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Is Your BES Set Up Wrong? Most Are….

by Lisa A Duke

05/01/2008

A recent article on the Tech Herald uncovered the scary truth – most BlackBerry Enterprise Servers (BES) are set up wrong. And these gaps can leave your organization at risk.

“It’s actually not surprising,” said Lisa Duke, CEO of Simplified Technology Solutions, a BlackBerry Alliance Member. “Very few companies are taking the time to train and certify their people or to bring in someone who is certified to verify their environment is set up correctly. Indeed we see some organizations that install an entire BES in the DMZ. This is the absolute worst thing you can do from a security standpoint if you are using Exchange as your messaging platform.”

The lack of training is an issue most Exchange Administrators should raise themselves. “These administrators may have Microsoft certification and years of experience, but they don’t have certification and expertise in BES – and they usually don’t point that out,” says Duke. “However, it’s not entirely their fault. When your boss comes in and hands you the software and says, ‘make this work’, most IT people are going to try to make it work,” she adds, “even if they have no clue what they are doing.”

Another common installation issue occurs when BES is installed on a server that already has a MS SQL Server in place. “This is the most common issue we see. Exchange Administrators have little reason to understand the workings of SQL Server, so the install comes to a grinding halt,” Duke explains.

Additionally, many organizations don’t know that security policies can be pushed down to devices automatically by the BES. This is another area where training of the administrators can help.

Duke recommends these steps when installing a BES server:

  • Talk to a local BlackBerry Alliance Member. Even if working with a consultant isn’t in the budget, many consultants will share with you the common pitfalls as a way to prove their competence and build rapport, especially if their organization is interested in building relationships for the long haul.
  • Conduct Research. In addition to getting some tips before installation begins, you will have someone to call if the install does go wrong. You don’t want to spend your time doing this research while the CEO’s new toy is down.
  • Check skill sets. Be sure the consultant you engage has a broad enough skill set in-house to address security issues. By doing a bit of research up front, organizations can avoid bigger issues down the road.

See the official BlackBerry knowledge base article for DMZ installations on the BlackBerry support site.

Should your organization require certified resources to help with any aspect of your design, development, testing, training or implementation of a BlackBerry roll out please don't hesitate to contact STS.



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