BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 5.0.3 Expected This Week: 9 Key Features
With BlackBerry administrators and corporate smartphone users in mind, CIO.com's Al Sacco breaks down the most valuable features in the soon to be released BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 5.0 Service Pack 3.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) is expected to release a major update to its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) for Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Domino this week that will add a variety of valuable new smartphone- and mobile-device management features.
Official release notes on a beta BES 5.0 Service Pack 3 (SP3), a.k.a., BES 5.0.3., were leaked on the Web in October 2010, so the new features packed within the BES update aren’t necessarily a surprise. But many BlackBerry administrators have been anxiously awaiting the release so they could take advantage of the enhancements.
It’s unclear when exactly BES 5.0.3 will become widely available, but RIM said in January to expect the update “very, very soon.” And an insider source suggests that the release could come today.
What follows is a list of some of the most notable new features in BES 5.0.3, for BlackBerry administrators and RIM smartphone users.
Notable BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 5.0.3 Features and Enhancements
One extremely noteworthy addition in BES 5.0.3 will be support for BlackBerry Balance, a service that creates “dual personas” on corporate BlackBerry users’ smartphones–one for work-related information and another for users’ personal information and applications.
BlackBerry Balance lets users download personal apps and employ consumer services without compromising potentially sensitive enterprise data. And BlackBerry Balance is particularly well suited for organizations that support or use employee-owned smartphones, since the enterprise section of the device can be wiped clean at any time without affecting users’ personal data. (Read more on BlackBerry Balance, and see on-device screen shots, here.)
BES 5.0.3 also adds support for Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 R2 and Lync Server 2010, features many BES admins with Microsoft deployments have long desired.
Support for S/MIME and PGP encrypted attachments in BES 5.0.3 makes sending and receiving attachments via BlackBerry more secure, and added security is always welcomed by most BES admins.
Assigning Wi-Fi profiles to individual users in past BES versions could be tedious, so the new BES 5.0.3 support for setting Wi-Fi attributes via groups is a valuable enhancement. BES 5.0.3 also supports group additions of VPN profiles.
This BES update supports “sortable columns” within the administration console for easier navigation and user management
The BlackBerry MDS Integration Service (MDS-IS) is now end-of-life, and the BES 5.0.3 setup application removes MDS-IS when you upgrade.
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.