BYOD vs. COPE: Which Direction is Best?
Organizational leaders continue to consider whether it makes more sense to adopt a bring your own device (BYOD) methodology versus COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled).
A Hot Debate
Some research reveals organizational adoption trending toward BYOD—a November 2014 study conducted by Tech Pro Research reported that 74 percent of organizations already allow or plan to allow employees to bring their own devices to work. Others speculate that BYOD has peaked, and the topic is still hotly debated by thought leaders in the industry.
Looking forward to what comes of Blue Hill's COPE vs. BYOD showdown this summer.
Pros & Cons
Additional industry observers offer arguments for a return to corporate device ownership. For instance, freelance writer Robert Sheldon notes in a TechTarget article that the COPE model, “offers businesses a new way of acknowledging and embracing consumerization by giving some control back to IT without depriving users of devices that make them more productive.” Meanwhile, the “personally enabled” aspect of COPE loosens the corporate reigns a bit and allows employees to use corporate-owned devices for personal tasks as well, states Sheldon. Galen Gruman of InfoWorld suggests that a hybrid approach can also work. For instance, writes Gruman, mobile devices should be issued to employees for whom the use of a smartphone or a tablet is part of their required technology portfolio (e.g. field sales) and companies should cover their data charges. However, for those employees for whom the use of mobile devices enhances their performance but isn’t strictly required, BYOD may be the preferred option.
Does it all come down to security?
Companies in specific industries may prefer COPE over BYOD or vice versa for regulatory compliance or asset management purposes, yet the decision should come down to how senior management approaches reputational risk and legal comfort, adds Gruman. Although Sheldon and other COPE advocates raise valid arguments supporting the use of corporate-owned devices, BYOD is also here to stay, and it doesn't necessarily have to be an either/or issue. Nevertheless, IT and administrators continue to remain concerned about the use of employee-owned devices that contain sensitive customer and corporate data.
Protect Corporate Apps and Data
Regardless of the approach that’s favored by your organization, ultimately IT and administrators need to seek solutions that protect corporate apps and data. Mobile application management (MAM®) is the optimal solution for managing either environment. MAM protects corporate data by wrapping a shell app around each mobile app with detailed security and usage policies via app wrapping, and unlike mobile device management (MDM) technologies, MAM doesn't requiring the device itself be under IT's management. Not all MAM is created equal, so make sure you understand whether your solution was architected at the device- or app-level. When it comes to security, you can embrace either BYOD or COPE if you're securing and managing your apps with stand-alone mobile application management. Then you can make the BYOD vs. COPE decision based on what makes the most sense for your mobile workers.