A new whitepaper from AirWatch outlines the six steps businesses should take to ensure a successful migration away from BlackBerry to devices on iOS, Android or Windows platforms. The six steps are:
- Determine whether a cutover or a gradual migration makes the most sense.
- Integrate BES into AirWatch for reporting during the transition.
- Ensure a consistent security experience.
- Enable choice and a positive user experience.
- Host physical or virtual trade-in events where users can setup new smartphones.
- Avoid a major burden on IT during the transition.
The whitepaper tells the story of Sheffield Hallam University, whose IT team chose to gradually migrate away from BlackBerry devices and off of the BES management platform. The gradual process gave IT administrators a way to immediately begin advanced management of the other devices in their environment (The Vice Chancellor had been sporting an iPhone for some time).
But the true impetus for migration at Sheffield Hallam was IT’s awareness of increasing back-door access to university networks. “Unless we actually lock down the exchange server, there was no way to stop people, other than to give them a better alternative than what they’re doing right now,” said David Wragg, who works in IS&T and is the project manager for the migration at Sheffield Hallam University. “That and tempt them with the extra goodies we will allow them to have with AirWatch – apps that we’d be deploying by the VPP that they might not want to buy themselves, for instance.”
In the future, Sheffield Hallam will use AirWatch to enable students to create their own secure apps as part of their coursework. “If they create apps that are useful, we will be able to roll them out to certain groups or to the whole university. We can deploy them using AirWatch rather than relying on the Apple store or Google store approving them.”
Wragg recommends that organizations that are still using BlackBerry start the migration process now. “Try and do it as soon as you possibly can, because it’s been a slow death by a thousand cuts for BlackBerry over the last eighteen months. I would have done it quicker if I could have.”