As recently promised, BlackBerry has released its secure workspace app to enable workers to share content safely on almost any device. Will playing nicely with ecosystem rivals help BB's bank-end sales, or will the move put another nail in its hardware strategy?
Helping Secure the Mobile Enterprise
Secure Work Space is BlackBerry's new app that's available for iOS and Android users, assuming their business runs BlackBerry's Enterprise Service 10 in the background. With the app in action, users can work with information and files that is kept secure with 256-bit AES encryption, and maintained in a safe location, separate from users' own apps and their personal data.
Providing access on non-BlackBerry devices to the likes of BES-managed email, access office directory contacts and calendar appointments, this basically means you don't need a BlackBerry device to enjoy the secure features offered by the BB enterprise ecosystem. That used to matter when government and enterprises demanded high-level security, but with both iOS and Android making extensive strides in this area, there's the suspicion that this might be a move made too late.
The app is available on the App Store and in Google Play and is free to use, alongside the BES10 Client app and Work Space Manager app for admins. These will allow IT departments to control and manage user's security from afar, so even they don't need to be tied to their server racks.
BlackBerry data running on an Android
Putting Business and Worker Together
BlackBerry has put up a two-minute video that covers the basics of the main features. As we enter the realm of general bring your own device territory, it will certainly help users turning up at a company and getting to work without the need to go waiting for the next batch of expensive enterprise-approved devices (which are waiting in purchase order hell to be signed off).
The BES 10 server software is free to download. Annual client access licenses (CALs) for Secure Work Space are $99 per year per device. BES 10 is also available as a 60-day free trial bundle that includes 50 EMM Corporate CALs (providing device management for BlackBerry 10, iOS, and Android devices) and 50 Secure Work Space CALs.
Quite what this will do to BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 sales is anyone's guess, but if a business is already all-BB, then things are unlikely to change. But the chances of a potentially BB-friendly workplace mandating those devices in future now seems remote. However, with a huge amount of BlackBerry enterprises still out there, all those licenses could soon add up for it.