BlackBerry first to secure U.S. DOD device management approval

BlackBerry first to secure U.S. DOD device management approval

Summary: The smartphone maker retains its security crown as it becomes the first mobile device management provider to be awarded an "authority to operate" on the U.S. Defense Dept. networks.

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TOPICS: BlackBerry
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(Image: Sarah Tew/CNET)

In spite of its financial troubles and a recent mass exodus of executives, BlackBerry is clinging on to the smartphone cliff. No more so than in security, which continues to be the main (if not only) selling point of the beleaguered mobile maker in the face of rivals.

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U.S. agency gives BlackBerry 10 a chance after iPhone coup

U.S. agency gives BlackBerry 10 a chance after iPhone coup

One U.S. federal agency is giving RIM one more chance by testing BlackBerry 10 in the new year, after it recently announced it would ditch the BlackBerry platform in favor of rolling out iPhones.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company announced on Thursday its BlackBerry 10 phones, including the touch-screen Z10 and the keyboard-enabled Q10, in conjunction with its mobile device management (MDM) service BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10, have been awarded an "authority to operate,"  the highest level of certification on U.S. Defense Department networks.

BES 10 is the first MDM solution for BlackBerry 10 on the market to receive such certification, the company said.

The U.S. Defense Information System Agency (DISA), the government's IT and communications support group, is now architecting its infrastructure to support 10,000 BlackBerry 10 smartphones by the third quarter, and by 30,000 by the end of this year.

Receiving the authority to operate is an important step for the overall certification process in order to get BlackBerry smartphones running on U.S. government and military networks. The award is in effect a governmental rubber-stamp to the level of security the service provides.

A BlackBerry spokesperson explained in an email to ZDNet: "DoD users can fully embrace all of the consumer features – applications, games, multimedia, social networking — while still having full access to their DoD email."

BlackBerry senior vice president Scott Totzke said in prepared remarks that the certification "further establishes" the company's "proven and validated security model."

BlackBerry 10 devices were already granted FIPS 140-2 certification for low-level secure transmissions last year, seen as a stepping stone to higher security clearances within the Defense Dept. But this news makes the overall ecosystem a far more attractive solution to buy into as a result of the device plus management combination.

Topic: BlackBerry

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19 comments
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  • If you think about it, it's really a 'duh' here.

    What other phone has a separable file system that allows you to keep personal stuff in one partition and encrypted work stuff in the other partition, with the personal half being completely unable to affect the business half?

    There are plenty of other features on BlackBerry phones that aren't available anywhere else. It seems to me that BB is the only phone manufacturer who actually cares about device security.
    Jacob VanWagoner
    • Jacob VanWagoner: "If you think about it, it's really a 'duh' here."

      "What other phone has a separable file system that allows you to keep personal stuff in one partition and encrypted work stuff in the other partition, with the personal half being completely unable to affect the business half?"

      Samsung KNOX for Enterprise with SE for Android (read SELinux). More here

      http://www.samsung.com/global/business/mobile/solution/security/samsung-knox#con04

      P.S. Am not trying to diss Blackberry, their MDM solution or imply that QNX isn't a great OS.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Rabid Howler Monkey "If you think about it, it's really a 'duh' here."

        I agree that they are attempting security, but they just won't be able to do it as well without creating a new operating system with a better kernel architecture.

        Samsung KNOX and SE for Android don't even come close to what Blackberry has done on its phone. Yes you can separate things, but it is done in a different way that leaves KNOX and SE for Android more vulnerable. The underlying operating system kernel of QNX allows for better security due to its architecture. KNOX, SE, anything ios will never have this capability unless the operating system is rewritten.
        Ryan Hentz
        • Please elaborate and/or provide a link

          Would love to learn more about Blackberry's smartphone security with QNX. As well as read an in-depth comparison with Android and iOS.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Stupid is as stupid does.

      This is just old school mentality. Don't ever forget that Blackberry is based on a Java engine, proven to be the most hackable stuff on the planet. Blackberry has a lot of old-school mentality in the Gov, and it's holding strong. There are much more secure and reliable OSes and devices available today. You guys post as if the US Gov does things smart or something. LOL!
      Narg
      • Wrong.

        BB10 is not based on a Java engine, it's based on QNX... BB7 was though. If you're angry at Obama don't take it out on BB.
        Stefano G
      • "There are much more secure and reliable OSes and devices available today"

        No, there aren't.
        radleym
  • OPINION PIECE - Name it as it is...with some facts slathered through it.

    Hey Zack...how do you know it is clinging on the cliff? Proof please...not just your opinion!! Just another blog about how BlackBerry is dead....thats getting old...it was all used up last year.

    People wonder where journalism went...it went to blogs and opinion pieces being able to be written by any old Dick, Tom, or Henry.

    How about writing a transparent piece without all your opinions and hatred slathered through it?

    Just report the news...nothing more ....nothing less.
    HollyBolly
    • Totally agree

      These experts and journalists are more like celebrity gossip columnists these days, their opinion masquarades as well researched journalism, very little sustance and obvious agendas and bias, zero objectivity.
      pfezziwig
  • Your first line WOW

    "Financial trouble" Is a company with no debt and 3.1Billions in cash really is in financial trouble? Specially after adding 1.1B in the last year alone,while building from the ground up a totally new platform and phones OS system? I'm sure the DoD does an extensive review of the company's, their products and services before they award them a contract.
    i7up2001
    • And falling like a stone in Europe.

      "BlackBerry is shedding sales share all over Europe: across the five markets, its slice of sales dropped from seven percent to 2.2 percent, according to Kantar's figures."


      http://www.zdnet.com/windows-phone-popularity-grows-in-europe-as-it-cements-its-third-place-behind-android-ios-7000018670/
      IT_Fella
      • very true

        Totally agree
        ITGuy000
  • re: which continues to be the main (if not only)

    Why is it consumer ratings place the Z10 well above the iPhone and Galaxy yet 'expert' tech bloggers continue to trash it?

    Do these 'experts' think the consumers don't know any better? Or are these 'experts' biased boneheads?
    pfezziwig
    • Simple...

      It's buggy as hell. We tested them extensively, and got out of that mess with no regrets. On top of that, the users simply didn't like them.
      Turismo
      • Are you for real?

        Buggy? Honestly? Name 3.
        Not minor inconveniences, 3 real bugs that really affect your enjoyment of the device.
        I've so far found ONE bug that was worth reporting, and it was fixed in the very next release, which I got over the air for free.
        gwalachmai
  • approved for DOD Network

    If we only knew what that meant...
    NSA snoop filters enabled and fully functional, GPS reports your exact location even when off, When pinged by {whoever} it sends locator beacons, Changes or plants incriminating data on your device as required...
    greywolf7
    • greywolf3, your tin foil hat is quite becoming (and amusing)

      Please note that SELinux has been ported to Android, not QNX.

      Android fans, please provide a URL where I can download the source code for Android. Note that I refer to Samsung's Android derivative which is modified and recompiled from Google's stock Android for it's OHA partners. And do you honestly believe that the AOSP source code is identical to either?
      Rabid Howler Monkey
  • ..

    I wish I have a job that requires strong security need. Oh well, I'll just watch on the sidelines with the rest of the 99% of global population that doesn't need high security with their hand-held. Great to hear 30,000 BB could be purchased by DOD, a big step to capturing the 1.5 billion smartphones users in the world. ... pffft
    To Rumber Drag
  • ..

    I wish I have a job that requires strong security need. Oh well, I'll just watch on the sidelines with the rest of the 99% of global population that doesn't need high security with their hand-held. Great to hear 30,000 BB could be purchased by DOD, a big step to capturing the 1.5 billion smartphones users in the world. ... pffft
    To Rumber Drag