BlackBerry upgrades BES to improve Android, iOS management

Version 10.2 of the management platform gives IT staff more flexibility when managing iOS and Android-based devices

BlackBerry has upgraded its management platform Enterprise Server 10 (BES10) with more features for managing Android and iOS smartphones and has also improved scalability to lower overall costs.

BlackBerry's problems are well documented, but the company is soldiering on. On Monday, the company posted an open letter from CEO John Chen that emphasized its renewed focus on the enterprise market.

One of the key products in this effort is BES10, with version 10.2 released on Tuesday. To make it more competitive in a cutthroat sector, BlackBerry has extended its cross-platform support.

Enterprises can now activate iOS and Android-based devices using what the company calls "true BYOD mode," where management is confined to the Secure Work Space container only. This feature is a good fit for environments where full mobile device management control for iOS and Android devices is not preferred, according to BlackBerry.

Secure Work Space started shipping in June and adds a managed container to protect corporate data and applications. It now works with smartphones running iOS7 and Android 4.3.

Management of iOS and Android devices can also be automated using BlackBerry Web Services (BWS). By exposing BWS APIs, Blackberry will enable others to develop applications that automate and combine various administrative tasks for the management of iOS and Android devices.

BlackBerry has also worked to improve BES scalability: the new version can support 100,000 devices per domain, with any mix of BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices. That reduces the number of servers and resources required for large scale deployments, which, in turn, lowers costs, according to the company.

BlackBerry has also added a self-service portal that allows users to perform device management tasks on their own, which could result in fewer calls to IT. Users can view and manage all their devices, view device details, and set activation passwords, according to BlackBerry.

Morgan Stanley, Boeing, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Secusmart are participating in the early adopter and beta programs, and are running version 10.2 in a test environment, according to BlackBerry.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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