RIM BlackBerry Smart Card Reader Gets Security Makeover
BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) plans to soon release an enhanced version of its BlackBerry Smart Card Reader, which the company says will simplify and improve the ways organizations provide secure access to corporate computers and other sensitive systems.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
Research In Motion (RIM) has been serving up new BlackBerry smartphones like French fries at a small-town fast-food joint in recent days, but its next new product doesn’t come with a QWERTY keyboard or a blinking new-message LED. Today, RIM announced an updated version of its BlackBerry Smart Card Reader, a small thin-plastic security card reader that attaches to a lanyard and employs Bluetooth to grants users’ proximity-based access to specific machines and systems.
We talked about all the obvious stuff; the iPhone; the future of mobile applications; enterprise smartphone management. But the subject Lazaridis most wanted to discuss was the company’s BlackBerry Smart Card Reader.
The new version, which is expected to become publicly available some time in September, adds a variety of valuable new features and functionality including an enhanced “sleeker” design; support for stronger Bluetooth pairing PINs with new character support; more security options for BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) administrators; and it works with a wider range of smart cards out of the box.
Perhaps most notably, the new BlackBerry Smart Card Reader can be used as a standalone security safeguard, even if organizations don’t currently use smart cards. For example, organizations can set corporate smartphones to automatically lock when they travel out of range of corresponding BlackBerry Smart Card Readers, though this feature only works with devices running BlackBerry Device OS v5.0 or higher, according to RIM.
The new BlackBerry Smart Card Reader is currently being shown off at the LandWarNet 2009 Conference this week in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and RIM plans to widely release it next month.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.