A few months back, I posted the first official details on RIM's upcoming BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) Service Pack 3 (SP3) update, and I asked a number of my BES administrator-sources for their opinions on the best new features and functionalities found in the upcoming BES update. (Read their responses here.) RIM in January announced more official details on BES 5.0.3 at a media/analyst event in Boston, and the company said the software should be available "very, very soon."
A couple of weeks later, I also posted information on one of the most significant additions to BES 5.0.3., "BlackBerry Balance," a.k.a., BlackBerry "Dual Persona," a brand new feature designed to help BlackBerry administrators separate and secure corporate information on employee-owned smartphones. (Check out a detailed breakdown of BlackBerry Balance, along with on-device screen shots, here.)
Today, I have some more interesting details to share about BES 5.0.3. and BlackBerry Balance, from leaked RIM BES 5.0.3 beta release notes.
We know that BlackBerry Balance will offer an "Enterprise-data-only device wipe" feature, to allow admins to securely wipe a BlackBerry and remove all corporate information without affecting the user's personal data—though admins will still be able to fully wipe a BlackBerry, if the need be.
According to the leaked document, admins will be able to wipe the following work-related data:
- Calendar entries
- Call history
- Call logs
- BlackBerry browser cache
- IT policy
- PIN encryption key
- Device transport key
- Work service books
However, users must be running a recent version of RIM's BlackBerry 6 mobile OS to have access to all of these features. From RIM:
This functionality requires a future release of BlackBerry OS 6. It is estimated that this support will be available in the following releases:
BlackBerry Torch 6.0.0 Maintenance Release 2*
BlackBerry Bold 9780 Maintenance Release 1*
BlackBerry 6 software for existing devices such as Bold 9700*
*Handheld support is forward looking and subject to change
It's difficult to tell which BlackBerry Torch 9800, Bold 9780/9700 software versions RIM is referencing, since it didn't include specific version numbers. So I asked the source who provided the information, and who has asked to remain nameless due to nondisclosure agreements with RIM.
BlackBerry OS 6.0.0 bundle 1477 or higher will generally be required for full BlackBerry Balance functionality on the admin side, according to the source. No separate handheld application is available to enable the full functionality, since the necessary additions are integrated into the mobile OS, the source says. And carriers are only starting to release these compatible updates, according to the source.
The leaked document also mentions a new preconfigured IT policy template for BlackBerry Balance, dubbed the "Individual-Liable Devices" policy. From RIM:
"You may choose to use the Individual-Liable Devices preconfigured IT policy to prevent BlackBerry device users from accessing organizer data from within social networking applications on their devices, while maintaining access to other messaging and calendar services, cut/copy/paste, and placing phone calls while the device is locked. This preconfigured IT policy also prevents forwarding or replying to a work message from a messaging service associated with BlackBerry Internet Service."
Finally, BES 5.0.3 will also offer new "proxy authentication support" features, but the software will no longer support BlackBerry Mobile Data Service (MDS) integration—"If you choose to upgrade from a prior version of BlackBerry Enterprise Server with MDS Integration Service installed, you must remove the MDS Integration Service component from your BlackBerry domain."