Does my company need a Blackberry server?

IT

Does my company need a Blackberry server?

Does my company need a Blackberry server?

Today more than ever, companies are looking for ways to keep their employees connected while out of the office.  Blackberry is the world leader in handheld email, web and phone communication and a major reason why employees can still be productive and responsive while remaining mobile. Here is what you will find:

There are two options for corporate email using Blackberry devices, the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) or the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES).  Both BES and BIS technologies allow your Blackberry to get email and surf the internet as well as download and use third-party applications, but the BES gives you several special features not otherwise available.

Blackberry Internet Service (BIS)

The BIS gives your Blackberry access to the Internet.  It is basically like an ISP, except it is for your Blackberry instead of your computer.  Any time your Blackberry receives or sends an email, browses the internet, or downloads an application, it does this through the BIS, unless you are using a BES. However, as you can see, this can mean several limitations for your Blackberry service.

On the BIS side, the server your Blackberry uses is operated by your wireless carrier.  All data traveling between your Blackberry and the BIS is encrypted, but unfortunately that’s the only security feature you’ll get.  In addition, the carrier stipulates how devices communicate with the internet and what applications it will allow to run on your Blackberry. 

There are other limitations as well, as the BIS server is only capable of synchronizing e-mail and does not support subfolders.  Your calendar, contacts, tasks, etc. cannot be synchronized via the BIS and must by synchronized using the USB cable and desktop manager application on your computer.

Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES)

The BES is a server operated by your company. It gives your Blackberry access to the Internet like the BIS, but since it is operated by your company, the BES can also give you access to your corporate intranet, giving you the ability to look at internal web pages, files, e-mail, and other internal resources you may require. And the BES gives you additional control and security features that you cannot get through the BIS.

For most businesses, the server is usually located on-site, along with the company’s other mail, file, and web servers, giving you the ability to adjust virtually every aspect of the Blackberry handsets to conform to your corporate security policy or other corporate needs. 

And since the server is on your network, it allows your Blackberry devices to be a virtual mirror image of your corporate email application.  If you use Outlook, the BES will wireless synchronize your email (including subfolders), contacts, calendar entries, tasks and notes. 

Conveniently, the sync is bidirectional, meaning if you add a new contact to your mail program on your desktop it will show up immediately on your Blackberry.  Or if you add a new appointment on your Blackberry, it will immediately show up on your desktop, all wirelessly and in real time.

Additional BES Features

Publish applications directly to all of your corporate Blackberry devices, without each user performing an install.

For example, if you have 200 Blackberrys in your company and you decide that you want every Blackberry to have an application such as GoogleMaps, the BES lets you ‘push’ the application to each device without ever having to physically touch the devices or walk users through an installation process.

 It all happens automatically in the background and just appears on the devices.

Full control over access to corporate devices, including remote locking, data wiping, and finders message.

Let’s say one of your salespeople loses his Blackberry in the airport and it contains all of your client’s contact information and maybe some confidential emails.  With a BES, you can remotely lock the device so that it cannot be used or accessed by anyone without the password. 

You can also display a message on the locked devices’ screen that directs anyone who finds the device to call your main office number to return it.  And in the event the device is not returned, you can then remotely wipe the handheld, erasing all data, contacts, phone calls, etc. and rendering the device useless.

Full control over critical/confidential information and Internet access.

If you want your employees to be able to surf the internet but not use Yahoo! Messenger for example, you can set those restrictions on a BES.  If you want to log all incoming and outgoing SMS messages for legal or medical (HIPPA) requirements, you can do that with a BES.

Which solution is right for me and my company?

The two main considerations when deciding between using either the BIS or BES are security/control and cost. Will your company utilize the added features of a BES? Do you need the extra security? Would your productivity increase with the BES? There are many questions to consider.

For some companies, security is just too important to allow their Blackberries to operate freely on the open internet, which means that the Blackberry Internet Service is out of the question.

But if you employ a Blackberry Enterprise Server your devices will have a secure and closed connection to the server because the server is on your network, not on the internet.  The only way that data from a BES could be compromised would be if an attacker were to first gain access through your corporate network.

If your company already has its own file server, mail server, and web server, the BES is likely the solution for you.

Cost Consideration

Both the BIS and BES require a corresponding data plan from your wireless provider.  The costs for both are nearly identical at anywhere from $35 to $50 per month, per device, depending on your carrier. 

But if you decide your company needs a BES you will have the additional costs of both a server to run the BES software and Client Access Licenses (CALs) for each user. 

The type of server and cost of software and CALs can vary greatly depending on the number of users.  If you are in the market for a Blackberry solution, please contact us for more cost information, including a free consultation.

Finding Your Solution

In the end, there are many considerations when it comes to choosing the right Blackberry system for your company.

The BIS server is a good choice for a small company with basic communication needs.  The setup is minimal, however, the reliability and security of the Blackberry Internet Service is far inferior to a BES.  If you have a small operation with few users and don’t have your own mail server, a Blackberry Internet Service will serve your needs.

On the other hand, a Blackberry Enterprise Server provides complete control and manageability.  It is secure, flexible, scalable and gives you control of virtually every aspect of your devices. 

Either direction you choose, we can help you decide which route is best for your business while answering your questions and addressing your needs. We can help you make an informed decisions based on what is best for your organization, and we can help you deploy the solution in a cost effective manner.

We even have a Blackberry Certified Systems Administrator on staff that can answer any questions you may have.

Please contact us today for more information and even a free consultation.

 

More About the Author

Will Lyles

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