I have been hearing from a few people recently about how BlackBerry is getting squeezed on the government front due to the United States DoD approving iOS and Android devices for government use. I took that with a huge grain of salt since I was waiting for the DoD to release their STIG guidance for how these devices would have to be configured. In short government employees may be “able” to use an iPhone or iPad on the DoD networks but here is a short list of what they will have to sacrifice for that pleasure:
- No Safari browser (you have to use a containerized browser that will have far fewer features)
- No iMessage
- No iTunes
- No App Store (as in only apps the DoD allows on your device through their own App Store)
- Containerized segregated email client
- No Wi-Fi access on DoD Wi-Fi networks though you can use it at home or publicly
- Must be connected to a MDM (Mobile Device Management) solution
The last point is one of the most interesting. To be able to use an iOS device or Android device on the DoD network it must be hooked up to an MDM. Currently the only approved MDM is BlackBerry Enterprise Service.
The other thing to note is that the DoD has approved BlackBerry Balance for using both personal and government data on one device. That means you can have all your personal email, music, apps, and other information while also having a secure work partition on the BlackBerry 10 device. You don’t even need to have a password on the personal partition only the work partition. Samsung is trying to do something similar but is having quite a bit of trouble trying to get their version of Dual Personas out the gate. Its also hard to compare the KNOX solution since Samsung keeps on delaying its release.
Either way both cases seem to show off the difference between security being bolted on and being baked in. BlackBerry 10 was designed for both enterprise/government and personal use on the same device. In short the playing field is nowhere near level when you compare BlackBerry vs other solutions for the enterprise. On the other hand the competition is starting to encroach on a territory BlackBerry has long dominated.