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BlackBerry adds BBM encryption to shore up enterprise support

BlackBerry Z30
Sarah Tew

BlackBerry is beefing up security on its BlackBerry Messenger software in an attempt to hold on to some of its core enterprise customers.

The company announced Monday that BBM Protected, a secure enterprise-messaging tool within its eBBM suite, is now available. BBM is a popular instant-messaging application used by BlackBerry owners that runs over the company’s BlackBerry Enterprise Servers.

The news of this new feature comes as BlackBerry struggles to stay alive. The company has been losing market share for years now as it faces stiff competition from Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems. In an effort to combat its losses, the company has shifted its focus away from consumers and toward maintaining relationships with its core business customers, especially those in big regulated industries and government agencies.

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The BBM Protected software is designed to appeal to these customers. This is especially important for BlackBerry customers in regulated industries, such as banking, healthcare, law firms, and others, because it ensures that mobile IM is fully protected, the company said.

“Security-conscious organizations are caught between a rock and a hard place today when it comes to secure IM” Jeffrey Gadway, head of product and brand marketing for BBM, said in a blog post. “Many consumer IM apps don’t meet the security needs of IT while the enterprise IM apps deployed by IT leave end users seeking more utility and a better mobile experience. No secure IM apps have managed to meet the needs of both IT and end users – until now.”

The new BBM Protected software, makes that service even more secure by encrypting the message between the sender and receiver. The company claims it is the only mobile messaging service to use the FIPs 140-2 validated cryptographic library, which is a US government computer security standard used to accredit cryptographic modules.

The new service will be available for all BlackBerry smartphones running its BlackBerry 6+ and BlackBerry 10 operating systems.

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