Speakers’ Corner: Loss of innovative and secure BlackBerry devices leaves void yet to be filled


Teleware head of product management Daniel Hensby gives his views on the loss of BlackBerry in the B2B channel

BlackBerry was once one of the most innovative and prominent smartphone vendors in the world. Its USP being its secure communications and mobility.

However, after failing to keep up with the growing competition, as of May 2017, the number of global BlackBerry subscribers fell to around 11 million.

BlackBerry has always prided itself on security. Hence why many businesses still rely on BlackBerry to host their enterprise communications.

However, some versions of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) are now end of life. This has meant businesses have had to look elsewhere for their mobile communications.

But when businesses change enterprise server from BES to iOS, for example, the information stored is lost. Businesses are unable to recover their employee’s communications.

This has become a major issue for those who have been using the BES because they no longer have a way of archiving SMS.

They may continue to use BlackBerry, but the recording of SMS has gone as this used to be done by the BES. Business users have been slowly migrating away from BlackBerry in recent years after realising, from a user perspective, iPhone and Android are better.

This has also been driven by the growth in secure downloadable apps and the rise of smartphone ownership and with that the rise in ‘bring your own device’ or BYOD which as the name suggests, allows users to use their own devices.

Businesses that allowed BYOD found they could make significant savings in not having to purchase so much hardware. However, this took away any control businesses had to capture and archive employees’ communications on mobile devices.

Security and compliance back to the top of the agenda

With incoming directives in financial services in 2018 – such as MiFID II – compliance and IT teams will need to work together and determine whether they have adequate systems in place to implement the required procedures for the directive.

MiFID II requires all communication to be stored for seven years. From January 3, it will become essential for firms in this market to monitor all relevant employee communications.

Firms could find themselves in hot water with the regulator if they are unable to, on demand, provide evidence of communications that have taken place with clients across all forms of communication.

Personal devices are now prominent in all areas of business. This presents a control issue for organisations faced with MiFID II compliance.

Unique numbers

Many argue that BYOD policies will be incompatible with MiFID II. To actively demonstrate compliance, businesses have two options: Cloud-based mobile technology, allows businesses to provide employees with one number that is unique to them, rather than to the device itself.

It means businesses that allow BYOD can guarantee MiFID II compliance by recording business communications taking place on employees’ personal devices. Calls made using an employee’s personal number are not recorded, striking the ideal balance between employee privacy and MiFID II compliance.

Business SIM cards

Businesses can also consider replacing the SIM card in an employee’s mobile phone with a call recording enabled SIM. The SIM will allow all inbound and outbound calls and SMS to be automatically recorded and archived.

In line with directives such as MiFID II. Either way, these options can provide some of the security and compliance functionality that has been lost in the decline of BlackBerry.