In an effort to allow organizations to self-manage their BlackBerry (News - Alert) deployments in the cloud, smartphone maker Research In Motion has rolled out an open beta for its BlackBerry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft (News - Alert) Office 365 -- a new RIM-hostedE service for mid-sized businesses and enterprises.
The Waterloo, Ont.-based company introduced its free cloud-based service for Office 365 users in more than 30 countries.
Alan Panezic (News - Alert), vice president at Research In Motion, said BlackBerry Business Cloud is a cost-effective way for organizations to access Microsoft Corp.’s Office 365 software.
“BlackBerry Business Cloud Services is an easy and cost-effective way for businesses and government agencies to extend Microsoft Office 365 to BlackBerry smartphones and manage the deployment in the cloud,” Panezic said in a company statement. “We have been working together with Microsoft and select customers through an early access program and we are pleased to now launch an open beta for the service.”
Company officials said key features of the hosted Exchange product include:
· Access to Microsoft Exchange Online e-mail, calendar and organizer data from a BlackBerry smartphone;
· BlackBerry Balance technology, which presents a unified view of work and personal content on a BlackBerry smartphone while keeping the content separate and secure;
· A Web-based console for IT administrators to provision, manage and secure BlackBerry smartphones from anywhere; and
· Online access to employee self-service smartphone security functions, allowing users to reset a device password or remotely lock or wipe a device in the event of loss or theft.
RIM officials said that managed service providers, systems integrators, carriers, resellers and other partners can also use the cloud service to manage BlackBerry deployments on behalf of their customers.
Microsoft Office 365 customers can sign up for the BlackBerry Business Cloud Services beta at www.blackberry.com/beta/businesscloud. Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TMCnet, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf