Blackberry Enterprise Server Express (BESx)

Last month Blackberry released a much anticipated Express version of BES which is targets for Small and Medium Businesses just like the ones Apex supports. This provides all of the key features most of our clients are looking for a absolutely no licensing cost. Here is my quick review/comparison of both BES & Express; along with why I prefer Blackberry over the competition.

Blackberry Enterprise Server Express

  • 100% FREE for both the license and CALS; does not require a SQL Standard license
  • Support Exchange Server 2003/ 2007 and SBS 2003/2008
  • Supports up to 75 users when installed on the Exchange Server
  • Supports up to 2,000 users when installed on a dedicated server
  • Requires ONLY the Standard Data Plan (BIS) from the cell provider, and does not require the more expensive enterprise data plan
  • The biggest feature difference between BES and BES-Express is that there is a limit to 35 policies, versus 450+ policies for management
  • Missing features that we don’t typically use is high availability (multiple BES servers) and advanced monitoring

Here is a couple of reasons “I” to choose Blackberry over some of the competition:

  • More stable device platform (less reboots, hard restarts, application hangs)
  • Consumer priced devices are now available starting at $50 w/ contract
  • HIPPA, FIPS, 140-2 and Common Criteria certification
  • Full policy control across every device, such as security, over-the-air encryptions (AES/3DES), on-board and memory card encryption (AES), data compressed over-the-air, built-in S/MIME and PGP support, and remote wiping. (ActiveSync fully supports similar features with Windows Mobile devices, but support across other devices such as iPhones, there is limited or not supported)
  • Over 450 granular policy control such as limiting the ability to install applications, which can be applied in groups and in a layers fashion, similar to Group Policy
  • Deploy and manage enterprise applications to phones
  • Migrating users from old/lost device to a new device; rapid provisioning
  • Unified communication supporting VoIP via BES into the corporate PBX
  • Intranet access – providing secure access to internal only web resources without requiring them to be published to the WAN
  • BES Push technology delivers e-mail faster than ActiveSync
  • Built-in smartcard reader for 2-factor authentication
  • Automated remote backup of device data

New in Blackberry OS 5 and BES 5:

  • The ability to view other users calendars and schedule calendar events with multiple resources similar to Outlook.
  • The ability to view, search and edit remote files in remote Windows Network Shares or Desktops
  • Devices now have a friendlier interface with better messaging (e-mail and SMS) features