Enterprise communication has been the traditional forte of Research-in-Motion, with no one less than President Barack Obama swearing by the reliability of his BlackBerry phone for secure communications. But with the prevalence of Android and iOS, and with the popularity of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) setups in the workplace, RIM has found its market share dwindling in its key western markets.
But the worry among the enterprise IT community is that these platforms may not be as secure as RIM’s. For one, the more open nature of Android makes it susceptible to malware, hacking and even carelessness on the part of the user. The same goes for iOS, although with tighter control, due to the tighter approval process that the ecosystem employs.
But this might just be about to change, with an effort by Samsung called SAFE — the Samsung Approved for Enterprise effort by today’s leading smartphone maker (at least in terms of volume). We earlier wrote about SAFE and its potential benefits, to wit:
- Support for group policies
- Enhanced encryption
- Enhanced Microsoft Exchange support
- Support for enterprise-grade VPN and mobile device management (MDM) platforms.
Samsung is aware that fragmentation and security are among the biggest concerns of enterprise users. After its June 2012 launch in the U.S., Samsung has started rolling out SAFE globally, with Europe as the first stop.
The program will include the SAFE Platform itself, the SAFE Partner Program and SAFE Quality Assurance, which will include support for corporate-grade functionalities like secure email, on-device encryption, VPN and MDM.
Samsung’s B2B alliance division vice president Jae Shin highlighted that SAFE will provide a clear standard for enterprise-grade communication using the Android platform. “SAFE provides clear security features. It allows users, IT departments and app developers to work to a common standard.”
Watch out RIM
Aside from SAFE, Samsung has also started rolling out its Safe2Switch program, which will help clients in trading in their old platforms and devices to SAFE-compatible ones.
Meanwhile, RIM’s fate is hanging in the balance. With its upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform set for 2013 launch, it will be up to RIM and its partners in the BlackBerry ecosystem whether it can remain competitive in the light of efforts like SAFE. RIM would have to really convince IT departments, CIOs and CTOs to stick with BlackBerry, or else they might find themselves being edged out even further, not only in the consumer space but the enterprise sector.