BlackBerry has announced that its BBM Protected enterprise-grade messaging service can now be used with its Balance-enabled devices, allowing the high-security service to be used on work and personal phones.
The move looks to expand BBM Protected access to a wider range of BlackBerry devices, where previously it was limited to BlackBerry handsets and devices running BlackBerry OS in Regulated mode.
BlackBerry hopes the move will facilitate the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend by allowing a company’s employees to use their private BlackBerry handsets for work use and vice versa, providing the handset is BlackBerry Balance enabled.
BlackBerry Balance segregates work data from personal content on a single handset, meaning the security concerns that normally blight BYOD initiatives, such as work files being sent to personal contacts, are avoided.
This means that in practise work messages sent via BBM Protected on a Balance device are automatically encrypted with the service’s robust security. Messages sent to friends or family use the standard BlackBerry Messenger encryption.
Launched back in June, BBM Protected was designed to take the BlackBerry Messenger service and tailor it for enterprise use in regulated industries such as healthcare and finance.
This required BlackBerry to add a layer of security to the service that was compliant to the Federal Information Processing Standards 140-2 security standards.
The service allows for secure internal and external communication between a company’s employees and those from other businesses. BlackBerry hopes this will encourage improved collaboration between both individuals and businesses.
BlackBerry plans to roll out the service to iOS and Android devices this autumn, but no exact date was confirmed.
V3 approached BlackBerry for more information but is yet to receive a reply.
The update to BBM Protected could be seen as a move by BlackBerry to strengthen its position in the software side of the market, given that the company is struggling on the hardware side of the mobile industry when compared to rivals Apple and Android.
Other evidence to suggest this might be the case is BlackBerry’s recent move to add its BBM service to iOS and Android devices, and more recently enabling the service on Windows Phone.