Jokes aside, some IT managers say there's no option other than BlackBerry for security

BlackBerry heavily promotes its sales to defense and security-conscious groups despite its being up for sale

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Just this week, BlackBerry announced that global auditing firm KPMG in Italy bought 3,500 new BlackBerry 10 smartphones and is migrating to BES 10, which includes mobile management that can also control iOS and Android devices in addition to BlackBerry devices.

"With BlackBerry 10 we have found the best solution in terms of usability, security, connectivity and price," said KPMG Milan IT Lead Partner Davide Grassano in a statement. KPMG users will have access to shared files and internal resources while BlackBerry software also works to prevent the accidental leakage of business documents and attachments, he added.

On Oct. 1, BlackBerry said NATO had approved the use of BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BES 10 for classified communications in 28 countries in North America and Europe.

Also Oct. 1, BlackBerry said the National Police of Colombia is upgrading to BlackBerry smartphones and BES 10. It is one of 25,000 BES 10 test or functioning upgrades installed globally.

On Aug. 8, BlackBerry announced the U.S. Defense Information System Agency had authorized support for up to 30,000 Z10 and Q10 smartphones by year's end. It also authorized use of BES 10 to operate under the most stringent security requirements used in Department of Defense networks.

BlackBerry's record is sufficient to keep many of the most security conscious organizations happy, but there's debate as to whether other third party vendors, which support Android and iOS, can't also be highly secure, at least for the security needs of 99% of organizations.

Many government agencies need assurance that smartphones and their supporting servers can pass a FIPS 140-2 certification, which refers to the Federal Information Processing Standards requirement used to accredit cryptographic modules used in both software and hardware.

Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, has consistently called BlackBerry the "gold standard" for security, but admits that some third party products come close, even if they aren't exactly the same.

"If customers need the FIPS security that BlackBerry offers, there is no immediate need to replace them," Gold said. "BlackBerry will not just disappear overnight despite what some doomsayers have predicted."

BlackBerry's special position at the top of the security heap comes from the fact that its network operations center (NOC ) is linked to BES servers and also to the handheld hardware, Gold said. And the NOC, even under a future owner, is not going to disappear.

"I don't expect to see the NOC or BlackBerry infrastructure just shut down, whether BlackBerry goes private or someone buys them," Gold added. "There's no imminent threat to shutdown and no real need to migrate off BlackBerry."

BlackBerry has entered into a preliminary agreement with Fairfax Financial Holdings where Fairfax would pay $4.7 billion for BlackBerry and make it private. Other investors are looking at buying all or part of BlackBerry, including its two founders, Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm, and PC maker Lenovo.

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