A BlackBerry executive, John Sims, has BlackBerry now in war with Samsung over security issues. Who did not see this coming, especially now that BlackBerry, according to new CEO, John Chen, is looking for ways to survive with its BES software and with Samsung starting to reach out to the enterprise and government with their own new security software, KNOX. BlackBerry's BES is actually a server type software that the businesses use on their own hardware, whereas Samsung's KNOX is software built into the smartphone itself. BlackBerry's new Enterprise Services chief, John Sims, must be taking a page out of T-Mobile's CEO John Legere's book, as he came out swinging at Samsung's KNOX security solution. He starts out reminding us of the obvious – that cyber attackers and criminals are at an all-time high and that a solid security system needs to be in place. However the rest on the blog is salesmanship – that nobody is better than BlackBerry when it comes to securing your data, in fact he says:
"…industries that require the most stringent security needs can trust that there's nothing more secure than a BlackBerry device managed by a BlackBerry Enterprise Server – period. And that's why we are the only enterprise mobility management vendor and handset maker that has received the Department of Defense "Authority to Operate" certification."
I am not sure what he means when he claims that BlackBerry is the only handset maker that has received the DOD's okay – they have also given some Samsung devices approval for use earlier this year, but that is for another article. He points out that, "researchers at Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev announced that they discovered a major vulnerability that allows a hacker to easily intercept data of a Knox-enabled Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone." Samsung traced this back to a vulnerability with Android, not the KNOX program itself, but Sims calls into question if KNOX is safe enough for enterprise use while Samsung is "still battle testing its enterprise platform and fixing security bugs." This is on the heels of his CEO Chen telling us that BES needs to sell the fact that it will work with all types of devices:
"You could be an iPhone customer, and also a BlackBerry customer. You could be an Android customer, and also a BlackBerry customer. It's not mutually exclusive. I think that's an important key message of the company going forward."
I guess in the meantime, BlackBerry will take jabs at Samsung's KNOX – it is new and there will be issues that need to be resolved. Blackberry has been the king of enterprise security with BES for many years and trust will take time. It will be interesting moving forward to see what changes are made to BES – it is quite clear that BES will not drive smartphone sales – so BlackBerry will have to advertise that it "plays nice" with other devices if they expect to profit from BES in the future.