BlackBerry gets vote of confidence from monitoring-software maker
SpectorSoft adds enterprise support for BlackBerry platform, but not Android or Apple iOS
By Ellen Messmer | Network World US | Published: 13:37, 16 January 2013
Monitoring-software vendor SpectorSoft has announced its first software support for BlackBerry in the enterprise.
"BlackBerry is very strong in certain places, like finance and government," says Nick Cavalancia, vice president of marketing at SpectorSoft, which has announced Spector 360 7.5, an employee-monitoring package for centralised recording and alerting about what employees do on their Windows PCs, Apple Macs, and now company-issued BlackBerry devices. "The BlackBerry is still in 90% of the Fortune 500. And we do believe BlackBerry is a secure mobile-device platform."
A recent study that Trend Micro did internally on mobile devices rated BlackBerry the most secure in comparison to Apple iOS or Google Android.
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However, the latest SpectorSoft monitoring software for the enterprise, which costs $110 per computer and $57 per BlackBerry device, can't do as much to track employee activity on the BlackBerry as on the PC or Mac due to constraints related to mobile-platform processing and bandwidth limit and costs.
For instance, although the SpectorSoft software could capture the entire record of virtually everything an employee might do on a computer via the monitoring-software agent, there is no SpectorSoft agent for the BlackBerry and the monitoring is limited to tasks that involve real-time monitoring and recording email, chat and call-record and duration via BlackBerry server integration. Spector 360 7.5 also doesn't support BlackBerry 10, which will be released at the end of the month.
But the software can be used for many purposes to watch what employees do with their BlackBerry devices. The software, which will capture emails and chat, can send alerts to IT managers if employees overstep agreed-upon uses of the BlackBerry. And it could monitor if employees appeared to be in touch with the employer's competitors, for instance, by analysing call records, said Cavalancia.
Cavalancia said SpectorSoft has had a stand-alone consumer edition of its software since 2010 for BlackBerry that was popular and became used by companies as well that SpectorSoft decided to develop an enterprise version to be integrated into its Spector 360 enterprise package.
There's also been a consumer version for Google Android since 2011 but SpectorSoft does not yet have any for the enterprise for central management of Android devices but is considering that for the future. Cavalancia said the Apple iOS platform technically doesn't appear suited for the SpectorSoft approach.
The advent of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend in enterprises is complicating things a lot in terms of monitoring, Cavalancia acknowledged. Some customers adopting BYOD policies are asking employees to sign acceptable-use policies related to personally owned mobile devices used for work to allow monitoring and the ability of the company to wipe it if need be.