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Post-BlackBerry Mobility Strategy for the Public Sector

Wednesday November 6th, 2013

What are we to make of Gartner’s recent announcement that it is ‘game over’ for BlackBerry? For the last decade the UK public sector has favoured BlackBerry as its device of choice, ahead of third-party security platforms. It was the only device accredited for the use of Restricted information by the Government’s risk assessment arm CESG. For bodies in central government, the Ministry of Defence, NHS, police and local government, it was a ‘no–brainer’.mobile_1382418lge

Things have changed. Gartner is now suggesting that those organisations still using BlackBerry should find an alternative over the next six months.

This follows announcements in the past year that both the US and UK Governments have allowed iOS and Android devices to be used by internal departments. The combination of these devices with a secure mobility platform is, Gartner says, a better strategy for companies looking to the future.

Any alternatives to BlackBerry must protect critical applications and sensitive data.

But locking down the device is not enough. The most secure solution is the ‘containerisation’ approach, like Good Technology’s, whereby only certified apps operate within a secure encrypted container on the device, ensuring that sensitive data is secure, device user experience is unaffected and employees have no personal privacy concerns if also using their own email, for example. It differs from using a singular ‘mobile device management platform’, as the data and apps are also secured, rather than just the device.

One of the other new opportunities with the non-BlackBerry, containerised approach is to be able to deliver ‘secure mobile workflows’. To explain: in the initial phase of any mobile project the requirements are usually fairly simple – mobile email/calendar plus documents (analogous to Outlook plus Office in Windows). However, stakeholders are wise to the true capabilities of their mobile devices and also desperate for apps to help deliver transformational change. Very quickly their demands grow beyond simplistic requirements to sophisticated solutions with multiple apps that must securely interact with one another and with corporate file stores and enterprise apps. This is called Secure Mobile Workflow, and the standalone ‘MDM’ solutions cannot cut it.

If anything, the movement of the public sector away from a reliance on BlackBerry signals a shift in how organisations and employees can now truly exploit mobile devices in the workplace. With so many organisations now allowing employees to use other devices in the workplace the path is clear for those in the public sector who want to move away from BlackBerry. For organisations that haven’t yet completed their Mobile IT Strategy then recent news is a real call to action. And it’s more important than ever they find technology partners who can help them to deliver on the requirements of their stakeholders for change.

Words: Marcus Chambers, General Manager and Vice President at Good Technology

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