IBM and Secusmart, a company recently acquired by BlackBerry, have unveiled a new, ultra-secure Samsung tablet designed for public-sector and enterprise users with special data and networking security requirements. Presented over the weekend at the CeBIT computer expo in Hanover, the SecuTablet is based on the Galaxy Tab S 10.5, which suggests the device might be Android-based.
The new secure tablet is designed to supplement existing the BlackBerry 10 SecuSuite portfolio, a high-security smartphone solution rolled out by Secusmart in 2013. According to BlackBerry, the SecuTablet is currently being reviewed by the German Federal Office for Information Security for certification under the German VS-NfD security rating, which applies to classified communications for official use only.
While early news releases from BlackBerry have not given details on the device's price and release date, reports indicate the SecuTablet will start at $2,380. At that price, the device clearly targets a niche market of high-end users with the need for better-than-average security.
'Last Link' in Secure Network Chain
"The SecuTablet closes a supply gap and opens up for government and administrations an opportunity to derive greater benefit from digitization and the mobile Internet, with system integration as a fundamental success factor," said Stefan Hefter, senior management consultant with IBM. He said the device used IBM's secure app wrapping technology, which lets IT administrators easily specify the security policies they need for individual applications.
Depending on which countries and industries they're operating in, public-sector and enterprise organizations must often meet highly specific security requirements when communicating and sharing data via mobile devices.
"Working alongside IBM and Samsung, we have added the last link in the chain of the Federal Security Network," said Hans-Christoph Quelle, CEO of Secusmart, which was acquired by BlackBerry last December. "Subject to certification of the SecuTablet, German government agencies will have a new way to access BlackBerry's most secure and complete communications network in the world."
Post-Snowden, Security 'More Important'
According to an IBM study on mobile communications for businesses, 63 percent of public-sector professionals surveyed said they would benefit from being able to access special apps like budget and controlling via mobile devices. Because the data used for such apps can be subject to special, higher-level security requirements, accessing these apps by "regular" mobile devices is often not an option.
Already recognized for its edge in mobile security, BlackBerry last year announced a new partnership with Samsung aimed at enterprise customers with a need for "enhanced levels of security on Android devices." That initiative, being launched this year, combines BlackBerry's BES12 cross-platform solution for enterprise mobility management with Samsung's Knox security features for Galaxy smartphones and tablets.
As of January, Secusmart reported it had sold its SecuSuite for BlackBerry 10 solutions to around 3,500 customers in Germany over the previous 18 months. More than 10 international governments and agencies also adopted Secusmart's offering during that time.
"In the wake of the Snowden revelations, secure communications have become more important around the world," Secusmart's Quelle said in January. "SecuSuite for BlackBerry 10 enables us to provide governments and public authorities worldwide with a high level of security. This allows each country to retain sovereignty over its internal communications."