On Tuesday, BlackBerry advanced the prospect of securing Bring-Your-Own-Devices, with its announcement that its Secure Work Space is now available for iOS and Android devices. The capability, which separates work and personal spaces on a personal device used for work, is an option in version 10.1.1 of BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10.
BES 10 was launched in January, and Secure Work Space was announced in March, followed by trials at companies around the world. Secure Work Space allows users to have their company's integrated email with attachment viewing, calendar, contacts and secure browser access to intranets inside a secure container, managed through BES.
BES 10 allows clients to manage devices accessing their internal networks. It is free for downloading, and annual client access licenses for Secure Work Space are $99 per year per device. Since January, 18,000 BES 10 servers have been installed, which is currently about 6000 more than the installed base a month ago. BlackBerry has said that over 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using or testing BES.
David J. Smith, EVP for Enterprise Mobile Computing at BlackBerry, said in a statement that, "in today's 'bring your own device world,' Secure Work Space is a differentiated solution that brings key elements of the BlackBerry platform and mobile device management to iOS and Android devices."
The dual work space model potentially solves IT's problem of easy-to-manage secure access to work apps and data, and a user's need to keep personal apps and data safe from IT's control. Users can access their work documents without having to use VPN and, if editing is desired, BlackBerry's Documents to Go is accessible.
Users can flip back and forth between the two work spaces simply by clicking an icon, just as they would between any two apps. Smith told news media that the switching is "very easy and seamless" between confidential work information and personal, private information. The addition of iOS and Android phones potentially could extend the level of security associated with BlackBerry devices to the other two mobile platorms, which are the world's most popular.
BYOD has been growing because of the convenience it offers for employees, who want to use the same smartphone or tablet for work and personal activity. But it's also being propelled by financial advantages for companies.
A Cisco study released in May, for instance, found that companies adopting BYOD policies can save as much as $3150 per employee per year.
A key reason for the large savings, of course, is because much of the costs for owning and operating the BYOD device are being borne by the employee, who is sometimes partially reimbursed. But another reason such a move makes corporate financial sense is because of increased productivity for workers, who are able to access work apps and data whenever they need to work.