The Tide Turning – E-Week Praise BlackBerry Balance

blackberry10hand

And they used a BB10 picture not an old Bold!!

Further evidence of the tide turning comes this week in the form of E Week, the Enterprise Tech site who have done a pretty good write up on BlackBerry Balance.

Now, you and I may be aware of what a great feature Balance is for enterprise users (and I know there were plenty of us last year disappointed there wasn’t a non-BES version we could use in a personal situation), but with the media shutdown in 2013 on BlackBerry 10 it’s great to see someone extolling the virtues of what, at the end of the day, is a pretty unique feature in terms of BYOD.

For those not in the know, Balance allows business users to effectively ‘split’ the phone into 2 sections, work and personal. And never the twain shall meet:

In effect, BlackBerry Balance gives your smartphone a dual personality that’s easy to use but keeps work data and personal data totally separate. What’s remarkable is that the Balance process is so transparent that you only realize it’s there when you try to do something that violates security rules.

Balance creates a secure container on a BlackBerry 10 smartphone that’s provisioned by the IT department. The provisioning can include standard BlackBerry apps, white listed apps and apps that can use both the secure and unlocked sides of the device.

But most apps, including pretty much anything you can download from the Amazon App Store and through 1MobileMarket, will run only on the unlocked personal side of the device. Those apps can be downloaded and used, but they will never even be able to detect that the secure work side of the device exists.

Yes, Wayne, the author of this review is a proper clued up jounalist and knows all about the ability to run Android apps too! Smart man…

One useful feature of Balance is that you can control the ability to see both sides of the unified messaging. It can be provisioned so that it’s not possible to see both sides of the phone in unified messaging and users can also choose to hide work messages from the personal (unlocked) side of the device. This is handy if you’re trying to ignore your work email while you’re on vacation, for example, or if you don’t want to be distracted by personal messages while you’re working.

Despite the impenetrable wall between the work and personal sides of the device, switching between them requires only a choice on a pull down menu. Slide a menu down from the top of the screen and the choice appears. All you have to do is select it to change instantly. You can, however, set it so that a password is required to enter the work side of the device from the personal side.

I found the entire process of setting up and using Balance to be straightforward and uncomplicated. I also tried everything I could think of to get into the secure work side of the device in a way that an unauthorized user might.

Trying to get access through the USB port, using the SD card and cutting and pasting simply didn’t work. While the BlackBerry’s memory is accessible through the USB port so that you can use the device as you might a memory disk or external hard drive, the secure section of the device remained inaccessible.

Overall, BlackBerry Balance seems to be well thought-out and easy to use. The IT department retains control over the data on the work side of the device, and can wipe it as needed without affecting any personal information. Balance seems to be a quick and easy, yet very secure, method of protecting mobile data, and that’s something most companies need.

There’s much more to Wayne’s review as he goes into more technical details on how it works but it’s very refreshing to find someone speaking out on what should be, after all, pretty much a killer application for business and one that, on it’s own, should have had companies scurrying #BackToBlack instead of allowing people to wander around with those leaky Androids and iPhones.

Well done Wayne and E-Week!

Bigglybobblyboo

Bigglybobblyboo is a legend almost nowhere at all. He is a founder member of UTB and spends his spare time taking out his anger at the world with a fishfork and a spatula. He is also a Cribbage Master, having won 1 fight online as the other guy refused to turn up out of fear for his life.

  • razrrob

    Thanks Biggly!

    It’s finally happened- a snowball fight in Hell or a hockey game in Hell cos for a journalist to write a positive piece on BlackBerry, citing Facts, and using a current picture, surely Hell hath frozen over

  • Blackjack

    Balance us an amazing feature and why anyone would want BYOD with anything other than BlackBerry is just blindness. You want to carry two phones so you can have fitness apps at lunch time? Silly you. My only worry would be forgetting which mode I am in and accidentally doing something personal on the work side, but simply two different wallpapers would be a subtle reminder.

    • bungaboy

      Great point!

  • Blackjack

    The idea of leaving work at work and keeping work out of your personal life is also very appealing …

    • bungaboy

      Exactly!

  • jrohland

    Dismissing workers in the BYOD scenario is a worrisome affair. The company can try to use ActiveSync to clean off company content but there is no assurance they got it all. They can use ActiveSync to wipe the entire phone. If it works, they may be subject to a law suit for the loss of personal content. Why subject your enterprise to such risk when the answer is so simple?

  • Hey Biggs. Great find. I think this guy deserves a Pulitzer merely for using a picture depicting the current OS. My hat’s off to him for actually being correct and I learned some things about Balance that I didn’t know. Very impressive. Amazing actually. BBRY is so head and shoulders ahead of the competition in enterprise (and really for consumers too) in so many ways, it’s hard to stomach that we don’t have more handset market share in developed markets.

    But I know that’s changing and will really change when Chen focuses his marketing weapons on this issue.

  • Robert

    Why people continue to carry 2 devices is beyond me. Balance is the perfect solution for this. I’m glad to see its starting to get some well deserved credit in the media.

Top