Research In Motion plans to update its BlackBerry Enterprise Server to allow businesses to manage mobile devices running a variety of operating systems, including iOS and Android.
The new BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) can be customised to include any or all of BES, BES Express and a separate device management server for Android and iOS devices, depending on what mobile devices need to be managed. The multi-platform package of software and services will be available on general release later in the year, Research In Motion (RIM) said on Monday.
"The single web-based console is being designed to provide IT administrators with a simple and efficient way to distribute software and manage policies, inventory, security and services for BlackBerry devices, as well as other mobile devices," the company said in a statement.
"IT administrators will be able to manage devices over-the-air, including activating devices, distributing software and applications, locking or wiping devices, enforcing and resetting device passwords, setting IT policies, and managing optional mobile applications for end users," it added.
BES performs functions such as rerouting and encrypting corporate emails — providing extra security for a business — and syncing contact and calendaring information, administered through a web-based interface.
The multi-platform BES product is underpinned by technology developed by Ubitexx, which RIM has an agreement to purchase for an undisclosed sum, it said on Monday.
The single web-based console is being designed to provide IT administrators with a simple and efficient way to distribute software and manage policies, inventory, security and services for BlackBerry devices, as well as other mobile devices.– Research In Motion
However, RIM said that certain features of the original BES will remain exclusive to BlackBerry devices, as they directly rely on aspects of the BlackBerry operating system. These features include push technology, network and data usage efficiency services, and firewall-protected access to applications and systems.
In addition, the BlackBerry Balance service will also remain exclusive to RIM devices. The service, which allows users to separate information with work and personal profiles, was released on Monday.
RIM has come under pressure from a number of countries — including India, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia — as a result of the security features baked in to the BES service. These features could make it difficult for authorities to monitor communications sent using a BlackBerry smartphone or tablet.
In April, India renewed threats to ban RIM services from operating inside the country unless the company provided a decryption key for BES by the end of March. RIM has always maintained that it is unable to provide access to the services as it does not have the access to the keys. It had already provided access to its consumer email and messaging services, which do not use the BES platform.
Get the latest technology news and analysis, blogs and reviews delivered directly to your inbox with ZDNet UK's newsletters.