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BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0: Four things IT needs to know

Al Sacco | Feb. 23, 2012
BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion's (RIM) first entry into the fiercely competitive tablet market, the PlayBook, wasn't exactly well-received by the masses when it was released last April.

2) BlackBerry Mobile Fusion Security and BlackBerry Balance

As stated above, PlayBook tablets do not connect to BES software, and as such, they cannot take advantage of the security safeguards in BES. But that doesn't mean that IT managers can't securely manage PlayBooks thanks to BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and RIM's BlackBerry Balance technology, which effectively separates personal user data from "work" or corporate data stored on or accessed via PlayBook.

And the secure, corporate sections of the BlackBerry PlayBook fully support hardware encryption, so organizations that require this feature will be able to secure and employ PlayBooks in the enterprise.

The relationship between the personal and secure, corporate "silos" within the BlackBerry is rather complicated, so I won't get into too much detail here. But to simplify, the corporate silo secures data via XTS-AES-256 encryption along a security record that includes 512-bit random salt and several attributes of the file, according to BerryReview.com. The security record is then encrypted using another 512-bit random domain key. The process is similar for BlackBerry Bridge data which is isolated into its own perimeter and encrypted with XTS-AES-256 encryption. Unfortunately, the PlayBook does not encrypt users' personal data, but corporate data is protected.

RIM's BlackBerry Balance technology comes into play when certain applications or services access data stored in both the corporate and personal silos. Balance lets admins access these apps and wipe associated corporate-related data without, in most cases, affecting personal data. Again, this is a simplification, but you can pop over to RIM's 68-page PDF on the subject if you want more details.

3) New Version of BlackBerry Bridge App for PlayBook 2.0

Along with the PlayBook software, RIM also released an update for its associated BlackBerry Bridge smartphone app. (The latest version is 2.0.0.25.) But why would you want to continue to use Bridge, which for the past year has been the only way to get corporate mail on PlayBooks, if you have native e-mail and PIM apps?

For one, users can employ their smartphones' cellular data connections to access the Web and use select PlayBook applications when connected to their handhelds via Bridge, when Wi-Fi is not available or reliable. (Visit RIM's site for details on which apps and services work over Bridge and which ones require a separate Internet connection.)

The latest version of Bridge also offers a number of cool new features for PlayBook OS 2.0, including the Remote Control option.

Remote Control in PlayBook 2.0 lets users employ the BlackBerry Bridge app to remotely control their PlayBook tablets using BlackBerry smartphones. The feature could be particularly handy while PlayBooks are connected to monitors or TVs and users are away from the PlayBook, to scroll through music or fast forward through a video, etc. And you can even use your BlackBerry smartphone's keyboard to type in messages and documents on your BlackBerry PlayBook.

 

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