Mobile Device Makers Vie to Replace BlackBerry as Enterprise Standard

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2014-04-13 Print this article Print

Gartner's Dulaney and co-author Heather Keltz concluded their report by recommending that businesses "revisit" their relationship with BlackBerry, update their strategy every three months, and further determine the purchasing and support process changes that will need to be made to "accommodate Apple."

Samsung Android devices were suggested as an alternative, and so were "lower-cost Windows Phone devices for enterprise-supplied needs."

BlackBerry still retains its reputation as being the most secure option for use in the enterprise.

"BlackBerry is still the gold standard. We know that to be true—on device encryption, the transfer of data ... it's all there," Kevin Burden, director of Mobility at research firm Strategy Analytics, told eWEEK.

"I remember [BlackBerry founder and former CEO Mike] Lazaridis saying, in a defensive way, that he couldn't understand how customers who were so adamant about security were letting the iPhone in, especially with identity theft running rampant," Burden continued.

"Is good-enough [security] enough? I think it has been for quite some time. I don't think any enterprise will admit it. ... They'll always say that it's an extremely high priority. But the reality is, they're adopting less-secure solutions."

The BYOD trend is partly the cause, but there's also a trend among IT departments, said Burden.

"Why are they adopting a fragmented OS like Android if security is really important? They pay a lot of lip service, but what they really want is a good user experience," he explained. "IT departments want to be seen as progressive … they are starting to be a little more protective of their futures. They don't want to be seen as gatekeepers anymore. They want to give users what they're asking for. So even though Android is something of an insecure platform, they're bringing a lot of Android in."

Jan Dawson, principal analyst and founder of Jackdaw Research, agrees that no one company will replace BlackBerry, and that Apple and Samsung will get the lion's share of BlackBerry's lost business simply because consumers are now doing the buying, not IT, and those two companies rule the consumer space.

"Many companies are in a sort of limbo right now between abandoning the command-and-control model for enterprise mobile devices and figuring out how to manage the new world of BYOD," said Dawson.

While companies are still as conscious as ever about sound security, they're struggling to implement it around a much more diverse fleet of mobile devices, Dawson continued—very nearly repeating verbatim the comments made by Good CEO Christy Wyatt in a Feb. 23 press release announcing Good's purchase of mobile services management company BoxTone.

Together, Wyatt added, the companies will be able to deliver "a high level of security ... and support on par with other mission-critical systems."

BlackBerry CEO Chen, in a Feb. 27 blog post, called Good "not good enough" and challenged it to evolve beyond mobile device management (MDM).

"There are always industries—financial services and certain government departments above all—that are particularly security conscious, and they're going to continue to demand more than just the basic security offered by vendors other than BlackBerry out of the box. There's a huge opportunity here for Good, AirWatch—now VMware—and others to help provide that additional layer of security around Android and iOS devices," said Dawson.

"But for many other companies, the sort of security provided by Apple and Samsung will be sufficient."


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