updated 01:43 pm EDT, Mon June 16, 2014
Security-minded BBM Protected adds extra layer of encryption on messaging
BlackBerry is attempting to reassert itself in the business messaging market, by offering a version of its service with enhanced protection designed for regulated industries, such as government agencies or financial services. BBM Protected is the first launch in its eBBM suite of apps, using a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic library to secure the message between both participants, on top of the company's existing BBM security model.
BBM Protected users must share a secret passphrase with each other for authentication in order to start an encrypted chat, with the encryption key being managed by the enterprise paying for the service, rather than BlackBerry itself. This security applies to multi-person chats and BBM Groups between BBM Protected users as well, and can also be used to contact BBM Protected users within another company.
The service is said to be relatively painless for IT departments already using BES, requiring no extra hardware nor any extra control panels to learn. Users will also be able to message both BBM Protected and normal BBM users from the same app, allowing for the use of a single contact list.
BBM Protected is being offered to enterprise customers with BBOS devices running on BES 5, as well as customers with BlackBerry 10 smartphones, such as the BlackBerry Z3, and BES 10-related licenses. Later phases of the rollout this fall will see support for enterprise customers with BlackBerry 10 smartphones in "Work/Personal Balance mode" added, as well as organizations using the app version on iOS and Android.