By Seth Fitzgerald / CIO Today. Updated May 27, 2014.
BlackBerry has released additional details about its more secure BBM Protected messaging service that was originally introduced during Mobile World Congress in February. BBM Protected, like many secure messaging apps, will be encrypted, but BlackBerry will be taking that type of security even further than most. Rather than just encrypting a conversation, each message that BBM Protected processes will have its own key, making it far more difficult for someone to steal and decode an entire message string.
BBM Protected will be part of the coming eBBM suite of products that BlackBerry is releasing solely for its enterprise customers. Two videos have appeared on CrackBerry's YouTube channel from the recent BlackBerry Experience event in Washington, D.C., showing how the service can be set up by IT admins and how regular users can take advantage of the security features.
Improving Something Good
While there have been many messaging applications available for smartphones, BBM has consistently been one of the most popular across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, and BlackBerry. With 85 millions users each month and 65 percent of those who use it everyday, adding new security features to BBM means that thousands of people with corporate BlackBerry accounts will benefit.
For many years, BBM and the BlackBerry platform itself were viewed as the best option for business users. While that has changed over recent years, adding new enterprise security features to the software could help BlackBerry regain some of its lost popularity.
Although BBM is not nearly as popular today as other messaging applications like WhatsApp, it could end up dominating the secure messaging industry since enterprises will have yet another reason to switch to BlackBerry or, in some cases, back to BlackBerry. If organizations find the service useful and are willing to pay extra for access to the enterprise security features, BlackBerry may be able to increase usage of the BBM app and boost one of its major revenue streams.
Under the control of former CEO Thorsten Heins, BlackBerry had begun to focus heavily on consumer devices but with relatively unsuccessful software and hardware product lines, the company was failing. Since then, CEO John Chen has been working to turn the company around, and is doing so with a greater focus on enterprise customers who are still interested in BlackBerry products and tend to pay more.
BBM Protected is the company's first part of the eBBM suite, which will eventually encompass a range of products that are meant solely for enterprise customers. By growing the enterprise side of BlackBerry, Chen should be able to attract new users and also turn current enterprise customers into evangelists. That's something that BlackBerry has had difficulty doing in recent years, prior to Chen's promotion to CEO.
While BBM Protected will not be offered as a consumer product, a company spokesperson tells us that BlackBerry will continue to serve its non-enterprise customers by building out the functionality of BBM for its 85 million active monthly users around the world.