BlackBerry Z10 And Q10 Get US Department Of Defense Approval

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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BlackBerry 10 devices get one stop closer to being used in the Pentagon

The US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has given the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 using BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10) ‘authority to operate’ (ATO) on Department of Defense (DOS) networks.

To add to the acronyms, the US announcement spells out that BlackBerry is the first Mobile Device Management (MDM) provider to obtain an ATO.

The Pentagon gave approval for BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry Playbook and Samsung Knox-enabled devices to be used on DoD networks earlier this year.

BlackBerry security

PentagonHowever individual devices must go through testing approved by DISA , whose security technical implementation guide (STIG) standards must be met before they can be used.

DISA can now start to develop the infrastructure to support BlackBerry 10 smartphones by this autumn, with the intention of supporting 30,000 devices by the end of the year. BlackBerry has welcomed the development, saying it demonstrates that its mobile operating system meets the most stringent security requirements of the DoD.

“Being the first smartphones to be supported on US Department of Defense networks further establishes BlackBerry’s proven and validated security model,” said Scott Totzke, senior vice president of the BlackBerry Security Group. “With foreign entities – governmental and criminal – ramping up attacks on electronic communications and information systems, BlackBerry provides government agencies with a proven partner that follows top-to-bottom security protocols.”

Mobile deployments at the DoD have traditionally been dominated by BlackBerry, but the Pentagon wants to be able to use the latest communications technology without being restricted to a single vendor, and is especially interested in Android devices.

However the news that BlackBerry devices are the first to receive approval will be a boost to the struggling Canadian manufacturer, which has seen its share of the smartphone market decline in recent years.

Hopes for a recovery have been pinned on BlackBerry 10, but the new platform has failed to improve the company’s short term fortunes leading to a £55 million loss in the last quarter.

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