iPhone 3G BES compatibility question

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by B-Landers-1978, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. B-Landers-1978 macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2008
    My employer supplies Blackberries running on the Blackberry Enterprise Server. As a die-hard Mac user, it kills me not being able to use an iPhone.

    Question: If I bought my own iPhone 3G, would I be able to integrate it into the company system? (i.e. push email, Outlook calendar & contacts?)

    I'm not very savvy with the technical details (I love Macs for their user simplicity!!), so layman's terms if you would be so kind.

    Thanks gang!!
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    If they allow you to use it directly with Exchange, yes. It has no compatibility with the BES though.
  3. B-Landers-1978 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2008
    Any valid reason why they would not want to let me use it directly with Exchange?
  4. FarSeide macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2008
    Earth Lane
    I believe its purely a business reason...

    I work for at&t and our company doesnt support the new feature Apple is rolling out. We only support BB at this time.
  5. B-Landers-1978 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2008
    "I believe its purely a business reason... "

    Ok, I'm a little confused.

    Are you saying that my company would have a business reason for not letting an employee's iPhone access Exchange directly? Or do you mean that the company would have a business reason for supplying employees with blackberries exclusively (e.g. a 5-year exclusive contract with RIM).

    The latter is irrelevant because I already know that my employer will only pay for a blackberry. No iPhone, Palm, Treo, whatever. But I am thinking about purchasing a 3G iPhone on my own come July. My original question was whether it would be technically possible to use it with the company Outlook email/calendar. I gather that this is technically possible IF they will let me access Exchage directly, rather than going through the BES. So now I'm wondering what reasons they might have for restricting direct acess to Exchange (and good counterarguments I could use to convince them to let me use my iPhone). Obviously, I'm gonna have to go through the IT people on this, but I want to be informed before approaching them.

    Sorry this is getting confusing - and thanks for your help!
  6. rogersmj macrumors 68020


    Sep 10, 2006
    Indianapolis, IN
    Correct; the BES is only for BlackBerries and other phones with BlackBerry Connect software.

    There's no way for us to say for sure about your company, but most IT departments won't allow a new device on their network for awhile, until it has been out in the wild and has been proven to not be a security risk. IT doesn't like change for the most part; about the only thing you can do is ask nicely and offer to be a "pilot test" if they'll allow your iPhone to connect to the Exchange server. And then ask again. And then ask again. Eventually they'll accept the fact that the iPhone is not going away, and they should probably allow it. How long that takes will vary by company.
  7. Sonicjay macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008
    Here's the nutshell view. The BES typically ties into Exchange (usually it is a separate server, due to a dll issue). This happens within the corporate network. Exchange Activesync requires new ports to be opened on the corporate firewall to allow connections from outside the network, which may or may not be acceptable to your organization. It all depends on their security controls, and whether or not they're open to it.
  8. B-Landers-1978 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2008
    This is very helpful. Thanks guys.

    I'm hopeful. They already allow employees to use our own Motorola, Mogul, and Treo devices (not sure if these run on BlackBerry Connect). But they're also super-duper sensitive about security issues--and for good reason. I guess I'll just have to be particularly per$ua$ive with my IT guy. ;)
  9. JonboyDC macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2004
    Look around to see if there's any precedent at your company for people to use non-Blackberry devices. My firm gives us all Blackberries, but I know of one partner who doesn't like BB and who is set up with his own personal Sidekick. So while I haven't approached IT about the iPhone yet, I know that in at least one instance they've taken the steps necessary to let somebody access Exchange directly.

    ETA: Whoops! Looks like you've already identified the precedent.
  10. B-Landers-1978 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2008
    For a partner. May be a different story for us lowly grunts!

    Edit: I shouldn't assume. Read: "for a lowly grunt like me!"
  11. JonboyDC macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2004
  12. surferfromuk macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2007
    Active synch is built into Exchange server and of course now licensed and built into the iPhone! - to turn it on is ridiculously easy...iPhone then just connects. No tech support required!

    The only reason your IT boffins won't want it is beause it's too dammed easy to support and maintain ...

    BES on the other hand almost guarantees someone's job!!..Some BB users can't even get the web browser working without tech support!

    Sooner or later though the smart CEO's and heads of department will FIND out when the active synch success stories start hitting the wire in a few months time - THEN the IT people who have been telling porkies and keeping 'easy tech' out of the reach of their users will suddenly find themselves looking pretty stupid and, quite frankly, dishonest. they will discredit themselves and basically everything they ever say will be viewed with suspicion from then on..

    Those BB only guys better think LONG and hard about veto'ing iPhone - it could cost them dearly in the long run...

    If they were smart they'd get an itunes app distribution store running on their network pretty quick and start deploying insanely great productivity apps and build and better facility than supporting crappy old BES server...they could have a lot of fun with iphone and look like company saving hero's instead of paranoid wierdo's..

    plus activsynch will use the same ports as Windows Mobile and Outlook Web access ( which most org have open on the firewalls and I believe even BES uses in some instances (it can be a nasty port grabbing arse and often stops RAS running by grabbing it's ports) - plus BES opens a TON of ports so the security stories a bit of F.U.D...iPhone can only allow apps from a signed App server so there is no risk of compromise...
  13. tritonj macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2008
    as someone who is in IT, i can tell you that ease of implementation is a factor in whether something gets deployed but an even bigger factor is standardization. you can't have the wild wild west going on in the IT department where everyone is running their own software, their own model laptop, their own model desktop, etc. no matter how easy or how good anything is. there would be no way to manage it. and no matter how easy something is advertised to be, there can always be problems, ActiveSync is not immune. there will be plenty of support required for ActiveSync just like there is for Blackberry, you have to understand ActiveSync on Exchange has been around since 2003, it isn't a new tech, and you can actually use it to push the mail to a Blackberry as well. companies choose standards so that they can easily manage all the chaos and support the technology effectively, so don't expect companies to allow iPhone connections to exchange servers. also keep in mind, most IT depts do not support personal equipment, so unless they are giving you the iPhone you won't get support. there are liability issues with supporting personal equipment and quite frankly too much variety out there that it would be impossible to do that. and there is of course the issue of having confidential company data on personal systems. i know most companies frown on that and last time i checked e-mail is company property
  14. surferfromuk macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2007
    And that's told you about getting any fancy pants ideas about having an iPhone!!!

    ....And that's from an IT person who doesn't even WORK in your Company!!!
  15. tritonj macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2008
    lol, why all the hate?
  16. surferfromuk macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2007
    Sorry man, didn't mean it to sound nasty..no hate, truly...please take a puff on my peace pipe...if we'd have been sat in Stabucks I'd have smiled and winked at you...need to keep an eye on my smileys!

    I've been an IT Manager for over 13 years ( not so much these days though) and I know how things are when users randomly start 'doing their own thing' - I can be quite brutal in that regard for the reasons you outline...but then the iPhone is just soooo enticing isn't it and I truly believe will be far more secure than any other phone out there. I guess, ultimately, I feel this is the one battle I think IT people are going to lose, and I think they'll regret fighting it...
  17. tritonj macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2008
    no worries...

    i know exactly what you mean about how enticing an iPhone is, i've been telling people, if all that it could do was make phone calls i would still want one because the UI is so good compared to everything out there. i really don't think it is a matter of winning or losing the battle, because i don't really see a battle here. at the end of the day i think they will just coexist because of the substantial investment that was put into a full Blackberry setup. there is no way anyone could justify tossing it by the way side. what i see happening is the normal workers will not be allowed to use and iPhone with Exchange (personal phones). the important people, i.e. executives and their assistants if they ask for it will get it. and those in the IT dept who have access to the server will configure it themselves to use at the very least. eventually the normal might get a company issued one. of course ATT could help this whole process by offering crazy incentives to go iPhone instead of Blackberry and force decision makers to consider it sooner rather than later.
  18. surferfromuk macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2007

    Good points. I already know of a few BB users who have had corporate approval to dump their BB's in favor of the iPhone. The cost saving of the BES subscription alone is making it viable now that they can connect the iPhone via activesync to Exch07.
  19. trevorbsmith macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2007
    I'm coming to this conversation quite late...

    I was saddened to find yesterday that my firm refuses to let me use my iPhone to connect to their Exchange Server AT ALL. They literally won't tell me the server address. (I know, security through obscurity = not the best policy.) They too have standardized on a BES.

    As much as it irritates me that their policy blocks me from using my existing iPhone, which I love, I will relate their reasoning because no one else mentioned it above.

    The firm gives out blackberries. The BES allows them to remotely "control" those blackberries.

    My iPhone can't use the BES but could just avoid it and go straight to the Exchange Server. In this scenario, they would not be able to remotely "control" my phone like they can with the blackberries they give out.

    For greater certainty, "control" here means they want to be able to wipe data from it if it is lost or stolen. Also, they want to disallow people from installing apps on their phones.

    1. I don't want them to have any of that control over my iPhone.
    2. They don't want me to have info on my phone they can't wipe.

    We're at an impasse. Frankly, as a former computer science student, I see huge security holes in the overall system but arguing that they should give up on this piece of security just because there are other weak links isn't logical so I grudgingly accept their policy.

    I'm still looking for a solution though.
  20. RealDeal83 macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2009
    iphone isn't ready for the corporate show yet

    To those of you who think that IT departments are denying you access to your precious corporate email on your iphone because IT guys are jerks or because they hate change or they are trying to save the BES admins job, you are wrong.

    There are two main reasons that they are doing this.

    1 Activesync is not robust enough.

    Activesync is super limited in what you can do with it. Comparing it to the BES is like comparing a base model Geo Metro to a decked out Hummer H1. They just aren't in the same league. Activesync has about 10 options you can control, BES has 100's of options. From an IT perspective, more control always equates to a good thing. This is why you aren't a local admin on your corporate PC aswell.

    2 Standardization

    Standardization keeps IT guys from going insane. If your company has already spent the time and money on setting up and deploying the BES and BlackBerrys to meet all legal and security obligations, do you really expect them to spend the time and money to deploy and administer a parallel system so that you can use your iphone? Try coming up with an ROI for that...
  21. lowearthorbit macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2009
    Personnal SIM card vs corporate BB SIM Card

    Similar to above, why will a personal SIM card with data plan, when inserted into a 3G offer full MS exchange functionality with corporate email, while a corporate BB SIM card with data plan plugged into the same 3G, prevent data and Exchange support?

    Does ATT associate the particular iphone S/N with data service?

    Here's why iphone is better for business use, independent of security issues:
    1. 2X viewing area vs most RIM devices.
    2. Inherent support for viewing attached files, pdf, xls, doc.
    3. Improved Contacts.
  22. RandomKamikaze macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2009
    It has to do with APNs on the network.

    And in response to your points:

    1) True, and the UI is better but screen size isn't everything
    2) BlackBerry supports more
    3) Improved how?

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