BlackBerry Live 2013 - BBM - BBM Channels - 009

BlackBerry recently said it is refocusing its turnaround efforts on its enterprise business and, Monday, it launched a new super secure chat client for business users. Secure BBM was launched Monday and is part of BlackBerry’s new eBBM suite, first discussed at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona earlier this year. As we saw in Q4, BlackBerry’s services generate the most revenue for the company and this is yet another way it’s going to work to bolster those efforts.

BlackBerry said the new client isn’t just more secure than regular BBM, but its logging and auditing options also should make it desirable for companies who constantly need to log information, especially in regulated industries like banking. “BBM Protected adds an additional layer of encryption to the existing BBM security model,” the company explained. “With the new layer of BBM Protected encryption, messages sent between two BBM Protected users are encrypted using an encryption key unique to those two users. This encryption key is controlled by the enterprise; BlackBerry is not involved in brokering the exchange of the keys between the two devices.”

That means that a company’s IT department is in full control of the security and that not even BlackBerry will be able to peek into messages being sent between two securely encrypted BBM Protected devices. So how does the encryption layer work?

BlackBerry said that each user, when connecting on BBM Protected for the first time, will need to “share a secret passphrase to authenticate their identities and generate the BBM Protected encryption key used to secure their chat.” That’s just one extra layer of protection that’s not available on standard BBM.

BlackBerry said that BBM Protected will start rolling out today to devices running on BES 5 and BlackBerry enterprise customers who have gold licenses for BES10. In the fall, BlackBerry will roll it out to a wider audience, including to phones running iOS and Android.