admins to remove corporate information from employee-owned BlackBerries without messing up the owner's personal data. The employee's personal contacts and applications will stay intact, for example, but corporate contacts and apps would be nixed. RIM says this feature will require both BES 5.0.2 and the BlackBerry 6 platform, which isn't available yet.
Another security feature that is sure to please IT is what RIM calls an Individual-Liable Devices Policy. This allows users who've bought their own BlackBerries to access their personal calendar, email, and personal voiceplan even if the phone is locked to the business. This can help with separating business and personal use. The software also blocks users from accessing the calendar features of social network applications, which might interfere with and/or conflict with business policies.
BES 5.0.2 also makes it easier for end users to manage their own BES accounts. For example, a single sign-on lets both end users and admins access the BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager and BlackBerry Administration Services once they're signed into the network. The device is automatically authenticated through Active Directory and BES, so additional sign-ons aren't necessary to access intranet data and files.
End users can also use the Web-based tools to reset their BlackBerry password, lock the device to prevent access, or even delete all the data and disable the BlackBerry if it becomes lost or stolen. The Web-based version of Desktop Manager now supports a number of additional browsers, including Google Chrome 4.0, Internet Explorer 8, Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and Safari 4.
The BES 5.0.2 update is available to enterprises starting today.
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