BYOD, CYOD, or COPE: Which Mobile Model Should Your Business Choose?

Mobility isn’t just a fad; it’s a firm reality in the modern workplace. BYOD or “bring your own device” was coined in 2005 and went into common use in 2009 when Intel realized employees were bringing their own devices to the workplace and connecting them to company data. Many companies were not properly prepared for the challenges BYOD posed for IT and management, so its popularity took a slight dive as security breaches and legal implications became a real threat. Eventually, companies morphed the fine print, fine-tuned the budget, and came up with two additional mobile options: CYOD (choose your own device) and COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled).

Here are the three mobile-models for the workplace, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

In this environment, employees assume full responsibility for choosing and purchasing the device(s) they want to use for work. This is a popular choice for small to midsize businesses (SMBs) on a budget, and is a better option for companies that deal with less sensitive data.

Advantages: Lowest hardware and service costs, fastest deployment time, minimum wireless carrier management requirements, most convenient option for employees.

Disadvantages: Higher configuration costs, difficult to enforce security (leading to enhanced legal implications), more complex support definitions.

CYOD (Choose Your Own Device)

This model has emerged as a direct result of BYOD. Many companies’ IT departments have trouble managing the software, hardware, and possible security breaches caused by the multitude of employee devices in the workplace. With the CYOD model, employees choose from a limited selection of approved, corporate-liable devices with the pre-configured security and control that IT needs to protect company data. Similar to BYOD, the employee is responsible for purchasing the device, but the company usually owns the SIM and the legal rights to the data.

Advantages: Streamlined support and easier management, convenient option for employees, IT control over applications and remote-wipe capabilities, more secure option, lower upfront costs for business when compared to COPE.

Disadvantages: Less employee freedom with device choice, slower deployment than BYOD, less defined responsibilities for hardware repair, more up-front costs for businesses when compared to BYOD.

COPE (Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled)

This is the most expensive yet most secure option for companies. With COPE, employees are supplied a phone chosen and paid for by the company, but they may use the device for personal tasks in addition to work. The main difference between this model and CYOD is tighter legal control (searching the device for intellectual properly theft is more straightforward), and corporate discounts on the devices and usage plans.

Advantages: Ultimate IT control and authority of devices, best option for companies with heavy compliance or security requirements, low to no cost for employees, sizable corporate discounts are available.

Disadvantages: Less freedom on devices, business is fully responsible for maintaining and monitoring, detailed usage policies must be implemented, highest cost of all models, slowest deployment time frame.

Bottom Line

BYOD, CYOD, and COPE each have advantages and disadvantages within the workplace, and every business has varying needs as far as security, costs, and resources are concerned. Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of employers will require employees to supply their own devices. For the other half, CYOD and COPE offer a realistic option for meeting those essential mobility needs. Whichever way you decide to go, make sure you have the proper policies in place to keep your data secure and your employees satisfied.

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