RIM Introduces BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express

Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry smartphones, announces a version of its Enterprise Server aimed at cost-conscious businesses.

Wireless solutions specialist and BlackBerry creator Research In Motion introduced BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express, free server software that wirelessly and securely synchronizes BlackBerry smartphones with Microsoft Exchange or Windows Small Business Server.

RIM said Enterprise Server Express software will be provided free of charge to address two key market opportunities.

First, the company argues free software offers economical advantages to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that desire the security and manageability of BlackBerry Enterprise Server but don't require all of its advanced features. Second, the free software provides a cost-effective solution that enables IT departments to meet the growing demand from employees to connect their personal BlackBerry smartphones to their work e-mail.

Enterprise Server Express works with Microsoft Exchange 2010, 2007 and 2003, and Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2008 and 2003 to provide users with secure, push-based, wireless access to e-mail, calendar, contacts, notes and tasks, as well as other business applications and enterprise systems behind the firewall. RIM noted the new server software utilizes the same security architecture found in BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

With Enterprise Server Express connected to Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft Windows Small Business Server, BlackBerry smartphone users will be able to wirelessly synchronize their e-mail, calendar, contacts, notes and tasks; manage e-mail folders; search e-mail on the mail server remotely; book meetings and appointments; check availability and forward calendar attachments; set an out-of-office reply; edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files using Documents To Go; access files stored on the company network; and use mobile applications to access business systems behind the firewall.

"Today we are announcing an exciting new offering that further expands the market opportunity for the BlackBerry platform," said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO of RIM. "In a marketplace where smartphones are becoming ubiquitous, BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express [provides] a cost-effective solution that allows companies of all sizes to support enterprise-grade mobile connectivity for all employees without compromising security or manageability."

For IT administrators, Enterprise Server Express offers the ability to run on the same physical or virtual server as the Microsoft mail server or on its own server. BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express is also certified for use with VMware ESX. The software provides more than 35 IT controls and policies, including the ability to remotely wipe a smartphone and enforce and reset passwords. Finally, the Web-based interface allows remote administration and makes it easier to install the software, connect BlackBerry smartphones and apply usage policies, the company argued.