Research In Motion is getting all of its ducks in a row ahead of its BlackBerry 10 announcement later this month. It has refreshed and renamed its app store, BlackBerry World, attained FIPS 140-2 certification for BB 10 and released a technical preview of BB 10 for enterprises and government. RIM is now releasing what is likely to be the last domino in the chain with an update of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10. 

The BlackBerry Enterprise Server is the spine that RIM built its robust enterprise business on over the last decade. When times were bleakest, BES was likely the savior of RIM in the enterprise and government spaces. The BES 10 upgrade integrates many specific features related to BlackBerry 10. 

  • BlackBerry Balance – The ability to keep work data and personal data separate on employees BlackBerry 10 and PlayBook devices
  • “Behind the firewall” – Secure access to corporate email and connectivity to applications and data
  • BlackBerry World For Work – Corporate application front for BlackBerry apps in the enterprise
  • New management controls
  • Support for iOS and Android

Breaking Down BES 10

When you break it down to its constituent parts, BES 10 is not fundamentally different from RIM’s Mobile Fusion product announced at the end of 2011. Mobile Fusion, which was officially released in Spring 2012, brought the capability to manage iOS and Android devices from the BES environment.

“BES 10 is all about solving the needs of the mobile enterprise,” Jeff Holleran, senior director of enterprise product management at RIM said in a video accompanying the BES 10 announcement. “As we’ve looked at the trends in the industry today, we’ve got end users bringing their own devices into an organization. As an end user bring a different device in, that organization wants to be able to support that device no matter what the manufacturer is.”

BES 10 software is available for upgrade (along with a 60-day free trial) through RIM’s website. BES 10 has already received FIPS 140-2 certification, which once again shows that RIM is working behind the curve for the launch of its products. FIPS certification often takes between four and six months through the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Most products seeking FIPS certification are released to the enterprise and consumer market first, then given to NIST for review. The timing shows that RIM was ready with most of the technology stack that will encompass the full BlackBerry 10 launch in the middle of 2012. 

RIM’s core BES product has come under fire from competition over recent years as the “bring your own device” trend of employees bringing their own smartphones to work has given birth to a robust mobile device and application management (MDM/MAM) industry. Samsung, Google (through Motorola’s 3LM), IBM, SAP and a host of startups have all come calling to take a piece of the BES market share. Samsung in particular would love to close in on RIM’s enterprise space and has partnered with a long list of top companies in the enterprise security space such as BoxTone, Good Technology, Fiberlink Communications, Symantec, VMWare and others.  

Is your organization still using the BlackBerry Enterprise Server? Do you plan to upgrade to BES 10? Let us know in the comments.