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BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Your BlackBerry PlayBook

BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) for your PlayBook is usually an extension of a corporate intranet (the private network maintained within a company or institution). The manager of a closed intranet can set all sorts of security, privacy, and productivity restrictions on the user’s access to e-mail and the outside world of the Internet.

The first (or last) stretch of communication is the link between your BlackBerry device and the cellular provider, and that data is encrypted in the same way BIS is. However, with BES the cellular provider doesn’t connect your PlayBook or your smartphone to the public Internet; instead, it routes the data to the company or institution that operates its own BES.

In a BES system, an IT (information technology) manager sets the controls and limits on the server. Your data travels in an encrypted form as a cellular signal, and then continues in a virtual closed tunnel to the intranet and the dedicated server.

There’s more to the BES system, too: an IT manager can install customized or specialized software on the server or push those apps out to run on BlackBerry phones or the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Without any James Bond–like interception, the only way for someone to read your mail or the data stream is to get inside your corporation or institution — or to steal your BlackBerry device. (And in a managed system, that purloined phone or tablet usually requires a password to operate. And the phone can be remotely wiped of its data, or be shut out of the BES stream once its absence is noted.)

And just as is the case with a cellular provider, a managed BES system can be set up to block access to certain websites. That’s right: your employer might insist that you use your BlackBerry device only for work-related purposes and make it impossible to watch sitcoms, play Angry Birds, or shop for shoes.

And so here, in a nutshell, is the reason RIM’s BlackBerry devices became so popular in corporations and institutions and even in the White House. More so than nearly any other portable cellular or data device, a BlackBerry can be locked down, buttoned up, and protected like a high-tech tank.

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