The latest upgrade to Research In Motion's BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) V. 5.0.2, offers several new policies aimed as easing the smartphone support burden for IT, particularly when it comes to managing employee-owned devices in the enterprise.
For example, remote removal of corporate data from employee-owned devices is a new function built into BES 5.0.2, and the company says this function is expected to be supported with upcoming versions of the BlackBerry OS.
This function allows IT administrators to remove only corporate data from an employee-owned smartphone, without effecting the employee's personal information and applications.
BES 5.0.2 also adds a new individual-liable devices policy for employees who have purchased their own BlackBerry smartphones and have been connected to a BES. These users will be able to access personal email and calendar and make calls on their personal voice plan even when the device is locked.
The new individual-liable devices policy also prevents users from accessing organizer data from within social networking applications on a BlackBerry smartphone.
Later this year, RIM plans additional features for keeping corporate and personal content separate on individual-liable smartphones.
Additional enhancements give users access to new self-service features in the BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager, taking the IT administrator out of the mix altogether.
BES 5.0.2 gives BlackBerry users:
- the ability to reset device passwords
- lock a device
- remotely delete data and disable the device in the event that it is lost or stolen
Previously, such functions required the involvement of an IT administrator.
- Standardized BlackBerry Administration Groups for IT staff -- BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.2 ships with a set of predefined administration groups for IT administrators to quickly assign permissions and access to BlackBerry Administration Service for different IT staff responsibilities, including junior IT staff, help desk and senior administrators. These predefined administration groups reflect best practices and can help IT departments standardize permissions across their staff.
- IT policy reconciliation --This new feature gives administrators the flexibility to leverage group administration to deliver IT policies to end users. IT policies can be assigned to groups and a blended IT policy can be delivered to the end users device based on the groups they belong to.
- Additional server support -- Support for Windows Server 2008 R2, upcoming support for SQL Server 2008 R2 and all new support for MS Hyper-V 2008 have been added to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server platform certification list. SQL Server 2008 R2 is expected to be supported within 30 days of release.
- Flexible URL-based smartphone authentication -- IT administrators can now assign different authentication requirements for specific URLs. For example, two-factor authentication can be enabled for specific internal business systems containing customer information while no authentication may be required to access the Web.
- Single sign-on -- End users and administrators can directly and securely access BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager and BlackBerry Administration Service once they've signed in to the network without the need to re-enter their user ID and password. Smartphone users can be allowed access to the Intranet, files and business systems "behind the firewall" directly from their BlackBerry smartphone without the need to enter their network password with the device already authenticated via Active Directory and BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
- Support for additional web browsers -- The BlackBerry Administration Service for IT Staff and BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager for employees can now be accessed via Google Chrome 4.0, Internet Explorer 8, Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and Safari 4, among others.