May 04, 2011, 10:47 AM — One of Research in Motion's biggest challenges in a world of the iPhone and Android has been how to keep its products fun and fresh while maintaining the high level of security its corporate users have come to rely on.
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RIM has employed many methods to meet this challenge with its PlayBook tablet, none more obvious than the BlackBerry Balance technology that it introduced at BlackBerry World this week. Essentially, BlackBerry Balance allows users and IT departments to erect a firewall between personal and corporate data on devices so that end users have more personal freedom to run their own apps while ensuring that corporate data doesn't get compromised.
Among other things, BlackBerry Balance forbids users from copying and pasting information from an enterprise application into a personal application and restricts corporate data access for social networking applications. Additionally, if an employee is leaving their current company with a device that they personally own that contains corporate data, IT departments can perform remote wipes of enterprise data on the device without affecting users' personal data.
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RIM is also keeping PlayBook secure through its BlackBerry Bridge system that allows the PlayBook to get access to corporate data by connecting it to BlackBerry smartphones over Bluetooth. RIM touts this as a simple way for IT departments to manage PlayBook because Bridge has a lot of features that automatically protect data wiith minimal intervention from IT.
This is largely because RIM has designed Bridge to provide PlayBook with a "window" into a BlackBerry smartphone's data without actually syncing that data onto the tablet itself. This means that when the PlayBook loses its Bluetooth connection with a BlackBerry device, it also loses access to corporate data. Furthermore, a remote wipe of a BlackBerry device will automatically lock down its cache of PlayBook data to ensure that it cannot be decrypted. Additionally, implementing a password reset on any BlackBerry device will automatically require a new password for Bridge, meaning that a PlayBook will not be able to view data from a reset device until both the smartphone and the tablet have a new password to connect to one another.