DISA approves BlackBerry Secure Work Space for iOS and Android

The Defense Information Systems Agency has given Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) approval to BlackBerry’s containerization solution for Apple and Android devices, the company announced.

The approval for Secure Work Space for iOS and Android means that Defense Department users can use iOS and Android devices managed through BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, in addition to using BlackBerry 10 devices. Secure Work Space had gained Federal Information Processing Standards 140-2 certification in March, when DISA also gave BlackBerry 10 a Full Operational Capability designation.

Secure Work Space allows for managed applications on smartphone and tablets, including email, calendar, browser and document viewing and editing, while keeping work and personal data separate. It requires authentication to access secure apps, extends AES 256-bit encryption to iOS and Android devices and prevents work data from being shared outside of Secure Work Space, according to BlackBerry.

Its approval could open the door for more multiplatform devices and, potentially, “bring your own device” programs. DOD to date has resisted BYOD, though the pace at which the practice has grown in business and some civilian agencies has made it seem inevitable at some point.

DOD currently has about 600,000 mobile-device users, primarily with government-issued BlackBerrys, along with some iOS and Android devices. But the Pentagon, in its Mobile Device Strategy of 2012 and Commercial Mobile Device Implementation Plan of 2013, has said all along it intends to support multiple platforms. The Army, for example, uses Samsung Galaxy Note II devices for its Nett Warrior program, and the Air Force said earlier this year it was going to replace 5,000 BlackBerrys with iOS devices.

Although BlackBerry 10 is the only platform yet to receive Full Operational Capability approval, DISA has awarded STIG approvals for five Samsung Galaxy devices embedded with the Knox security platform and Apple iOS 6 devices on unclassified networks.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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