Blackberries are a cell phone, e-mail, calendaring, and communications device all-in-one. They deliver immediate access to corporate e-mail, and other communications. Since they are so versatile, they have developed a large following of users and have been affectionally nicknamed the Crackberry by devoted users. Besides being a great e-mail device, there are reasons that business has adopted Blackberries over other smartphones. Security is a big aspect. If a device is lost or stolen, with a Blackberry the device can be locked down, or even wiped remotely. Another feature important to business, is the ability to control access to internal Intranet sites, and file structures. With a Blackberry, there is 256 bit AES encryption between the device and the Blackberry server, so corporate IT departments do not mind allowing users to access internal documents and Intranet site on the device.Â
In the past, it was very expensive for a corporation to roll out a Blackberry Enterprise server. There were costs for each device along with the Server License, and an additional license for each device. To address this for the small business market, RIM (Research in Motion)released the Blackberry Professional server that allowed a free server license, and allowed for up to 30 users before a full Blackberry Enterprise Server was necessary. Â Recently though RIM released its most friendly server application to date for small to medium sized businesses.Â
The new server is called Blackberry Enterprise Express. It is an almost complete representation of the Blackberry Enterprise Server. It is free for the server license, and allows 75 users to be added without unit licenses if installed on the same server as Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Domino. In addition, it can be installed on a separate server from the primary mail server and have as many as 2000+ users and there are still no license fees for the server or the individual Blackberry devices. This is an incredible gift from RIM.Â
The Blackberry Enterprise Express offers almost all the same features as the full fledged BES. It still contains 256 bit encrypted data between the device and the server. It still allows administrators to lock down devices if they are lost or stolen. It still provides seamless e-mail and calendaring synchronization. In fact, the new server contains everything a small to medium sized business needs to provide enterprise level access to e-mail and other real-time data to its employees.
Some of the benefits to an IT administrator of using the new server, is the ability to add personal devices to your corporate enterprise server. In the past you had to have a specific data plan that allowed corporate access. The new design allows personal data plans to be added to the server. In addition, you can still allow users the ability to add their own software to a corporate device through Blackberry App world, or you can lock down that ability. Users can still use the Blackberry desktop manager to create passwords for their devices, and to download pictures and other information as well.
All-in-all I think the new Blackberry Enterprise Express Server is one of the best new, free, server applications added this year! It is a phenomenal product, is easy to install, and requires very little experience to set-it up and to administer. The Blackberry community is also very good, and will help you with any concerns you have.Â