The BlackBerry ecosystem has been in existence for over ten years, so it’s no wonder that there is a lot of confusing terminology associated with it. The difference between “BES” and “BIS” is particularly confusing, so let’s see if we can clarify what each is and where they fit into the overall BlackBerry infrastructure.
The BlackBerry Enterprise Server
BES is short for BlackBerry Enterprise Server. As you might guess from its name, BES technology is focused on enterprise customers (medium to large companies). These companies use systems like Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange, or Novell Groupwise to provide employees with email and other related capabilities.
The BlackBerry Enterprise Server acts as a conduit between those systems and the employees’ BlackBerry handhelds. It also provides companies with centralized control of those handhelds. And it acts as a proxy server so that BlackBerry users can browse the internet or the corporate intranet. In other words:
- BES = corporate email + intranet/internet access + device management
To use the BES (and get access to corporate email), a BlackBerry handheld must be “paired” with a BES server managed by the company. The pairing process creates an encrypted two-way data link between the handheld and the server. The BES monitors the mailboxes on the corporate email server and uses that data link to provide instant notification to the handheld of new email, meeting invitations, calendar changes, etc.
That’s the enterprise side of the BlackBerry ecosystem.
The BlackBerry Internet Service
BIS is short for BlackBerry Internet Service. Unlike the BES technology, BIS is a consumer technology. Consumers don’t use a central mail server, they have mail accounts at various places like Yahoo!, Google, or their internet service provider (ISP). BIS lets them send and receive personal email. It also lets them browse the internet from their device. In other words:
- BIS = personal email + internet access
After purchasing a BlackBerry handheld, the consumer creates a BIS account and registers his or her personal email addresses with the service. BIS then
That’s the consumer side of BlackBerry ecosystem.
BES and BIS Coexistence
BES and BIS can coexist on the same BlackBerry handheld. BIS is provided by the wireless carrier. BES is provided by the employer, who purchases and installs the BES software on the corporate intranet. This means it’s possible to send and receive corporate email and personal email from the same handheld, assuming the IT policies on the BES (which allow the employer to control what a paired device can or cannot do and overrides the user’s preferences) don’t specifically restrict BIS access.
It really is possible to get the best of both worlds — personal and corporate — with your BlackBerry handheld.