Beyond BlackBerry: 3 steps to prepare for its demise

It's easy to switch to iOS or even Android, no matter what type of company you are

By Bob Violino, InfoWorld |  Consumerization of IT, BlackBerry, RIM

In fall 2008, the Secret Service told then President-elect Barack Obama that he could not use his BlackBerry for presidential work. After his inauguration, they relented for personal usage with the addition of specialty encryption. Today, he is frequently seen with his iPad.

In other words, the world has changed. "When the iPhone and Android came to market, they were not as robust with security, but since then Apple, Google, and third-party partners have filled many of the gaps around security and manageability that had made RIM a differentiator. Today, there are really no industries or job functions that would have no place to go other than BlackBerry," Borg says.

If the default security in iOS or Android isn't up to your needs, plenty of third-party mobile management tools are available to secure them at the level that companies require, Borg notes. "The leaders in this sector offer comprehensive security [capabilities] that in many cases meet or even exceed what RIM was doing with BES," Borg says.

The big area that such tools for iOS and Android beat RIM center around is the very area with the most potential for employees and employers alike: applications.

IT fears over iOS and Android not being as control-oriented as BlackBerry can also be addressed. For example, although iOS is an opt-in operating system, where users have to agree to be managed, all the leading management tools simply block access from devices that don't accept the policies. They also detect and block jailbroken devices, so you can prevent users from running apps that come from outside Apple's heavily policed app store. Access to iCloud can be disabled as well, though it can cause unanticipated problems if done too cavalierly.

Android support takes more effort. The multiple versions of Android in use vary significantly in their security support, with only Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" and later comparing to the native iOS capabilities. "You need a greater level of effort and expertise to make Android enterprise-ready," Borg notes.

Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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