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BYOD VS. COPE VS. CYOD – A Guide to the Right EMM Strategy for CIOs

According to Richard Esposito, GM of Mobility Services at IBM, the global mobile workforce accounted for 38.8% of the total workforce in 2016. He predicts that this statistic will expand to 42.5%, or 1.87 billion, by as early as 2022. In other words, nearly one out of every two employees will be part of the mobile workforce in 2022. Thankfully, this shift towards enterprise mobility is nothing new and has been trending for some years now. This has given the tech industry enough time to come up with compelling solutions to handle the challenges posed by workforce mobility management.

At present, there are three options before the CIOs:

  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
  • Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE)
  • Choose Your Own Device (CYOD)

Let’s break them down.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

The BYOD option is typically picked because of its perceived simplicity and ease. In this model, the enterprises allow their employees to use their own devices at work. The employees purchase the devices of their choice, and have complete ownership of them. While the enterprise typically reimburses the employee.

The BYOD model comes with the highest risk of data breaches. Today’s mobile devices are exposed to a varying degree of threats and the available consumer mobile security tools are ill-equipped to handle many of those threats. This opens up the sensitive corporate data stored on mobile devices to internet based threats. Not to mention the risk of employees going rogue and voluntarily compromising the security of the company’s data. To tackle this, many businesses utilize mobile device management (MDM) solutions to control the level of access, security, and the implementation of company policies for using these devices on the company network. However, provisioning and supporting such solutions can be a tremendous task on the in-house IT teams. Fortunately, mobility lifecycle management companies offer these solutions to enterprises, which means one less thing to worry about.

Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE)

If BYOD model is one end of the spectrum, then the COPE model sits on the other.

In this model, the enterprises pay for and own the mobile devices that the employees use. They can still offer their employees options in terms of the devices they want. As the enterprises have full ownership of these devices, they can customize them in any way they see fit. They can install security tools that protect the data, control complete access to corporate data by these devices, their behavior on the corporate network, and so on. Naturally, the COPE model presents the least number of security risks to the enterprises. However, it is not free from its own set of challenges.

This model takes the most time to be implemented. A variety of mobile device management tools will have to be developed or purchased, and installed on the devices. It is time consuming. The fact that the enterprises are responsible for bringing the COPE devices up to date with the latest technology only makes things more complex. That being said, mobility lifecycle management companies can help enterprises reduce or often even completely eliminate the amount of time, stress, and expenses associated with the COPE model.

Choose Your Own Device (CYOD)

The CYOD model is a more recent mobile device management approach, developed as a midway between BYOD and COPE models. It comes with the benefits of both the models, but contracts their weaknesses as well.

Businesses typically provide their employees a list of devices that meet the company policies and requirements. Then the enterprise can either purchase the device chosen by its employees or lets them purchase the device and then reimburses them. In both the cases, the enterprise will retain the ownership of the devices, so that the device stays with the company even after the employee is no longer with the organization. The homogeneity of the devices eases the development and implementation procedures of mobile device management software on these devices for the in-house IT departments.

The CYOD model offers nearly the same level of device usability as the BYOD devices for the employees. However, repairing and replacing the devices can become a major pain point for the end users. As with the COPE model, not all employees may be happy with the devices they get.

For the enterprises, this model means lower procurement and management costs than COPE devices. However, they will still be responsible for keeping the COPE devices updated with the latest technology, so that they have the best security and usability features available in the market.

Verdict: So Which Enterprise Mobile Management Approach is the Best Choice?

The short answer? There’s no one-size-fits-all option here.

The long answer:

As clearly evidenced above, each EMM model comes with its own set of pros and cons. Every business should choose a model that is in line with their business objectives, available IT resources, requirements of the employees, and more relevant factors.

Many businesses choose a combination of these models. For instance, employees who are working on sensitive corporate data can be given COPE devices, while employees who are handling less critical information can be given BYOD devices.

Typically, large enterprises go for COPE devices as they are able to bear the related expenses. Small businesses, on the other hand, go with BYOD devices because they are limited by financial wherewithal and the human resources necessary to monitor and control the access, security, and activity of those devices.

CIOs and other IT professionals should consider all of these factors before finalizing an optimal solution to suit their typical organizational needs.