The PlayBook Will Be the First Tablet to Truly Enter Government

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RIM has just announced that the PlayBook has received FIPS 140-2 certification, making the BlackBerry PlayBook the first tablet certified for deployment within U.S. federal government agencies. No other tablet on the market has gained FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) certification from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is required under the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA). While some sites will claim that the iPad has made significant moves in government, from what we can tell it’s for very minimal use cases such as presentations and there doesn’t seem to be any significant deployment to date.

According to Bloomberg, the US Military has been testing tablets across all branches. The services are looking to tablets to replace laptops as well as paper manuals, maps, biometric devices and some communications tools. The U.S. Army is leaning toward the PlayBook because RIM “addressed security concerns from the get-go,” said Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dosmann, who oversees mobile device pilot- testing for the Army’s cybersecurity division. Security remains an issue for Apple and may hold back wider use of iPads, he said.

The CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada) does not recommend the iPad for the transmission of sensitive government information or for connection to government networks, due to the vulnerabilities of Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11 (WiFi) and the cellular network. Some of their specific issues include:

  • IT policy settings for iOS devices lack ability to control all aspects of the device, and also lack sufficient granularity for the aspects that can be controlled.
  • IT policy settings can only be “pushed” to the device if using MS Exchange.

It will take a long time for Apple and Android tablets to gain the same security certifications as the PlayBook and in that time RIM will have gained a tremendous amount of ground in government tablets. What we’re interested in seeing now is apps for government and military leveraging QNX and the PlayBook. Imagine the ability to call in an airstrike directly from a PlayBook; Amazing.

  • Anonymous

    Even police forces world wide only trust and will only use the PlayBook.
    They CAN NOT and MUST NOT take chances when dealing with the lives of their citizens.

    Any company who uses a device other then a PlayBook as a tablet doesn’t give 2 craps about your business. BOTTOM LINE !

  • Dar06

    FYI…Apple is and has been in the process of certifying the iPad for FIPS 140-2. Also, this doesn’t mean that the PlayBook can necessarily process sensitive information…remember there are “processes” that must be followed. Additionally, once the PlayBook is developed to access the Internet without tethering to the BlackBerry, this will change how data is processed and or stored as well. As for using a device other than a PlayBook for sensitive information…all I can say is ANY device can be secured. It just depends on what mechanisms are in place to ensure this and what risk tolerance is acceptable.

  • Dar06

    FYI…Apple is and has been in the process of certifying the iPad for FIPS 140-2. Also, this doesn’t mean that the PlayBook can necessarily process sensitive information…remember there are “processes” that must be followed. Additionally, once the PlayBook is developed to access the Internet without tethering to the BlackBerry, this will change how data is processed and or stored as well. As for using a device other than a PlayBook for sensitive information…all I can say is ANY device can be secured. It just depends on what mechanisms are in place to ensure this and what risk tolerance is acceptable.

  • Onesaucytrini

    Yipee RIM can kick some Apple butt. All those negative reviews about the Playbook prior to release and early release. Who paid for that? The Playbook is awesome in my opinion. I am going to show this to my people so that I can get Playbooks for everyone in the Ministry.