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BlackBerry Enterprise Servers Question


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  1. cghodo

    cghodo Member This Topic's Starter

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    My company uses BES for its email (outlook). The official response is that if you want to access company stuff from a phone, it's gotta be a blackberry. furthermore, you need to let the tech department "encrypt" it once you have it (or any other laptop or whatever you want to access the server with).

    (sadness)

    then i talk to verizon. oh, $15 dollars extra over and above the $30, just for the BES bs.

    then i talk to my tech guy and get into a conversation with him and some other guy. tech guy says don't encrypt anything and the other guy says you can even access the email with your standard smart phone browser, you just can't set it up as a push account.

    having said all that, what has been everyone's experience with the droid from an enterprise stand point?
     

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  2. nycebo

    nycebo Well-Known Member

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    A couple things:

    1. You do not need to pay the 15 bucks over and above the $30 to access your exchange server from the Droid. For a blackberry, yes. For an android or other smartphone, all you need is a data plan (read, the $30 plan).

    2. The Droid will connect to an exchange server perfectly well. Indeed, I access my corporate email account (as well as contacts and calendar) just fine. And it CAN be set to push though it will eat through your battery a lot quicker than if you have it set to check at regular intervals (like 5, 15, or 30 minutes...depending on how urgent the messages are). HOWEVER, and here is the big issue, it DEPENDS on how your IT department has your exchange server and activesync configured. During my setup, all I needed to do was enter the server address (it's the same as the OWA http address), my username (entered as 'domain\username'), and my password. Setup activation took care of the rest.

    You could try buying a droid and seeing if you can get it to easily connect with your exchange server. If it doesn't work, you could always go back to the blackberry. Here's another way to check if it will be easy to setup, though: if you anyone in your firm is using a Windows Mobile device to connect to the corporate email server, you should be fine.

    Good luck.
     
  3. mpaquette

    mpaquette Well-Known Member

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    You say this is the "official response" and therefore is probably company policy. I would be careful doing anything to get around a policy like this. HR departments typically don't look too kindly on that when you're caught. Just saying that it might not be worth it for you to try and get your company email on anything other than a BlackBerry.
     
  4. cghodo

    cghodo Member This Topic's Starter

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    thanks both of you for your help.

    i went by a best buy tonight and demoed one of the employees droids for a sec and actually tried to access the email through the standard browser. i could get into the company's online "area" (signed in to view my work prep area) but when i actually went to the outlook email link and tried to enter the email/calendar section, it wouldn't sign in correctly.

    having said that, i was then shown by the employee an app that i could download that would allow be to sync my outlook email with the phone. of course, you could say the term "outlook" is a little vague because, as you mentioned, the server could be set up in a certain that would prove difficult. i think i will buy the droid and test it out myself.

    as far as company policy goes, when i said "my tech guy" i really meant the companies tech guy. the opening conversation between me, the tech guy and the other employee covered everything from, the fact that you can access company servers from any internet device to the horrors of letting the company encrypt your phone (they have rights to delete everything on the phone [contacts pics, videos, etc...]

    in addition to this, the company policy mostly is concerned with their belief that you technically can't access from anything but a blackberry (the reality being different).

    having said that, i will tread very lightly as this is nothing to lose your job over.
     
  5. nycebo

    nycebo Well-Known Member

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    cghodo, I don't think it's a lose your job issue. Instead, I just think that the company doesn't want to have to support a ton of different email devices. This way, offering tech support for just one device (a blackberry in your case) is easy.

    Let us know how the Droid ends up working out for you. I've been pleased with Exchange support, though I do wish it also synced notes and tasks. I have since switched to Evernote for the former and gTasks for the latter.
     
  6. cghodo

    cghodo Member This Topic's Starter

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    thanks nycebo, it'll be somewhere in the 3 week range before i make the upgrade, but i'll definitely revisit this thread. my only concern is that there are certain versions of outlook/exchange that you can't access on a droid. if you can't tell, i'm more than a little ignorant when it comes to smartphones just from no prolonged use although i've done a fair amount of research. i just don't have any primary experience you might say.

    again, thanks for your help. i'll update this when i get the phone.
     
  7. takeshi

    takeshi Well-Known Member

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    As stated above, it really depends on how the Exchange server is set up. BES isn't relevant as Android can't connect via BES.
     
  8. Todhunter

    Todhunter Member

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    Sorry to dredge up an old thread, but I am in a similar situation. I have a Blackberry, my employer uses BES to sync our devices (we all have blackberries), and we are using Lotus Notes 8.5 as our email software. I want to make the switch to Android, but our IT guy says that BES will not communicate with a non-blackberry device. I'm pretty ignorant about this kind of stuff, so please go easy on me.

    nycebo says "The Droid will connect to an exchange server perfectly well" - is BES an exchange server - I thought Exchange was different than Enterprise? Do you know what I should ask my IT department to find out how they have it set up, since you also said "t DEPENDS on how your IT department has your exchange server and activesync configured"?

    Thanks for any and all help.
     
  9. nycebo

    nycebo Well-Known Member

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    Hey there. Interestingly, BES connects to the Exchange server so if IT is willing, you should be able to login in directly to their Exchange server, bypassing BES, and enter your login information. It's how I do it at work presently. And to update, now I'm using Google Docs for notes and Google Tasks for tasks.
     
  10. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

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    That's not true. It's all in the setup of the Exchange server.

    Basically it works like this and these are the players in the drama........

    Exchange server
    - This your main email server.
    BES - Connects to the Exchange server and forwards email to BBs
    ActiveSync - Connects to Exchange server and forwards email to ActiveSync enabled devices (yes, I know this is kind of an oversimplification)

    Now, companies can deploy their Exchange server in several ways. They can have it as a standalone with no email to mobile devices or they can set up Exchange to talk to just BES, just ActiveSync or both. The reasons for doing this are often political IMO and not technical although I think BES is very, very expensive to implement from scratch nowadays. Some offices already have it so they stick with it. Other offices simply don't want to support every single mobile device out there so they pick one or the other and stick with it.

    ActiveSync is turned on by default when Exchange is installed and some companies have incompetent IT people. They may implement a corporate policy that says BB only, but not bother to turn off ActiveSync or have no clue how to so people can still access the server with non BB software.

    Most higher end Android devices on the market now support ActiveSync. Whether your company does or not is a question for them. There's a possibility they don't support it, but still have it turned on at the server because they've never bothered to turn it off or don't know how to so you may technically still be able to use it. Don't know if any of that made any sense at all.
     
  11. nycebo

    nycebo Well-Known Member

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    That's essentially what I was saying since ActiveSync is included in newer releases of Exchange....as you mentioned. But you hit the nail on the head...it's a political thing. If I.T. is kind enough to have enabled it, then Android users should be good to go. Indeed, I've seen more and more financial services companies supporting phones other than Blackberries because so many folks use iPhones and Droids nowadays. But, it depends on each office. For me, setup was simple. Username, domain, password, DONE. Hope it's the same for most of you.
     
  12. Todhunter

    Todhunter Member

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I think I'm getting a grasp on it.

    I don't think it's a political thing as to which devices we use - I think they just chose blackberry and stuck with it. So I need to ask our IT guy if ActiveSync is enabled on the exchange server?
     
  13. takeshi

    takeshi Well-Known Member

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    Right, but your post makes it sounds as if anyone can bypass BES and use ActiveSync. That's not always the case. Each Exchange environment is set up differently and that's why A.Nonymous felt it was important to point out that ActiveSync is not available in all Exchange environments.

    It can be considered technical in that all BB's have the necessary stuff for security (including granular security offered by IT policies and enforcement of the use of a proxy server), centralized management and intranet access out-of-the-box. I'm not saying no other mobile can meet such requirements but often it requires additional software.

    While nearly everyone is familiar with the BB, there aren't as many that are truly familiar with the BB in a BES environment. It's quite different from the consumer (BIS) world. BES does a lot more than just forward email.

    I took it to mean "policy" as well. Our policy is to only support company-issued Blackberries as well.

    Yup -- and whether or not personal devices are allowed.
     
  14. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

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    I see where you're coming from, but to me the cost of implementing BES these days is really, really high compared to ActiveSync. With Exchange 2007 and 2010 (and I think 2003 also, but I'm not sure off hand) you can enforce the same kind of security policies you can enforce on a BB on an ActiveSync device. You can remotely wipe the device and enforce a complex PIN code on the device if you wish. For the vast majority of the clients we deal with, they need no more security than this. I know you can push certain apps and things to the device from a central source, but I haven't run into a client yet who needed/wanted that. ActiveSync and do all the basic things BES can do right out of the box and all you have to do is flip the switch on ActiveSync. It comes with Exchange which makes it easier to implement. Plus, BES is a PITA to fix when it breaks. I hate nothing more in life than dealing with a broken BES server. If ActiveSync is busted, then either your Exchange server or IIS is completely toasted and you're got bigger headaches than just email not working. This is just my personal opinion though.

    I like policies of only supporting company issued devices myself.

    This is a good point. I'm not a fan of companies officially supporting personal devices though I work for several who do. Not only do you lose control of what the user can and can't install on the device but you usually end up having to support every little weird device some user comes in with. I do know some companies that support personal devices, but require them to be WinMo devices. I'm not fond of that policy either as I think WinMo is such a huge fail in the mobile world.
     
  15. nycebo

    nycebo Well-Known Member

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    My firm only officially supports Blackberries (meaning that it's all they pay for). However, they enabled activesync and let anyone who wants to use iPhones and Androids. Candidly, the email server never seems to go down except for very very occasional updates or what not. Meanwhile, the BES is always on the fritz (I get the firm-wide alert messages too).

    Go Droid.
     
  16. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

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    BES always is on the fritz. I reach for the Rolaids every time a client calls with a BES problem. I once spent two hours trying to figure out why I couldn't activate a BB over the air with BES. Tried everything I knew. Tried all the troubleshooting stuff on the 'net. Rebooted the freaking server a couple of times. Couldn't get it fixed. Finally just plugged a freaking cable into the server and synced the BB up that way. Told everyone in the company that this was how we were doing things from now on with BBs. :)

    ActiveSync is so tied to Exchange that it's virtually impossible for it to break without Exchange breaking. If Exchange is down for an entire organization, people are usually yelling about other stuff and not ActiveSync.
     
  17. Todhunter

    Todhunter Member

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    Thanks for all the input guys. I think our official policy is to only support company supplied Blackberries, but I already had one when they decided to buy them for folks, and I am the only one that I know of who has a personal device that is supported. I hope to talk to my IT guy today about whether or not ActiveSync is activated on the Exchange server. Thanks again.
     
  18. messi

    messi New Member

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  19. Nimgee

    Nimgee Member

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    My company only officially uses Blackberries for Microsoft Exchange. However, I have been using the Android program Touchdown to access my email, calendar, contacts, tasks through the webmail access web address for about a year on the Samsung Captivate. You can set the polling frequency, edit the email signature, etc. It has worked out fine for me. My phone active sync is not enabled and I can function fine this way.
     
  20. wkclethero

    wkclethero New Member

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    Just my 2c worth; it doesn't appear to have been mentioned that for your mobile device to connect to the Exchange server when away from the company network you need to have an Internet facing mail server. If you need a VPN to connect to your mail server (i.e. you are on a private IP address range) then you won't be able to connect unless you have a VPN running on the Android device.
    Many companies use Exchange in a private network, it can send and receive emails to and from other email servers but you can not use Outlook to connect to the Exchange server from outside the private network unless you use a VPN.
    The BlackBerry devices can get email because the BlackBerry Enterprise Server copies email from the Exchange server to the BlackBerry network for delivery. With a Blackberry you pickup your email from BlackBerry not from your Exchange server.
     
  21. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

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    This is not correct at all I'm afraid. By default Exchange is set up with ActiveSync turned on. RPC over HTTP used to not be turned on in Exchange 2003, but I don't know if it is or not in Exchange 2007. OWA is always turned on my default so you have access that way. All domains have at least one Internet facing server or email wouldn't work at all.
     
  22. CSW13027CEO

    CSW13027CEO New Member

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    With the OWA (Outlook Web Access) accounts you can set those up as stated previously through the email setup feature on both BB, and other devices. On BBś this is setting up a BIS account, and not a BES, therefore, you will only get emails to the device, on a regular polling cycle. This is what was referred to earlier as, domain\username. This is not the same as a BES. On a BES this is either setup in advanced options, or email setup (by clicking enterprise email). However, the setup is typically done by providing your email address, and a special, one-time only password for activation. This eventually will start a slow-sync, that will bring down from your work server, everything (old, new emails, addressbook, calendar, memos, tasks), as well as, send them the other way, after the sync. However, this will also send down IT Policies from your companies IT department, this is unavoidable. So, you will be able to use your personal device on your companies BES server, however, after the IT policy is in place, and depending what they are, you may find reduced functionality of certain BB features. Questions on BES activation, or possible hangups, please see KB13852; need to know how to remove a IT policy, KB18998, however, on that, be warned, removing your IT Policy, performing a Security Wipe KB14058; will cause you to be knocked off your companyś server. Hope this helped.
     

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