INSIDE BLACKBERRY BLOG

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

06.25.14 / John Chen

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.

John Chen

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 came to BlackBerry a distinguished leader and proven turnaround executive with more than 40 years of engineering and management experience along with a reputation that extends well-beyond the technology industry. Prior to joining BlackBerry, John served as Chairman and CEO of Sybase Inc. where he re-invented the company and led it through 55 consecutive quarters of profitability, providing outstanding shareholder returns during his 15-year tenure.

A global business leader with a strong interest in policy, John has testified before Congress on U.S.–China trade relations and was appointed by U.S. President George W. Bush to serve on the President's Export Council. In 2006, he was appointed co-chair of the Secure Borders and Open Doors Advisory Committee. Additionally, John chaired the U.S.-China Policy Advisory Roundtable for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), served on the Board of the National Committee on U.S. China Relations from 2012-2018, and has been a member of the Committee of 100 since 1997 and its Chairman from 2009-2011.

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). John has an honorary professorship from Shanghai University, and honorary doctorates from San Jose State University, City University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. John has received awards from the U.S.-Asia Institute, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation, the California-Asia Business Council, and the U.S.-Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation.

John served on the Board of Directors for The Walt Disney Company (2004-2019) and Wells Fargo & Co. (2006-2018). He is also active in the not-for-profit community, and is a trustee of Caltech, board member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, member of CFR, national trustee of The First Tee and Governor of the San Francisco Symphony.