May 20, 2009

An Overview of BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0

By Andy Spilling The BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) as we are all aware is specifically designed to create a secure, central link between a company's communications software, applications, wireless network and BlackBerry device. The server integrates with existing infrastructure, which may include collaboration and messaging software, calendar and contact information, wireless intranet and internet access, all of which aim to provide BlackBerry device users with mobile access to an organisations resources. From a security perspective the BES supports AES, this is an encryption standard adopted by the U.S government and the Triple DES encryption standard used within the electronic payment industry, it is so named because it applies the data encryption standard (DES) cipher algorithm three times to each data block, this provides a relatively simple method of increasing the key size of DES to protect against brute force attacks, without requiring a completely new block cipher algorithm. These two security standards protect and ensure the integrity of the wireless data this is transmitted between the BES components and BlackBerry devices. BES administrators can in addition select from more than 450 IT policy rules that can be configured to control the features of the BlackBerry device used within the organisations mobile environment. The BES supports several optional components and configurations to meet an organisations requirement. The BlackBerry Collaboration Service integrates with supported third-party instant messaging (IM) servers to permit users access an organisations IM system from their BlackBerry devices using the BlackBerry IM client. The BlackBerry MDS Integration Service supports bespoke application development and distribution. The BES and BES components are fully configurable to support high availability and to enhance the consistency and reliability of the BlackBerry environment. The BES, BlackBerry devices and user accounts can be managed using the BlackBerry Administration Service (BAS), a web application that is accessible from any computer that can access the computer that hosts the BAS. The BAS can be used to manage the BlackBerry Domain, which consists of multiple BES instances that use a single BlackBerry Configuration Database. I have detailed below a selection of new features and benefits available in BES 5.0: As mentioned above from an IT administrator's perspective one of the key benefits is in providing the ability to manage the BlackBerry environment remotely using the BlackBerry Administration Service which provides web-based access to centralised management tools. In addition the administrator can customise the BES to permit a 'tier-2' BES administrator different levels of access to server functions, this will free up management time for the key BES administrator. Devices, applications and IT policy updates can now be scheduled to minimise the impact on end users and business operation and the deployment of hundreds of applications to thousands of users with enhanced job management, throttling and scheduling is now very realistic. It is possible to monitor the overall health of the BlackBerry environment with scalable monitoring capabilities combined with improved reporting, alerting and troubleshooting all help to minimise potential issues before they occur. Colour code monitoring provides a simple unified view of information to easily identify server or user related issues. The end user also benefits in a number of ways of BES 5.0, providing a greater control of desktop features on smartphones, this helps bridge the gap between employees and the business tools required while away from the office. Some of these features and benefits include, organising emails that require a follow-up with the use of flags and they do in Microsoft Outlook, users can where permitted access network drives using the remote file explorer directly from their device, open and forward calendar appointments including attachments. It is now possible to view and attach files stored in the device folders to email messages. Email folders can now be managed better by adding, renaming, deleting and moving as required. I am now in my 11th year working within the mobile voice and data communications industry. Having successfully worked with and advised local, SME, key corporate and government sector organisation around the UK and Europe.

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