BlackBerry is set to deliver an analogue to the Balance feature of its BlackBerry 10 smartphones for iOS and Android devices, enabling organisations to separate work from personal data on these handsets and manage it via the Blackberry Enterprise Service (BES).
The Canadian firm said its BES 10 platform will soon be able to extend BlackBerry security capabilities to third-party devices, namely Apple's iPhone and iPad and those based on Google's Android platform, via the BlackBerry Secure Work Space technology
Balance partitions a BlackBerry 10 device into separate work and personal environments, with the work environment provisioned and managed by a BES 10 corporate server.
With BlackBerry Secure Work Space, the firm is not aiming to duplicate these capabilities exactly, as they are baked in to the BlackBerry 10 OS itself, but offer a similar separation of work and personal data.
"With Secure Work Space for iOS and Android devices, we're extending as many of these features as possible to other platforms, critical in today's Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) world," said David Smith, vice president of Enterprise Mobile Computing at BlackBerry.
To this end, Secure Work Space will include "secured client applications for email, calendar, contacts, tasks, memos, secure browsing and document editing," according to the firm.
Similar capabilities were announced recently at Mobile World Congress (MWC) show in Barcelona by Samsung with its Knox platform and General Dynamics, which offers to secure Samsung and LG Android handsets.
However, the wording of BlackBerry's announcement is very similar to that used by mobile security vendor (and another Canadian firm) Fixmo to describe its SafeZone technology.
SafeZone "enables organisations to deploy corporate email, documents, browsing and applications to iOS and Android devices through a defence-grade secure workspace that is encrypted, contained and managed by IT independent of the device itself," according to Fixmo's website.
BlackBerry declined to answer questions from V3 regarding Secure Work Space and whether it had any connection to Fixmo technology, with a spokesperson telling us that more information will be disclosed in the near future.
However, by bringing a secure container technology for Android and iOS under the control of BES 10, BlackBerry is aiming to keep its platform relevant to its key corporate customers, who may be facing the challenges of BYOD as well as deploying BlackBerry 10 devices to key staff.
"BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 offers administrators a single, intuitive platform enabling them to effectively and securely manage a variety of devices while protecting their corporate assets and at the same time providing employees the flexibility they desire," Smith added.
The news comes on the same day in which BlackBerry announced it had received an order for one million devices, as it seeks to fight back in the smartphone market.
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