​BlackBerry launches cloud edition of BES12

BlackBerry's cloud edition of BES12 aims to simplify deployments of its enterprise mobility management flagship.

BlackBerry on Monday rolled out BES12 Cloud, which is the company's enterprise mobility management as a service play.

The company is betting that its BlackBerry Enterprise Server will be appealing enough to manage iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices. Integration with Samsung's KNOX security platform, work tablets and smartphones are aimed at giving BES12 a larger footprint.

BES12 is the anchor of BlackBerry's strategy to be a software and services dominated company. In addition to BES12 Cloud, BlackBerry announced KNOX integration with Samsung as well as the BlackBerry Experience Suite, which includes productivity tools, a collaboration suite and security tools.

BES12 Cloud will allow admins to manage mobile device policies via a browser interface without server installations.

TechPro review: BES 12: Better, but patchy, support for non-BlackBerry devices | Buying enterprise mobility management: How important is independence?

Marty Beard, chief operating officer at BlackBerry, said BES12 Cloud is an avenue to expand its enterprise mobility management (EMM) footprint. The pricing will be subscription per device with service tiers. For instance, BES12 Cloud will run $23 to $90 per device annually per month with silver to premium support. Ed note: On a conference call, Beard said the pricing was per month. The company now says that pricing is an annual per device charge.

MobileIron, one of many EMM players in the market, has list prices of $4 per device per month or $6 per user per month in case you have workers with more than one device. Silver support is provided for the $4 per device a month price. Platinum support, which includes help desk, data monitoring and access to managed apps will run $7 per device. MobileIron's pricing revolves around product bundles not support. Support is included and there are higher tiers available. On an annual basis, BES 12 is in the ballpark with other pricing plans.

Beard added that BES12 "can have a dramatic impact on our EMM." He said:

We're trying to broaden the EMM space. A cloud version is enabling us to broaden our footprint. This will help us sell into the small medium sized business user as well as divisions, groups and subsidiaries at larger enterprises.

Regulated industries are likely to stick with on-premise BES12, said Beard.

According to BlackBerry, BES12 Cloud will provide the features of on-premise offering but with easier deployment options. BlackBerry said it will outline pricing at the end of the month. For now, BES12 Cloud is in a closed beta with a former launch in late March.

In addition, BlackBerry also beefed up its BES12 on-premise features to include:

  • New admin tools to restrict and control access to various BlackBerry 10 OS versions, configure message rules for work email and enable wired activation.
  • Android management improvements with support for Samsung KNOX Standards. BES12 will also support Google's Android for Work tools, which separate work and personal applications and data.
  • An improved admin user interface that surfaces policy controls and OS updates more easily.