UPDATE 1-BlackBerry's new service wins key clearance from U.S. Defense agency

Wed Aug 6, 2014 11:22am EDT
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(Adds details on approval, background, share price)

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO Aug 6 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd said on Wednesday its Android and iOS device-management service has won a key security clearance from the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

The company said the DISA clearance will allow its customers in various U.S. Department of Defense agencies to begin to use its BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10 system to manage and secure devices powered by Google Inc's Android operating system and Apple Inc's iOS software.

BlackBerry launched the service to manage rival devices on its BES system a year ago, as part of a move to help it sell high-margin services to its large clients even if many, or all, their workers use smartphones made by competitors.

The new feature, dubbed Secure Work Space, is managed through BES 10, a new back-end system launched at the start of 2013 that allows BlackBerry's clients to control mobile devices on their internal networks.

The decision to service non-BlackBerry devices is part of the company's move to reinvent itself as its own devices have waned in popularity.

BlackBerry intends to remain a competitor in the smartphone business, but it is also pivoting to build on core strengths in areas like mobile data security and mobile device management, as part of a move to boost revenues and return to profitability.

BlackBerry said the Security Technical Implementation Guide approval, or STIG approval, from DISA provides further confidence for those government agencies considering a more open mobile environment, as it secures data both while in-transit and on the devices.   Continued...