Google Secures Android for Businesses: Right Direction – But Far From Enough

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You might’ve seen the news: at Google’s I/O developer conference today, the company said it would do several things to boost Android’s security. Most prominently, this includes separating work and personal apps and data in coming versions of Android by leveraging Samsung’s KNOX containerization technology.

I’m delighted by this first step. The need to improve Android’s security was clear. And it validates what we at BlackBerry have been saying all along about the potential perils that businesses face in the BYOD era.

KNOX does help to shore up Android’s gaps. Like our own BlackBerry Balance, it uses containers to protect confidential work apps and data by segregating them from personal data. But KNOX hasn’t been widely adopted – fewer than 2 million Samsung phones are actually running KNOX today. Meanwhile, tens of millions of BlackBerry devices are trusted every day by Fortune 1000 firms worldwide. Our BES software dominates the enterprise mobility management (EMM) space, with more business customers than our top three competitors combined.

And while KNOX tries to build a fortress upon an insecure foundation, BlackBerry’s entire infrastructure – not just Balance, but every single component – is constructed upon a multi-decade bedrock of mobile management and security expertise.

“BlackBerry is still the gold standard,” Strategy Analytics analyst Kevin Burden told eWeek in April. “We know that to be true—on device encryption, the transfer of data … it’s all there.”

BlackBerry architects security into every single layer, from our BlackBerry 10-enabled devices (which, by the way, can securely run your Android apps) to the networks upon which your messages and data travel, to our secure messaging platform BBM Enterprise (formerly known as BBM Protected) to the BES management software. It’s why we have won 45 security certifications, more than any other vendor, including the only coveted “Full Operational Capability” certificate to run on U.S. Department of Defense networks to a mobile vendor.

While we agree that demand for mobile security and EMM is growing by leaps and bounds, we also think that CIOs are looking to place their faith in known, proven quantities. “BlackBerry was MDM before anyone knew what MDM meant,” wrote Forrester Research analyst Tyler Shields last month. “Security was baked into the BlackBerry devices and BES system at design time and will continue to add business value above and beyond the commoditized MDM components…BlackBerry will remain a leader in the hardware security and device management arena.”

Our track record and quality doesn’t come at an exorbitant cost. Strategy Analytics declared BES10 to have the lowest Total Cost of Ownership over 5 years of all EMM packages. Nor do you have to sacrifice on flexibility. BES is fully cross-platform. In addition to BlackBerry devices, BES can manage iPhones, Android devices and, soon, Windows Phone devices.

No wonder that we serve all 5 of the world’s largest global oil and gas businesses, all of the top 10 pharmaceutical, automotive and law firms, all 7 of the G7 governments, and 16 of the G20 governments. (As of February 2015, BlackBerry holds 70+ security certifications and approvals from governments.) And with migration programs such as EZ Pass, we’re attracting thousands of new customers representing 1.2 million workers – with 10% of those coming wins coming from MDM vendors.

At BlackBerry, our entire focus is on making workers more productive, and organizations more secure. While we applaud Google and Samsung for their plans, we don’t think it’s enough for security-minded enterprises. Instead, look to companies that have literally invested 3 decades into advancing the twin causes of security and productivity. In other words, don’t be dazzled by those who can talk the security talk. Instead, look to the company that has proven repeatedly it can walk the walk.

About John Chen

As Executive Chairman and CEO of BlackBerry Limited, John Chen is responsible for defining the company’s vision and goals, setting its strategy, and ensuring the team’s execution matches corporate objectives. Appointed in November 2013, John has led BlackBerry through a successful pivot from hardware icon to software leader. Today the company is poised to leverage its brand strength and heritage in mobile security along with its enterprise cybersecurity and embedded software growth engines to accelerate into the Enterprise of Things, an emerging category with billions of connected devices and massive market potential.

John has more than 30 years of engineering and management experience including serving as Chairman and CEO of Sybase Inc. along with executive roles at Siemens Nixdorf, Pyramid Technology Corp., Unisys, and Burroughs Corp.

John graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). In addition to BlackBerry, John serves on the board of directors for The Walt Disney Company in addition to several non-profits and previously served on the board of directors for Wells Fargo, CIT Group Inc., Beyond.com, Niku Corporation, Wafer Technology, and Turbolinux.

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