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RIM unveils cloud service for Microsoft Office 365 users

Currently in beta, the service will extend Office 365 to BlackBerrys and let companies better manage deployments.

RIM is rolling out a new cloud-based service for Microsoft Office 365.
RIM is rolling out a new cloud-based service for Microsoft Office 365. RIM

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has launched a new service that not only extends access to Microsoft Office 365 but lets businesses better manage their BlackBerry devices.

Currently available as a beta for Microsoft Office 365 customers, BlackBerry's Business Cloud Services offers four key benefits to potential customers, according to RIM:

  • Access to Microsoft Exchange online email, calendar, and organizer data from BlackBerry smartphones.
  • BlackBerry Balance technology, which lets users see both personal and work-related content on their phones but keeps the two separate from each other.
  • Online access to smartphone security features where users can remotely lock or wipe their smartphones or reset their passwords.
  • An online console where IT admins can manage and secure the BlackBerry smartphones used by company employees.

"BlackBerry Business Cloud Services is an easy and cost-effective way for businesses and government agencies to extend Microsoft Office 365 to BlackBerry smartphones and manage the deployment in the cloud," RIM Vice President Alan Panezic said in a statement. "We have been working together with Microsoft and select customers through an early access program and we are pleased to now launch an open beta for the service."

Several Fortune 500 companies and government agencies have already been testing the new cloud service and many plan to use it moving forward, RIM said. Microsoft Office 365 customers that want to try out the service in-house can sign up for beta via RIM's Web site.

The service is free to subscribers of Microsoft's Office 365 Midsized Businesses and Enterprises plan and works with any BlackBerry smartphone using a business or consumer data plan.