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The new BlackBerry Enterprise Annual (BES) absolution goes all-in on adaptable accessory management. But does it accept what it takes to accomplish in a awash MDM market?
BES 12 is BlackBerry’s latest abundance of its administering software, commutual its axis from device-specific email router to adaptable accessory administering suite. Like Microsoft jumping from Windows 8 to Windows 10, Blackberry is demography its middleware beeline from BES 10 to BES 12, with abutment for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10 and bequest BlackBerry devices.
One antecedent note: accession is a lot simpler than antecedent BES editions we’ve used. Instead of assorted servers, there’s aloof one installer — and one BES install with one web-based UI. That’s a big change from antecedent releases, with the new installer demography architecture cues from BlackBerry 10 and the accepted BlackBerry website. You’ll still charge to install Java on your server, so accomplish abiding you’re appliance JRE 1.7.
Older versions of BES had installers that adapted assorted reboots and installed several altered apps with altered user interfaces. That all changes with BES 12, with one app, a simplified installer, and a accustomed web-centric user interface.
Images: Simon Bisson/Tech Pro Research
While it’s accessible to advancement absolute BES 10 installs to BES 12, we autonomous for a apple-pie install on our analysis system. It’s recommended that you actualize a annual annual with the adapted privileges afore ambience up BES 12, authoritative abiding it’s able to assignment with the SQL Server or SQL Server Express database you’re using. BlackBerry provides a address apparatus to analysis your server is accessible for use, and we’d acclaim active it to ensure your arrangement is configured for admission to BlackBerry’s arrangement — abnormally if you’re appliance proxy server or a standalone BlackBerry router.
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BlackBerry aims to accomplish BES12 accessible to use, with quick admission to key tutorials already you’ve logged in for the aboriginal time.
There’s no best the charge for assorted reboots during setup, and already installed aggregate is handled through a browser, with shortcuts installed as allotment of the accession process. If you’re appliance Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2 it’s a acceptable abstraction to pin the articulation to the administering aperture to the alpha awning and to the taskbar. The aboriginal time you log in, you’ll charge to set a countersign (the absence admin/password is a little on the afraid side).
BES 12 brings aback aerial availability support, appliance SQL Server’s AlwaysOn appearance to assignment as allotment of a Windows Failover Cluster. You’ll charge to set up your failover array afore installing BES 12, abutting to the SQL Server Availability Group arrangement name. Assorted BES abstract can be affiliated to the aforementioned BES database, giving you added resilience.
There’s one alternating catechism with every absolution of BES, and with every beginning install: why can’t BlackBerry install a web server affidavit with BES that’s in the Windows assurance chain? Although you can install the affidavit in the Windows affidavit store, it’s still annoying to accept to bang through a ‘Do you appetite to appointment this untrusted website’ chat until you’ve stored the BlackBerry affidavit correctly.
BES still uses SRP keys to handle affiliation to the BlackBerry network, and you’ll charge to admission these aback you log assimilate BES 12 for the aboriginal time. This is a abundant simpler action than in antecedent versions, area keys had to be entered in a abstracted application. BlackBerry does accommodate a apparatus for simplifying loading accessory CALs, although you can amount these via the administering tool.
To use BES 12 to administer iOS accessories you’ll charge to set up a advance affiliation via Apple’s servers to bear administering abstracts to iPhones and iPads. A astrologer guides you through the action — starting with downloading the certificates you charge from BlackBerry.
You’ll abutting charge to configure BES 12 to assignment with added platforms. Managing iOS requires configuring the Apple iOS advance service, and BES 12 will accomplish the adapted affidavit request. Follow the wizard’s instructions to upload this to the Apple affidavit signing service, which will bear aback a affidavit to install in BES — accessible to administer iOS devices.
The BlackBerry apple has changed. BES acclimated to be a apparatus for blame email to devices, with some administering appearance on the side. The latest absolution turns that on its head: in best cases you’re aloof managing accessories with BES 12, not email. That agency you’ll charge to configure admission to a mail server to accelerate enrolment and added letters to your device, appliance BES 12’s SMTP support. Although chargeless SMTP servers for Windows are accessible to appear by, you’ll apparently appetite to affix BES 12 to your absolute email infrastructure. Configure BES to use an adapted email character for messages, and accomplish abiding the annual is set up in your mail server.
BES 12, like BES 10, uses absolute mail protocols to handle mail — either acquisition mail through its defended affiliation (if you’re appliance a BlackBerry 10 device) or absolution accomplish their own admission to servers. One new affection in BES 12 lets you administer admission to Exchange servers appliance BlackBerry’s gatekeeping service. This allows you to block admission to Exchange email for accessories that don’t accommodated your aegis or acquiescence policies, whitelisting accessories that are accustomed to admission mail. You can alone do this with an on-premises Exchange server, as it requires ambience up alien administering roles.
We were admiring to acquisition that it’s a lot easier to affix BES 12 to an Active Agenda server; all you charge to do to set up a affiliation is add a area admin user name (and password), the name of a domain, and BES 12 does the rest. If you don’t use AD, there’s the advantage to assignment with LDAP directories — or to acceptation users and groups via CSV files.
BES 12 simplifies the action of abutting to an Active Directory. In BES 12’s Settings aloof accept Company Agenda and ample capacity of an ambassador annual to accomplish the connection.
However there are still some idiosyncrasies, and we did accept problems appliance BES 12 with both AD and Office 365 on a BlackBerry 10 accessory aback the two casework don’t accept a accepted agenda — and area the two use altered passwords. BES 12 will use the AD countersign over and aloft the user password, alike aback the user enters their Office 365 countersign as allotment of the BlackBerry allotment process. There is a workaround, so if you’ve got abstracted bounded and billow ADs, BlackBerry recommends ambience up users as locally managed in BES. Alternatively for abate installations, you can bear custom email profiles for anniversary user.
The affection of BES 12, like beforehand BES releases, is its accumulating of behavior and profiles. With abutment for four altered brands of device, you won’t be able to ascendancy aggregate on every accessory — but you will be able to put in abode a set of behavior that will awning best key scenarios on your managed devices. Accessory capabilities are managed through a accustomed set of IT behavior — behavior that go aback to the acceptable old canicule of the BlackBerry Enterprise Service. BES administrators will be able to bound accredit profiles to users and groups, although you’ll charge to accede abacus accessory groups for managing capabilities on non-Blackberry devices.
The affection of BES 12 is its accumulating of behavior and profiles. You can use these to tune devices, administer email and wi-fi, and ensure aegis compliance. It’s accessible to use: accept the affection you appetite to use and again actualize an adapted action or profile.
If you’ve acclimated an beforehand adaptation of BES, again you’ll be accustomed with BlackBerry’s IT policies. They’re how you ascendancy accessories — ambience aegis appearance and authoritative accessory policies. BES 12 keeps them at the affection of accessory management, appliance them to ascendancy specific accessory types and classes of user. You can accredit behavior to users and to groups.
If you’re managing accessories added than BlackBerrys, users will charge to download the adapted administering app from an app abundance afore registering with the service. There’s alike a administering app for Microsoft’s Windows Phone.
BES12 provides accoutrement for managing the apps on users’ devices, either through BlackBerry OS’s defended Workplace on BlackBerry devices, or appliance whitelists and blacklists on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. There’s additionally abutment for blame internally-developed apps to managed devices, although you charge to ensure that you accept the appropriate aegis certificates in place. If you’re appliance Apple’s Volume Purchase Program you can articulation a VPP annual to a BES 12 system, so your users can admission accumulated apps aback they charge them — and of advance they’re deleted and licenses are recycled aback users leave BES management.
BES 12’s app administering accoutrement let you whitelist and arrange apps to users. You can baddest apps from app stores, or upload your own internally developed apps — with abutment for BlackBerry, iOS, Android and Windows Phone app amalgamation formats.
Keeping clue of managed accessories can be hard, so BES 12 gives you a dashboard for a quick overview of your agile status, with graphs of key information. From the dashboard you can see accessories that are out of compliance, the best accepted managed apps installed, and the platforms currently in use. You can again assignment into alone devices, with the adeptness to get abundant advice on managed accessories — and to accomplish abundant letters on specific devices. The BES 12 users and accessories appearance can be bound filtered, authoritative it easier to clue bottomward a accessory and administer new administering profiles.
The advertisement accoutrement in BES 12 can accord you a abysmal attending at users’ accessories — including capabilities, blast numbers, and the accepted operator. It’s advice that’ll accomplish a advice desk’s activity a lot easier.
With BES 12, there’s one abode to administer your accessories and users, and affluence of filters to advice you chase for specific accessories and users. As fleets of managed and BYOD accessories get larger, you’re activity to acquisition those filters actual useful.
As always, the catchy bit is licensing. BES 12 takes a per-device access to licensing, with Silver and Gold levels. Silver gives you basal accessory administering and aegis tools, while Gold gives you abutment for BlackBerry’s defended workspace accoutrement on iOS and Android, with added administering appearance for BlackBerry devices. In convenance you’re acceptable to use Silver licenses for BYOD users, and Gold for managed users who charge added aegis — your C-level administering team, for example. Tiered licensing makes a lot of faculty for acceptable BlackBerry users, but ability not accomplish bread-and-butter faculty aback compared to the per-user licensing models acclimated by added MDM packages.
There’s a lot of affidavit on the BlackBerry abutment site, and you’re activity to charge to apprehend best of it if you appetite to get the best from a BES 12 accession — abnormally if you’re managing added than aloof BlackBerry devices. Perhaps the best advantageous is a cast assuming accessory abutment for key features, including abstracts encryption, alien clean and action management. It’s not hasty that BlackBerry 10 has the best accurate features, with Android a abutting second.
One affair to note: you’ll charge to affix BES 12 to a SMTP server if you appetite it to accelerate activation letters to users. Although best sites are activity to be appliance it with on-premises email servers, you’ll charge to set up an SMTP aperture if you’re alive with billow servers — or see if your billow annual offers a SMTP aperture option. We were able to use our analysis BES 12 deployment with our Office 365 account’s SMTP gateway, but analysis the affidavit afore you set up a connection.
Activation letters can be beatific from the administering tool, or via the BES self-service portal. We did acquisition the allotment bulletin a little ambagious — it independent the user name and passwords bare to actuate a device, but there was additionally a bcp:// URL that appeared to be an activation link. That’s not the case: you actuate via the accoutrement congenital into the BlackBerry 10 OS or with downloaded iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps. We’d acclaim appliance the congenital accoutrement to actualize your own custom activation mails, with abstracted mails for anniversary accessory type.
There’s a lot to like here, with abundant advance axiomatic back BES 10. However the inconsistencies and casual complexities backbite from the all-embracing brightness of the platform. We’d like to see bigger enrolment tools, and added abutment for billow email and agenda casework — appearance that BlackBerry will charge to add as organisations drift those functions to Google’s and Microsoft’s billow platforms. BlackBerry’s latest administering apartment compares able-bodied with added MDM accoutrement and services, and it’s acutely the alone band-aid for managing fleets of BlackBerry devices. It’s harder to absolve it aback alive with added platforms, abnormally aback key appearance on iOS and Android crave an added Assignment Space license, and aback abounding Windows Phone appearance aren’t supported.
BlackBerry 10 accessories are still BES’s candied spot, and managed accessories accept abstracted claimed and assignment spaces so assignment files can be deleted after affecting claimed data. You can bound see basal advice about a managed annual from the accessories email settings, with BES-managed settings greyed out.
BES 12 is an important absolution for BlackBerry, with its arch set of cross-device administering capabilities yet. However, the MDM bazaar is a awash one, area the basal economics of on-premises accessory administering are actuality challenged by cloud-hosted casework like Microsoft’s Intune. BlackBerry still has a lot of loyal users, and there’s absolutely a bazaar for BES 12’s acquiescence administering accoutrement in adapted industries and government. Although abounding absolute BES users are acceptable to upgrade, BlackBerry will accept added of a claiming bringing new users into the BES fold.
With a chargeless balloon available, BES 12 is absolutely able-bodied account a attending alongside its abounding competitors. The alone absolute catechism is, will companies that accept never acclimated BlackBerry accessories buy it as a MDM solution? It’s the new users that are activity to be the claiming for BlackBerry. That could be as a botheration as, while essentially redesigned, BES 12 still has a lot of its BlackBerry accessory heritage, authoritative it harder for new users to learn. Also, with blotchy cross-platform abutment that’s codicillary on apps, it’s harder to administer non-BlackBerry accessories to the aforementioned akin as BlackBerry’s own hardware.
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