June 17, 2014
BlackBerry Messenger Encrypted To Keep Enterprise Customers Happy
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Mobile phone maker BlackBerry continues to struggle in the market but it has gotten the message that encryption is key to holding onto its core enterprise customers. On Monday, BlackBerry announced BBM Protected, a secure enterprise-messaging tool within its eBBM suite.
While BlackBerry has lost market share to Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems, it has refocused from consumers towards core business customers, notably those in highly regulated industries and government agencies. The addition of BBM Protected is there to ensure that all instant messaging (IM) communication is fully protected.
"BBM Protected is a new service that allows enterprise users to take advantage of the speed, reliability and privacy of BBM for faster communication, collaboration and decision making while providing security-conscious organizations the enhanced security benefits of an on premise solution coupled with the convenience benefits of a cloud solution," Jeffery Gadway, head of product and brand marketing for BBM, said in a blog post on Monday. "BBM Protected offers an enhanced security model for BBM messages sent between BlackBerry smartphones that protects corporate data end to end with additional encryption."
The software provides an added layer of encryption to the existing BBM security model, BlackBerry noted. Messages sent between two BBM Protected users are provided this extra layer and encrypted via a key unique to those two users. Moreover, the encryption key is controlled by the enterprise not BlackBerry, which is not actually involved in brokering the exchange of the two keys.
The first time two BBM Protected users establish a chat they will be required to share a secret passphrase, which is used to authenticate their identities and generate the BBM Protected encryption key.
"BBM Protected has been designed for organizations with the need to protect corporate data at rest and in transit. These could be customers in regulated industries like financial services or government as well as highly security conscious organizations like law firms, or healthcare providers," added Gadway. "Security-conscious organizations are caught between a rock and a hard place today when it comes to secure IM. Many consumer IM apps don't meet the security needs of IT while the enterprise IM apps deployed by IT leave end users seeking more utility and a better mobile experience. No secure IM apps have managed to meet the needs of both IT and end users – until now. Plus, BBM Protected works together with the logging and auditing capabilities available today with BES, allowing enterprise customers in regulated industries to meet their compliance obligations."
BBM Protected is the only secure mobile instant messaging app that uses a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic library, the company noted in a statement.
"We've been testing BBM Protected on behalf of our customers and have been impressed so far," said Zekeria Oezdemir, technical director of NovaLink. "BBM Protected is the ideal solution for our banking and insurance customers who have increased security needs."
The new BBM Protected will be available for all BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry 6+ and BlackBerry 10 operating systems. Versions of BBM Protected for BlackBerry 10 smartphones using BlackBerry Balance and iOS and Android devices are expected later this year.
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