I think RIM has a interesting concept with trying to segregate work and personal use of employee owned/liable BlackBerry devices. The thing is I don’t see a huge market for it so I am not sure why they are spending time on it… In a nutshell RIM is trying to make the restrictive policies of a BES coexist with the simple security suggestions/policies on consumer BlackBerrys. For example, a company would not want you to be able to take a corporate email and forward it out as a tweet or upload a slide screenshot.
The problem is that I don’t see how this will work. It might work for very lax companies that are allowing employee liable devices but those companies tend to have little to no security or IT policies and requirements in the first place. The other problem is that most companies can care less if employees can use their BlackBerrys for personal use… The only way I can see this working is if RIM comes up with a way to virtualize two distinct BlackBerry OS instances on one device.
Let me give you a two examples:
- Company A blocks all third party application installations on their BES. This way they know that no third party application can access sensitive information like contacts, calendar, email, internal corporate network, and more. How would this coexist with RIM trying to allow employees to run personal apps.
- Say Company B blocks employee devices from using personal email accounts. Unless RIM can make two totally separate OS instances then there would be no way to clearly separate the two since there are multiple different ways that information could be accessed.
The main problems RIM is going to run into are:
- Companies do not want to have to support employee owned devices
- Employees will not want to have their devices locked down if they are paying for them
- Employers usually care less if their employees are having fun with their devices
- Most companies that apply security IT Policies are not the type of companies that would allow employee owned devices. For example, a financial or legal firm must lock down these devices tight and they gain nothing from allowing employees to play on their devices other than introducing risk.
What I think RIM should really do is just build in ActiveSync support natively into the BlackBerry OS or better yet just make BIS work with ActiveSync. That way employees can access their work email, contacts, calendar, notes, & tasks from their BlackBerry and companies do not have to deploy their own BES. This would alleviate most of the pain users have with connecting to a work BES especially a companies that would even consider allowing employee liable devices.
What do you think? Is RIM trying to solve a real valuable problem or are they developing a solution with very little in terms of a target market?