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BlackBerry and Samsung strategic partnership to boost enterprise security

17 Nov 2014

BlackBerry has announced a strategic partnership with Samsung Electronics to provide a highly secure mobility solution for Android.

The partnership will integrate Samsung’s Knox-powered Galaxy smartphones and tablets with the BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12 (BES12) server. Knox is Samsung’s proprietary security system that it uses for mobile devices marketed to enterprise and government customers, while BES12 is BlackBerry’s cross-platform Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution.

"BlackBerry and Samsung's creation of an integrated enterprise solution for Android makes sense," says Chris Behringer, Bloomberg head of enterprise mobility. "Security is a top priority for us, and this combined offering provides a new versatile option to the marketplace."

While BlackBerry and Samsung are considered competitors in the smartphone market, the partnership looks to be taking on an even bigger partnership – Apple’s ‘exclusive’ partnership with IBM.

With KNOX, Samsung has created a set of Android devices capable of safeguarding enterprise data with multiple layers of hardware - and software - based protection. BlackBerry brings to the partnership a cross-platform enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution and a highly secure network infrastructure. Working together, the companies can offer enterprises a new and highly secure mobility option.

Options are critical for organisations looking to meet all their business and security needs. A global study released today found that 76 percent of people in regulated industries say that the risk of legal liability and costly lawsuits will increase unless organisations make a concerted effort to adopt a comprehensive enterprise mobility management strategy.

Samsung has struggled to make its Android-based devices more appealing to security-minded enterprise and government users. Android’s reputation as a malware magnet may dampen the appeal of Samsung’s mobile devices for enterprise users.

In contrast, BlackBerry has a well-established presence in the mobile enterprise market due to the company’s longstanding emphasis on operating system security.

"We share the goal to provide enterprises with the most secure mobility solutions through this partnership with BlackBerry," says Injong Rhee, senior vice president of KNOX Business Group, Samsung Electronics. "Samsung KNOX is focused on delivering secure mobility solutions to enterprises and, combined with BES12, we will offer more options for customers that need enhanced levels of security on Android devices."

"BlackBerry has developed a very close partnership with Samsung and we're committed to deepening the interaction between our engineering and product development teams for the long-term," says John Sims, president of global enterprise services, BlackBerry. "It is a natural progression in our path to providing our customers with more alternatives to meet their evolving mobile needs. Samsung KNOX offers a number of hardware and software security features and our partnership allows us to tightly integrate these capabilities with BES12."

Availability is expected in early 2015. Samsung will resell BES12 to joint customers and BlackBerry will offer KNOX support as part of the Gold family of BES12 subscriptions. Pricing will be announced upon availability.

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