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BlackBerrys Enterprise “Death Grip”

zombie handshake Sorry I could not help but use the turn of phrase a friend suggested. While studies and reports are not shining a positive light on RIM they still have a fortress in the heart of enterprise communication. As CNN points out there is a reason why users stick with BlackBerry devices and it usually starts by their employer giving them a BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry platform dominates the enterprise market and has a veritable “Death Grip” on those customers. Don’t get me wrong the competition is slowly chipping away at RIM’s fortress of enterprise communication but RIM has a simple answer for that. If a handheld is susceptible to attack by a simple PDF or TIFF image like the iPhone and Android then you have a serious issue. RIM has had their own issues with PDF attachments in the past but they have fixed them within days and provided enterprises with a quick solution every time.

CNN mentions 3 reasons why users keep on coming back to their BlackBerrys:

  • The keyboard
  • The red light
  • & the “business-iy” status symbol

I totally agree with them and think that security is the glue that sticks this trifecta together. RIM has built a strong name for itself with certifications galore stating that they contain rock solid security. They sacrifice quite a few features on the altar of security but for the enterprise market this really makes them a shoe in. Regular consumers are still going to pester their IT departments to support Android and iPhone devices but many companies cannot accept the risks associated with them. When you add the features like Mobile Voice System with Wi-Fi calling and secure internal communication then businesses still have a strong value proposition to choose BlackBerry. This security is something that is currently getting RIM in trouble in India and the Middle east.

On the other hand some internal research from Good Technologies suggests that RIM might be slowly losing their “Death Grip” on the enterprise market. According to Good (which has a alternative motive in this case since they sell products for other devices):

  • 43% of all corporate users use iPhone and Android – employees want their work info on their personal phones and IT has been forced to support it (which is a good thing for corporations, since they don’t have to pay for corporate Blackberry’s anymore)
  • 20% of all corporations now support 3 or more phone operating systems – pretty surprising, considering less than a year ago it was mostly Rim and iPhone. This just points to the fact that corporations anticipate that they need to now support whatever the employees want and are open to supporting the flavors du jour

So what do you think? Will RIM continue their domination of the enterprise market?

6 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. When corporates get hit badly by malware from other phones, they’ll give RIM the puppy eyes and come back.

  2. I would say either iPhone or Android is going to be the root of a major data security breach in the not too distant future. Then all the media idiots that are beating up RIM right now about their too tight security will be eating crow.

  3. Ronen, you’re great at stirring the pot 😉 I do agree with most of what was said in your article, but I think it is very unwise for corporations to put work docs on employee’s personal phones. Perhaps network admins in these corporations might want to consider keeping their résumés up-to-date in case there is a security breach. Phones are often lost, misplaced, and many of them have no security at all. At least I can “strongly” encrypt my BlackBerry device & the flash card. Also, with BES devices, the corporation can determine who has access to what type of info, and that info can be protected even if the device is lost or stolen. The devices can be remotely wiped as well.

    Today, we make fun at Microsoft Windows requiring anti-virus & anti-spyware software and tons of weekly updates… Very soon the smartphone will be on the front lines to those trying to steal your personal information! As both Amir & DavidB suggest, RIM’s security will then be appreciated & respected. Until now, it has been seen by non-corporate users and developers as just another unnecessary component they must suffer through.

    RIM essentially gives away the Curve at no cost (with 2-3 year contracts), so corporations interested in protecting their crucial corporate data might want to reconsider! Should I bring in my personal laptop to work and use it as my main workstation? I should think not! Even pizza parlours have secret recipes worth protecting!

  4. I should add that adding “unsecured” devices to your corporate network, like your own personal laptop and your personal smartphone should be SERIOUSLY discouraged and banned outright. These personal devices are not managed by your IT department and we don’t know what sort of malware will be introduced into your corporate network by these devices.

    Would you also like me to run a sniffer on your corporate network right from my own PC or smartphone? I didn’t think so. I can also infect buddy-down-the-hall’s iPhone with the several freely available spyware apps. That is one thing BES ensures employees are protected because they cannot download & install apps unless approved by the IT department!

    I can’t wait for RIM’s NEXT smartphone !WITH A FRONT FACING CAMERA! for video conferencing. This will really turn some heads for corporations wishing to do more face-to-face discussions while saving on travel costs… or engaging without having to walk down the hall! Having such a feature will also jive well with RIM’s wicked MVS & WiFi-calling solutions!

  5. But don’t forget Joe that MANY corporate and MOST GOV/MIL are still going to require a “no camera” BlackBerry. I’m seriously considering trading in this Tour for a BoldNC just because I’m travelling more and all the places I go ban camera phones.

  6. I am just glad RIM finally added a decent browser… Forget everything else. :)

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