BES update balances work and life BlackBerry use

Summary:BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.2 is designed to let companies deal with employees who use their personal devices on corporate networks

Research in Motion has released BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.2, adding features that make it easier for businesses to manage employees' use of their devices for work purposes, among other tweaks.

The update to BES — a push server that routes mail and data to and from BlackBerry devices on company networks — was released on Wednesday. One significant new feature is the Individual-Liable Devices Policy, which allows IT administrators to manage corporate and personal use on the same device. For instance, the policy lets users access personal email and make calls on their own voice plans, even when the device is locked for corporate purposes.

The feature also blocks access to corporate organiser data from within Facebook and other social-networking applications. Previously, companies may have had to ban employees from using social networks altogether in order to allow use of BlackBerry devices in a corporate setting, RIM said.

Admins can now remotely wipe corporate data from a BlackBerry without affecting personal data. Before the update, they only had the option to erase all data on the device.

Devices will require an update to the BlackBerry 6 device operating system, available in the third quarter this year, to make use of the new mixed-use policy features, RIM said. Apple introduced similar capabilities in a release of its iPhone operating system, iOS 4, in June.

The new version of BES gives people self-service access to some administration tasks via the BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager. This allows them to reset device passwords, lock devices and remotely delete data or disable a device, RIM said.

Other new features are standardised administration groups for IT staff, more flexible group administration policies, the ability to define authentication policies for specific web addresses and single sign-on access to BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager and BlackBerry Administration Service.

The update now allows users to access the BlackBerry Administration Service for IT Staff and BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager via a wider selection of browsers, including Google Chrome 4.0, Internet Explorer 8, Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and Safari 4. In addition, BES 5.0.2 adds support for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V 2008, with support on the way for SQL Server 2008 R2 within 30 days, according to the manufacturer.

The update is available immediately from RIM's website.

Topics: Apps

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