Calling All Managers! Which model is best for your company – BYOD vs COPE? Part 2
Benefits of COPE
Unlike Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) which is, essentially, a personal device with space created on it for corporate use, the Corporate-Owned, Personally-Enabled (COPE) model provides the complete opposite by creating space for personal use on a fully managed corporate device.
The COPE model works mainly in the interest of the IT department and corporate security. The aim of this solution is to make it easier for IT to monitor and protect the multitude of devices while still providing the benefits of BYOD, such as freedom for employees to use them for personal purposes.
By allowing employees to choose from a list of preapproved devices, IT can set up effective device enrolment and application deployment processes, instead of the chaos of trying to support each and every device and operating system employees bring to work. It also gives them assertive control over which devices and data plans to provide and which carriers to support, given that it’s the company who will be paying the monthly usage costs.
Employees retain the ability to choose which devices they want to use, which services they want and which apps they want installed, but because the devices will be corporate-owned, IT can restrict these choices and how they are implemented, and manage the allowance employees have to spend on extra features.
IT departments are also in control of installing reliable, up-to-date management software and can apply patches and upgrades when needed. They have the power to enrol devices in Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) services more easily, so have greater control both technically and legally when it comes to protecting the company’s data since, as the legal owners, they retain the right to wipe the device remotely if it becomes compromised.
With the COPE model, there are also a number of cost-saving benefits, such as buying devices in bulk at a wholesale or reduced price, and paying for usage through a carrier’s shared voice and data plans.
Drawbacks of COPE
Every manager knows there can be a thin line between personal and business use and, as with BYOD, trying to get an entire organisation to agree on reasonable limits is nearly impossible. If employees feel they are being controlled within their personal space, you will no longer have happy workers and the solution will collapse.
However, the largest drawback centres on the financial details. All transactions must be meticulously monitored to ensure employees stay within their data and service plan allowances, and agreeing on who pays if they go over the cost threshold etc, can become a major issue. This can become a significant overhead for staff with other work to complete, especially for those companies who are global and have thousands of employees and/or insufficient IT resources.
COPE’s upfront capital costs present a substantial problem for the companies where corporate ownership isn’t on the cards – where they don’t offer BYOD stipends or pay for any enterprise mobility initiatives.
In the end, both models have their strengths and weaknesses. Both have security risks and management issues, and both can bring increased flexibility and improved productivity incentives.
While BYOD can have limited controls in place, IT will still have a difficult time trying to prevent employees downloading services and applications which could compromise security on their device. COPE goes further, by restricting the applications available for download and their implementation.
With both models, the positives are that employees will look after their own devices better as it contains their personal data too, will be more likely to keep their devices up-to-date, and they will also have a better understanding of how to operate and maintain them – all of which reduces the need for IT support. Productivity will increase as a result, leading to happier employees and, hopefully, happier managers.
However, the negatives include the increased need for EMM tools and policies governing compliance, security and usage, together with the increased dependency and pressure on IT support. The work/life balance can also become fragile with some users feeling obliged to work in their personal time at home, or alternatively, allowing their social lives to interfere while they are meant to be working.
EMM solutions can help keep personal and professional data separate and monitor device usage in order to protect the security of the company’s data and reduce the risks to the business. Ultimately, this speaks more to the COPE model, where control remains in the hands of the IT department.
COPE is slowly winning out over BYOD as companies see the value of keeping control yet still offering employees a range of options.
It’s clear that, whichever model you opt for, one of the most important things you’ll need to implement is a strong, clear policy defining acceptable conduct, work/life balance, restrictions on usage and costs, security and data management and the penalties which will be enforced if the policy is violated. A list of approved devices and services will be needed for COPE, with the proviso that the list is updated as needed.
Security protection is the key factor, so when choosing a model make sure you have an effective EMM solution in place to add protection to whichever policy you apply. Just make sure your employees are aware of this and the implications.
Thanks to Emma Griffin for the post !