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BlackBerry OS Achieves Coveted Government Security Clearance

RIM continues its recent hot streak with the announcement that BlackBerry 7 and BlackBerry 7.1 have achieved FIPS 140-2 certification.

Don’t nail the coffin shut on RIM just yet. Following a shakeup of executive leadership, and the launch of BlackBerry Cloud Service and Office 365 integration, RIM announced today that the BlackBerry 7 OS has received FIPS 140-2 certification.

Both the BlackBerry 7 and BlackBerry 7.1 operating systems have been awarded FIPS 140-2 certification by both the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States, as well as the Communications security Establishment Canada (CSEC) in Canada. The FIPS 140-2 certification is required under the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA), so government agencies and businesses that wish to work with those government agencies need accepted mobile devices.

Scott Totzke, Senior Vice President, BlackBerry Security at Research In Motion, proclaims, “With all of the latest BlackBerry smartphones and the PlayBook tablet certified under the FIPS program, government and security-conscious customers can deploy our entire range of products with confidence.”

FIPS 140-2 isn’t the only security accolade RIM has earned either. The BlackBerry 7 OS has also been awarded Common Criteria EAL4+ certification, and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet received FIPS 140-2 acceptance back in mid-2011.

Although BlackBerry mobile phones and the PlayBook tablet have been much maligned – frequently by me – this is a significant achievement worth highlighting. I don’t prefer BlackBerry devices, and I wouldn’t want one personally, but if I was an IT or security admin for an organization, RIM would still be my first choice as the default mobile platform.

Measured as a function of the entire mobile landscape, RIM has fallen precipitously from its once lofty perch of dominance. However, if you zoom in on the segment that comprises RIM’s real customer base -- businesses and government agencies -- the other mobile platforms lack the infrastructure, management, and security controls of BlackBerry.

It may still be a bit early to say that RIM has rebounded, or that it is not still in a precarious position. But, things like integrating with backend office productivity and communications platforms, and delivering a more secure mobile platform are the kinds of things that set RIM apart from rivals like Android and iOS.

If RIM continues down this path and focuses on its core audience, it may yet return to at least a shadow of its former glory.

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