RIM Exec on Mobile Malware and The Future of BlackBerry Security

At RIM's WES 2010 show, BlackBerry Security VP Scott Totzke talks mobile malware, why the BlackBerry platform is best suited to combat it and the smartphone security threat that keeps him up at night.

Tue, April 27, 2010

CIO — Scott Totzke knows mobile security.

Currently VP of BlackBerry security at Research In Motion (RIM) (RIM) and a RIM staffer for as long as the company has made smartphones, Totzke remembers when the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), RIM's main BlackBerry infrastructure component for corporations, had less than 50 IT policies for BlackBerry administrators to secure their organizations' smartphone deployments.

BlackBerry Bold 9700 with padlock on its display

Now with more than 500 security-related IT policies, BES is RIM's flagship enterprise product. And the evolution of BES is a fitting metaphor for the growth of the BlackBerry platform in general; with more and more organizations employing BES and BlackBerry smartphones in a wide variety of settings, RIM's security offerings needed to morph along with those organizations' individual needs. And they're still changing.

During his time with RIM, Totzke has also attended every one of the company's Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES) events, which started off as small niche, tech conferences but turned into what are now some of the largest enterprise-smartphone-related gatherings in the world.

Now in its ninth year, WES is where RIM unveils its latest and greatest. It's also where thousands of BlackBerry enthusiasts, consumers and business-users alike, gather to share knowledge, network and break bread.

I'm on the scene in Orlando for WES 2010 this week, and I was fortunate enough to have a sit-down with Totzke yesterday, during which we chatted about the current state mobile malware and the future of BlackBerry smartphones.

Security Edge

RIM's mobile platform is the most secure enterprise mobility option, Totzke says, because every product or service the company develops is built from the ground up with security in mind.

"Security is always a consideration from the start," he says, whereas Apple and other handset and/or mobile software makers may be adding security-related features to make products more enterprise friendly.

Totzke also cites the fact that BlackBerrys are mostly secure "right out of the box." Users don't need to install any third-party antivirus or other security software. And corporate users on a BES are immediately protected by their organizations' specific security settings.

"There's no one-size-fits-all in mobile security," Totzke says. So RIM offers its customers granular options via BES, so they can customize BlackBerry security to their own needs.

Whether it's the BlackBerry hardware, a device OS or the corporate management software, security is built-in, and this end-to-end approach gives RIM an advantage over competitors, according to Totzke.

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