Dec 18 2012

Don’t Call It a Comeback: BlackBerry Secures a New Government Pilot

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency will test BlackBerry 10.

BlackBerry built its business on a strong foundation of government users in Washington, D.C. While its once loyal base has slowly moved on, the BlackBerry isn’t done just yet. In January, the latest operating system, known simply as BlackBerry 10, will be released, and it doesn’t contain a single line of code from legacy operating systems. It’s a much-needed change for the customers who have remained faithful, and it may be the brand’s last chance to salvage what was once a mobile empire. To jump-start the new initiative, parent company Research in Motion (RIM) has already cleared the OS with Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS), the standard for cryptographic security.

Additionally, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) has agreed to use the new software in a pilot program. The new operating system and RIM’s relationship with the federal government could prove to be the company’s saving grace. In addition to bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, many agencies now provide their employees with iOS or Android smartphones and tablets. If successful, this move could reintroduce BlackBerry as a real competitor of Apple and Google.

Ever an organization of extremely security conscious agencies, the U.S. federal government has long preferred BlackBerries over any other choice. The combination of security and communications in conjunction with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server gave RIM unique capabilities to serve the federal government in a way that no other mobile device maker could.

The pilot program by ICE and other government agencies could well end up being very important for the future of RIM and the success of BlackBerry 10. Many large enterprises and top government contractors look towards what the federal government is doing to secure its mobile devices when making decisions on what devices they will roll out to their employees. While there are several enterprise-grade security certifications, FIPS is seen as a standard-bearer in mobile security.

Read Why RIM Absolutely Must Seed BlackBerry 10 To The Federal Government on ReadWrite.

Along with the BlackBerry 10 operating system, ICE will use BlackBerry’s Enterprise Service 10 mobile device management software. The success or failure of this software for the IT workers deploying will have equally vital repercussions for RIM.

Can BlackBerry be competitive again? Let us know what you think in the Comments section below.