Choice and Control - BlackBerry Bridge and BlackBerry Balance

BlackBerry Balance
By Joseph Holder on 17 Jun 2011 01:32 pm EDT

BlackBerry Balance should really be called BlackBerry You-Shall-Not-Pass or BlackBerry Wall, but I imagine Balance looks a bit better in the marketing materials. BlackBerry Balance isn't an application, it's an idea. Your Work life and Personal life can coexist on the same device, but they must always remain separate. Corporate data is sensitive data, no matter the size or operation of a company. Letting that data roam free amongst personal applications could be a disaster.

BlackBerry Balance is the wall that allows corporate data to be used on personal devices. This means a company can be secure in letting people bring their BlackBerry smartphone in "off the street" and use that phone on the secure corporate network. Running on a Blance'd smartphone or tablet, applications know when they're using work data; they won't allow it to be transferred to personal applications. Copy and Pasting work data into a tweet? Not with BlackBerry Balance you're not.

Balance demonstrates the high level of control, flexibility, and security offered to BlackBerry Enterprise Server administrators, executives, and users. BlackBerry Bridge, BlackBerry Balance, and the Enterprise Catalog of Applications in App World give network administrators choice without compromising security.

BlackBerry Bridge

BlackBerry Bridge 

BlackBerry Bridge is a secure window allowing the BlackBerry PlayBook to view information coming from the smartphone. Many might see this application as a crutch, providing temporary access to messages, calendars, and the like. BlackBerry Bridge isn't going anywhere; it and native applications will exist side-by-side on the PlayBook. Bridge represents a choice for BES Admins.

The very first time a smartphone and PlayBook are connected the two devices work together to create the BlackBerry Bridge pairing key. If the two devices don't agree on the key or if the device goes out of Bluetooth range, Bridge'd applications are immediately locked. If the smartphone is connected to a BES, Bridge'd apps inherit all of the rules from the BES; and all of the data displayed on the PlayBook is considered work data.

Work data is stored in a separate, encrypted file system using the BlackBerry Bridge work key to encrypt and decrypt data that is cached or stored for use on the tablet.  This is not a separate area of the file system, the work file system is completely separate from the personal file system.  The BlackBerry Bridge work key is not stored in persistent memory on the PlayBook; the key is only stored on the smartphone. If the PlayBook is stolen or lost, work data remains encrypted as the key to decrypt it is not stored on the tablet.

BlackBerry Balance on the PlayBook

BlackBerry Balance should be BlackBerry Wall

Right now, this very minute, an administrator running BES 4.0 and higher has two options when it comes to BlackBerry Bridge. One: prevent Bridge from running on the smartphone, Two: permit it. Applications Bridge'd to the tablet inherit the same security rules as the BES connected phone. Cashed data on the tablet is encrypted with the BlackBerry Bridge work key.

In the near future, Research In Motion will release the PlayBook Administration Service as a free-add-on to BES 5.0; administrators will have the option to directly manage the PlayBook. BlackBerry Balance on the PlayBook, is a big part of that. Admins will be able to push data, apps, and security rules to the business side of the tablet while ignoring the personal side.  

As with BlackBerry Bridge, work data is stored in a completely separate file system and encrypted.  Work data and Personal data do not mix on a Balance'd PlayBook.  At any time, the BES administrator can destroy business data and disassociate the device from the enterprise network without affecting the personal side of the device.


All about Choice

BlackBerry Choice 

Research In Motion has always striven to give its customers the ability to choose - both at the enterprise and consumer levels. With a wide variety of form-factors, the BlackBerry appeals to many different people and usage scenarios. With BlackBerry Bridge and BlackBerry Balance, administrators have new choices when it comes to devices on the network. Personal smartphones can be added to the network without compromising security.

Admininstrators will soon have even more choices when it comes to deploying the BlackBerry PlayBook on their corporate networks. BlackBerry Bridge represents a simple and effortless expansion of the secure corporate network on to the tablet. With no intervention required, the corporate user's tablet can take advantage of the existing security rules on the smartphone to display information without compromising security. Or, with one small change to the BES policies, the administrator can prevent Bridge from being used on BES-connected devices.

PlayBook Administration Services and BlackBerry Balance will add an additional option of control for BES connected tablets. Even provisioning an individual user's personal BlackBerry PlayBook will be permitted with BlackBerry Balance and the security features built in to that system. In the end, it is up to the network administrator to determine how devices will connect to and use the corporate network. Bridge and Balance simply allow that administrator more control than ever before.

Reader comments

Choice and Control - BlackBerry Bridge and BlackBerry Balance


When I read articles like this, I realise that RIM are capable of joined up thinking after all.

They have such great ideas like this... they just cant keep up with the consumer side it seems... Could it be good they find a partner for this?

People are worried about the state of RIM and how its not measuring up to the other SmartPhones on the market. What people out there have to realize is that Black Berry's were originally made for the business sector not for 'FUN' use. Its just n the recent years that they have become more 'FUN'. While iPhones have been in the fun market since the get go. Lets see Apple make a business line of phones out of their fun phones and see how people respond to it.... This article shows what BBs are made for and what they rock at!

RIM could help matters by increasing the onboard storage space for their devices but having a seamless transition between work and personal functions is what's key. The competition has to partition off sections of the device and users have to log-in to the apps to get access to the data. Ease of management is what will keep the BES system around for the time when companies start hiring again.

The storage space is going to be opened up eventually. I think that the onboard memory thing is a limitation of the current OS. I think QNX will allow things to be stored on the SD card.

Solid products, good concepts, and great software. This is great idea and another reason I'm regreting my personal IPhone and getting a BB for work (at a minimum. ) So I guess "I get it" as do most of the posters on this site. But people shouldn't have to "figure it out," and saying "people don't get" is really saying "BB can't articulate what their products are for."

I think the author is 100% right, this will be viewed as BLACKBERY WALL, a WALL blocking things on BB, FORCING you into a construct, LIMITING you. BALANCE = Compromise, giving up something, etc, etc...

...or they could sell it as "You're not just about work, and neither should your phone. BB Balance: one device, 2 personalities, all of you"

I was wondering if RIM has any program to facilitate corporations to adopt some of the productivity apps that developers implement. As we all know, we need to have more apps for BlackBerry devices. And in comparison, there are lots of apps for iPhone and Android devices. That's one of the reasons consumers are shifting towards those devices. Since many of the BlackBerry smartphones are corporate phones, there are restrictions on installing any app on those devices. As a result, developers could lose interest in developing apps for BB. I believe that there is a very good email plugin app, Email ++,, which might be very useful for power email users. However, it's not easy to get corporate users to install this app or any other app for that matter. RIM needs to have a program (if not already) of certifying apps, so that corporations would be willing to get those apps installed on their users' devices.

I hope the BB Balance would mitigate the issue of corporate users not being able to install apps on their smartphones.