Strong Security Raises BlackBerry SecuTablet Above Tablet Crowd

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-03-17
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Strong Security Raises BlackBerry SecuTablet Above Tablet Crowd
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    Strong Security Raises BlackBerry SecuTablet Above Tablet Crowd

    By Don Reisinger
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    This Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S
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    This Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S

    The BlackBerry SecuTablet will look familiar to tablet fans because it's a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5. Rather than get involved in the expensive and chancy business of developing its own hardware, BlackBerry decided that it would rely on Samsung's proven design and bundle its own security software and systems into the tablet. The move was likely a smart one for BlackBerry as it still needs to conserve cash as it tries to stay on the path to sustainable growth.
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    BlackBerry Partners With IBM on Security Features
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    BlackBerry Partners With IBM on Security Features

    BlackBerry has gotten much of the accolades surrounding the SecuTablet, but the company isn't the only company involved. IBM has partnered with BlackBerry and Samsung on the SecuTablet to enhance its security. According to the companies, IBM has provided the "secure app wrapping technology" to deliver better security. In addition, it'll work with the government sector to ensure their needs are met.
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    This Tablet Isn't for Consumers Who Want to Watch Cat Videos
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    This Tablet Isn't for Consumers Who Want to Watch Cat Videos

    Consumers interested in the SecuTablet should turn away now. BlackBerry and IBM have made clear that the slate is designed solely for the enterprise and for governments around the world. In fact, BlackBerry isn't even selling the product off-the-shelf, making it impossible for consumers to pick it up.
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    The Tablet Is Thanks to BlackBerry's SecuSmart Buy
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    The Tablet Is Thanks to BlackBerry's SecuSmart Buy

    Without SecuSmart's involvement in this, it would have been impossible for BlackBerry to make the SecuTablet happen. SecuSmart, which BlackBerry acquired in December, provides voice and data encryption technologies, as well as anti-eavesdropping solutions for government organizations. BlackBerry integrated many of the SecuSuite features into the SecuTablet to deliver a value to enterprise customers.
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    SecuTablet Works With End-to-End Data Encryption
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    SecuTablet Works With End-to-End Data Encryption

    One of the key selling points for the SecuTablet is that it's designed to allow companies and government organizations to access specialized applications without worry of where they are. The tablet's software, delivered by SecuSmart, delivers full end-to-end encryption, which means users can be outside the office network and still have access to important, confidential data.
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    The Security Pedigree Is Strong
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    The Security Pedigree Is Strong

    It's hard to find fault with the security pedigree of BlackBerry, IBM and SecuSmart. BlackBerry has one of the most powerful mobile security platforms out there with help from SecuSmart, which was founded in Germany and has worked with major government organizations, including the U.S. Department of Defense. IBM is no slouch either, providing a variety of security systems to the government sector. BlackBerry 10 smartphones were the first to be approved by NATO for classified communications up to a "restricted" level. From BlackBerry to SecuSmart to IBM, the companies involved in the SecuTablet understand data security.
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    Germany Will Provide a Proof-of-Concept
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    Germany Will Provide a Proof-of-Concept

    The German government will likely make or break the chances of the SecuTablet becoming a success. According to a March 14 press release, Germany's Federal Office for Information Security is evaluating the tablet for possible use in its "classified – for official use only" security rating. If the German government accepts the SecuTablet, there's no telling how many other government organizations could follow.
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    There's a Strict Firewall With Personal Applications
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    There's a Strict Firewall With Personal Applications

    Although BlackBerry made it abundantly clear that the SecuTablet is not designed for consumers, the company did say that the use of personal applications on the device would not put confidential data in harm's way. In fact, BlackBerry specifically said that using apps like Facebook, YouTube or WhatsApp won't compromise the tablet's security features.
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    Interestingly, There's No Talk of Samsung Knox
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    Interestingly, There's No Talk of Samsung Knox

    Although Samsung is providing the hardware, the company is nowhere to be found on the software side. Let's not forget that Samsung has its own security suite designed for corporate customers, called Knox. However, it doesn't appear that Knox made the cut for this bleeding-edge security tablet. For now, Knox seems incapable of matching BlackBerry and IBM on the security front.
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    This Is One Expensive Tablet
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    This Is One Expensive Tablet

    Don't expect to get the SecuTablet at a discount. Due to its high-end security features, the tablet will cost customers around $2,300 per unit. While that may seem quite expensive compared with an average tablet's $500 price tag, for the premium, customers are getting a solution that can handle just about any major security need. And IBM and BlackBerry are building that value into the price.
 

BlackBerry tried its luck in the tablet space years ago and failed—miserably. But that didn't deter BlackBerry from trying again by introducing a new tablet it's calling the SecuTablet. Built in connection with IBM, the SecuTablet is essentially a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 that comes with enhanced security features designed for the corporate world. BlackBerry, in other words, didn't take any chances spending its own precious cash creating its own tablet hardware. But it did develop a tablet software platform with IBM that it says will deliver the best of mobility and security in one small package. Enterprise users have always been BlackBerry's customers, and the company is counting on the SecuTablet's security features get them to take a look at this new tablet. The SecuTablet will have its work cut out for it, however. Apple's iPad is the current favorite of enterprise buyers, and there is no sign that the SecuTablet or any other tablet model is going to reverse that trend. What's worse, BlackBerry has been so far out of the tablet game that it might be difficult for the company to regain corporate trust. But these days companies in most industries are worried about network break-ins, data leaks and data theft. So the SecuTablet's security features could prove highly attractive to business users.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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