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How a Global Insurance Provider in Japan Uses BlackBerry UEM to Secure, Protect and Connect Its Mobile Workforce

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At a Glance

Aegon Sony Life Insurance Company (ASLIC), a joint venture between Sony Life and Aegon International, aims to be Japan’s leading expert in life insurance products. Founded in 2009, it had until recently relied primarily upon Microsoft Exchange Server and a set of standard iPhone apps to support remote workers. The company approached BlackBerry with the goal of helping its mobile staff work more securely and efficiently, ultimately deploying BlackBerry UEM.

The Organization

Founded in Japan in 2009, Aegon Sony Life Insurance Company is a joint venture between two of Japan’s largest organizations. The first, Sony Life, is a life insurance company owned and operated by Sony. The second, Aegon International, is a member of the Aegon Group, which operates in more than 20 countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.

Built on the slogan “Turning Personal Pensions into Life Pensions,” the goal of the joint venture is simple – to become the leading expert in annuity insurance products. Decision-makers at the company realized that to truly achieve this, they would need to update their mobile infrastructure. Remote workers needed to do their jobs efficiently, effectively, and – most importantly – securely.

With that in mind, the company came to BlackBerry.

The Challenge

After initially assessing its confidentiality needs, ASLIC initiated a desktop virtualization project. The company decided it would take a similar approach to providing connectivity to mobile workers, relying on a combination of Microsoft Exchange Server and basic iOS apps for email, calendar, and mobile productivity apps. Unfortunately, this approach proved problematic.

Eighty percent of the workers issued handsets by ASLIC were on the sales team, and their work took them all over Japan. That in itself wouldn’t be an issue, save for one thing – the way their desktop infrastructure was designed, workers were unable to download apps or updates directly from a mobile app store. That meant whenever something needed to be patched, the company had to collect every single handset at once and load the updated apps manually.

“Because our initial project specifications did not allow apps to be downloaded directly from the Apple and Android App Stores, application updates created a lot of unnecessary app wrapping work in house,” explains Masaharu Baba, Senior Management of the Systems Business Department in ASLIC’s Information Systems Division.

“When apps needed updating, we had to collect all of the handsets at once, usually during departmental meetings or at other times when everyone returned to head office.”

“The time and labor involved in validating OS and app updates to ensure they worked properly was also a heavy burden,” Mr. Baba continues. “Basic operational policy was to leave the management of any apps other than those used for work to the individual user – as a result, version gaps opened up.”

Not only was this incredibly inconvenient for mobile workers, these version gaps had the potential to put information confidentiality at risk. One device might not, for example, have a critical security patch that was already installed on another. Two years after its old system entered service, the operational burden issue, risks to confidentiality, and the approaching end of ASLIC’s vendor support agreement prompted it to start looking for a new mobility solution.

We handle a lot of sensitive information, so customer confidentiality is our number one priority.  As our mobility strategy evolved, we had to find a better way to service our clients and drive operational efficiency – that’s why we chose BlackBerry UEM. It met our strict security requirements for mobile work and reduced the operational burden on our IT department.

Masaharu Baba, Senior Management of Systems Business Department, Information Systems Division, Aegon Sony Life Insurance Company

The Solution

ASLIC had several criteria by which it evaluated its prospective choices. First, because its staff use a mixture of Android and iOS handsets, it needed a platform with the flexibility to support a wide range of operating systems and devices. It also needed a tool that provided the highest level of security possible – one that would allow it to ensure information confidentiality for its clients. Finally, it needed a solution that avoided the use of local native apps, one of its initial requirements when it deployed Microsoft Exchange Server.

ASLIC narrowed down its choice to two decisions. It could either continue using its old system and implement several updates or move to BlackBerry UEM. With help from BlackBerry Reseller ShinMaywa Soft Technologies, the company ultimately chose the latter.

“The problem with staying on our old system was that the solution updates increased our operational burden in the same way as before,” explains Toru Isogai, IT Security Manager of ASIC’s Information Systems Division.

 “By contrast, BlackBerry UEM offered extremely high information confidentiality. More importantly, it was secure – but it also allowed users to download and update approved applications directly from the BlackBerry UEM app store.”

After speaking with several agents and evaluating several domestic case studies, ASLIC ultimately decided to begin the move to BlackBerry UEM. ShinMayWa Soft Technologies assisted the company in deployment and construction of its new infrastructure, allowing ASLIC to roll out their new solution smoothly and effectively. According to Mr. Baba, ShinMaywa’s free UEM trial deployment and technical capabilities inspired great confidence, allowing ASLIC to make the switch without fear.

The Results

Since deploying BlackBerry UEM, ASLIC has been able to offer increased convenience for its mobile workers while also providing enhanced security for sensitive data. Not only that, BlackBerry UEM significantly reduced the amount of infrastructure needed to support mobile workers, making maintenance and endpoint management significantly less intensive.

Reduced Operating Cost

By deploying BlackBerry UEM, ASLIC was able to cut down not only on operational costs, but hardware costs, as well. In the past, explains Mr. Baba, they needed seven separate servers. With UEM, they need only a single   server. This means their IT department has more resources to focus elsewhere – a considerable benefit no matter the industry you work in.

“The results speak for themselves,” says Mr. Isogai. “We have reduced the number of servers we need, making maintenance easier and easing the pressure on resources by cutting down on hardware costs.”

Enhanced Efficiency

BlackBerry UEM allows mobile workers to update their systems remotely, considerably reducing the burden on IT. This also means there’s no longer a need for everyone to turn in their devices every time there’s an update – they can simply apply it over the air.  More importantly, updates are applied immediately. 

“We have seen great improvement in ease of use,” explains Mr. Isogai. “In the past, server specifications meant that even when we updated, there would be a time lag before everything was synchronized. With BlackBerry UEM, push notifications have enhanced real-time responsiveness, increasing efficiency.”

Security Without Sacrificing Usability

Last but certainly not least, from both an end user and IT standpoint, BlackBerry UEM is seamless. IT can manage and monitor the company’s entire mobile infrastructure from a single console, and employees no longer need to worry about cumbersome VPN authentication or a complicated update process. With BlackBerry, ASLIC has both security and usability.

“In addition to providing extremely high information confidentiality, BlackBerry UEM also allows users to download apps directly from a single app store,” says Mr. Baba. “BlackBerry supports a native experience on iOS and Android which solves the operational burden issue, allowing us to get on with the business of serving our customers – and with the knowledge that ASLIC and our clients are secured by BlackBerry.”

Future Plans

Given the success of BlackBerry UEM, ASLIC is considering a deployment of BlackBerry Workspaces to further its digital transformation. This will allow its workers to share and edit confidential documents internally and externally with both colleagues and clients, keeping the organization in control of its data no matter where that data ends up.