A person uses the new Blackberry Z10 device at a Rogers store in Toronto. Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch
BlackBerry said on Thursday it will offer a solution to separate and secure work and personal data on mobile devices powered by Google Inc's Android platform and Apple Inc's iOS operating system.
The new offering, which will be available by the end of June, will be managed through BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, the platform that allows BlackBerry's corporate and government clients to manage devices using different operating systems on their networks.
The move will encourage its large customers to continue to use its services to manage devices on their networks, even as employees seek to support their personal devices on corporate networks, which could create security breaches.
BlackBerry is trying to regain ground in the ultra-competitive smartphone market, where it has ceded a lot of ground to rivals like Apple's iPhone, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's line of Galaxy devices and other devices powered by the Android operating system.
In a make-or-break move to regain market share and return to profit, BlackBerry introduced a new line of smartphones powered by its BlackBerry 10 operating system, earlier this year. The touch screen version, dubbed the Z10, is on sale in over 20 countries, while a device named the Q10 with a physical keyboard is set to be launched in April.
BlackBerry is offering the Balance feature on its new devices, which keeps corporate and personal data separate. The feature allows information technology departments to manage the corporate content on a device, while ensuring complete privacy for users, and lets them store and use personal apps and content on the device.
"With Secure Work Space for iOS and Android devices, we're extending as many of these (Balance) features as possible to other platforms," said David Smith, BlackBerry's head of mobile enterprise computing, in a statement.
BlackBerry's move comes just as Samsung, whose line of Galaxy devices have gained great popularity, attempts to make itself a more viable option for enterprise customers with security features such as Samsung Knox and SAFE, or Samsung for Enterprise.
BlackBerry said its secure work space offering also allows clients to save considerable effort and expense: They will not need to configure and manage expensive virtual private network (VPN) infrastructures that give the devices access to data and applications that reside behind corporate firewalls.
"Secure work space also offers the same end-to-end encryption for data in transit as we have offered on BlackBerry for many years, so there is no need for a VPN," Peter Devenyi, BlackBerry's head of enterprise software, said in an interview.