Mobile device policy: COPE versus CYOD

By Scott Steinberg

Every modern-day enterprise should have a mobile device policy in place. After all, more employees are going mobile in today’s wireless world, and these workers are in need of portable productivity solutions.

There are many different operating models for managing portable electronics in the workplace, so organizations must determine which one works best for them and their needs. Two popular models are corporate-owned, personally enabled (COPE) solutions and choose-your-own-device (CYOD) plans.

Under CYOD programs, employees are allowed to utilize personal mobile devices to access enterprise systems and data. These types of programs are becoming more popular over time.

The more traditional alternative is a COPE mobile device policy model, wherein organizations provide employees with dedicated mobile devices to complete business tasks.

COPE programs

Enterprises that are operating under COPE programs allow their employees to utilize corporate devices for personal purposes, such as sending emails, sharing social network updates and downloading photos or videos. These policies allow organizations to maintain control over the way in which the connected devices interact with business IT systems and operations. Devices operating under the COPE system are essentially designed as tools for work, and they can be tightly regulated and controlled as such.

Corporate-owned device policies provide several benefits, such as:

  • The ability to actively manage and control if and when a device can access particular apps, sites, services, networks and solutions.
  • The opportunity to wipe a device of any corporate data when an employee loses his or her device or parts ways with the organization.
  • The chance to incorporate controls on the device that determine how applications, networks and IT systems can be utilized remotely, and whether specific information can be retrieved in certain scenarios.

CYOD programs

Many similar restraints can be placed upon CYOD devices depending on the specific interfaces provided to employees for accessing online data, software and services. Employees have more freedom to use personal devices to access organizational data.

Download Gartner report on managed mobility services

CYOD policies also have various benefits, such as:

  • Cost savings: Under these types of plans, enterprises don’t have to purchase new devices for workers or pay for ongoing data usage plans.
  • Greater personalization: Employees are free to customize and manage base features on their personal devices.
  • Increased flexibility: Workers who are given the opportunity to customize how their devices operate and interface with information are often capable of achieving greater levels of output, as they’re not constrained by having to work within tightly-controlled parameters.

How can you determine which policy is best for your unique needs?

When making this decision, you should take the following factors into account:

  • Finances
  • Security
  • Productivity
  • Connectivity
  • IT infrastructure

When trying to find the right balance, you should think about how and where your employees are most likely to use their mobile devices, and the context in which this usage most often takes place.

Written By

Scott Steinberg

Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author

Award-winning professional speaker, Scott Steinberg, is a bestselling expert on leadership and innovation, and the author of Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty. Among today’s top-rated international speakers…

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