Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Disjointed Blackberry Thoughts

Much hue and cry of late over the future of RIM and its Blackberry Smartphone.

I've always had a Love/Huh?  relationship with the Blackberry.  I love the Blackberry as a corporate user.  Combined with the Blackberry Enterprise Server, a corporation gets unparalleled secure mobile access to its internal messaging platforms, files, and other data sources.  The important word there is, SECURE.  Nothing beats RIM's product lines. Period.  Full Stop.

Even if you want to ignore security (a lot of people do, including people that should know better), for corporate access, again the Blackberry is very hard to beat. Yes the iPhone does e-mail. But there is more to e-mail then sending and receiving. Can you query the corporate e-mail directory for phone numbers and other contact details? No. Can you access the shared public folders? No. Can you synchronize with files on corporate file servers? Again, that's a NO.  But I can get cool apps that let me use my iPhone as a level or tell me when my friends are at the same restaurant!  Woo!

I huh? the blackberry as a personal device. Don't get me wrong, I love my corporate Blackberry for how it makes my job easier. But if I wanted a personal device?  Eh. The market opens up for me there. What makes a Blackberry a powerhouse is the Blackberry Enterprise Server in my corporate back office. As a home user, that server is unavailable to me.  That levels the playing field quite a bit.

So the Blackberry may lose "market share" amongst home users. But if you are a company that gives half a thought to security, you'll want to go RIM all the way. (Aside, I was just at a e-mail archiving seminar with other corporate e-mail administrators. One mentioned that they discovered that the Apple iPhone breaks Microsoft Exchange e-mail security. They found that the iPhone used SSL encryption for the sign-on portion of e-mail access. After that, it breaks the SSL encryption and sends all of the e-mails over the air unencrypted. I haven't been able to independently confirm this, but this illustrates that security issues are often ignored for gee-whiz flash and excitement.)

Segue. No that I'm on twitter, I find that I'm a rare twitterite communicating under a pseudonym. Which has caused me to wonder if I'm just overly paranoid, and that I should start using my real name. Nahh. I'm staying anonymous. The problem with making information available to the public is that the public can use the information you reveal. And not everyone is a trustworthy friend.

Humans are curious creatures. When information we do not want revealed is publicized, we are outraged. But security is a two-way street. You have to demand it to get it. If you can't get the security you demand, don't use the product.  There is no compromising there.  (Incidentally, this is one of the reasons I am not on Facebook.) If you adopt a cavalier, "it won't happen to me" attitude, don't get upset when it does happen to you.

Again with RIM, we saw this with the announcement that certain countries will ban Blackberry's because they can't hack them and read people's e-mail. So what happened? RIM's stock dropped. What should be trumpeted from the rooftops, is now seen as a negative. I'm sorry, people's priorities are screwed up. When profit trumps security, you have a problem. That's short-term thinking and it will bite you in the long run.

(And it appears appeasement is the order of the day. "In a bid to avert a ban in India, Research In Motion has permitted local security agencies to monitor its BlackBerry services." As of right now, if I'm ever in India, my Blackberry won't go with me. I won't use any electronic device there. Which probably means now I'll never voluntarily go to India. Or any other country that believes in unrestricted access to all communications. At a minimum you should need a warrant damn it!

It seems that society is in a rush to make public everything about their private lives.  Security and privacy is a quaint notion from a bygone area.  Don't be offended as I do not agree.  I just don't trust you.  Nothing personal.

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