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COPE vs. BYOD: Which mobile strategy is right for your business?

BYOD Vs. CopeBy Anna Morrish

Do you know which mobile strategy is right for your business?

Two key mobile strategies include COPE (Corporate Owned Personally Enabled Device) and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Both offer a lot to employees and businesses, but which mobile strategy is right for your business?

In this blog post, I explain the benefits of each mobile strategy and what you should consider before selecting one.

Reasons to Choose COPE

Businesses who implement a COPE mobile strategy benefit from:

Complete Control: You retain full control of the devices you choose to supply, meaning you have the ability to wipe the device if it is lost or stolen, increasing the security of your data.

Approved Software: Pre-approved software installed onto the devices improves the secure access to business systems and data. Users can be provided with unique passwords and access rights according to their job role.

Cost Savings: Buying devices in bulk at a wholesale or reduced price, along with paying for usage through shared plans can result in significant savings.

Increased Access to Data: You can significantly increase the efficiency of your workforce if they are supplied with the latest technology and have access to business data any time, anywhere.

2014 research by Azzurri Communications found "93 percent of businesses have seen an increase in the productivity of their workforce when using mobile devices out of the office.”

Improved Employee Relations: By trusting employees to respect and use the devices for professional and personal reasons, you can significantly improve staff retention as employees feel valued.

Issues to consider

COPE provides a lot of benefits, but it can be a risky strategy.

If employees feel they are being controlled or spied on within their personal space, they will feel restricted and the solution will collapse.

“Complete control” refers to the mobile device and how business data is accessed but employees still need their freedom.

As stated by Adam Ely on Securityweek.com, “The feeling of control that COPE offers is an illusion.

Even if organisations provide users with the newest and best devices, if they don’t give users the freedom to choose their devices, users will bring their own device.

The time and money spent to manage corporate-owned devices is substantial. Therefore a failed implementation can be costly.

Reasons to Choose BYOD

A recent YouGov poll in the UK found that, “The average British household now owns 7.4 internet devices”.

For this reason, many business professionals using their own devices for work purposes.

Businesses who chose a BYOD strategy benefit from:

Increased Productivity: Allowing employees to use the devices they prefer and enabling them to work from anywhere, anytime can improve response times.

Those who allow their workforce to use their personal mobile devices can benefit from a 30 percent increase in productivity.

Easy Implementation: If employees are able to use their own devices that they know and love, there is a reduced need for training and adoption is likely to be higher.

Increased Retention: Research from Cisco found that BYOD resulted in a 33 percent increase in employee satisfaction. By trusting employees to use what they own, you can increase employee retention.

No Cost to the Business: There is no initial overhead making BYOD great for start-ups or businesses that do not have the spare money to support strategies such as COPE.

Less Strain on IT: BYOD reduces the burden on IT staff as each employee is entrusted with maintaining and updating their own devices.

Issues to consider

For businesses who want to maintain control over data security, it is important to create and publish a BYOD policy that informs everyone about the dangers and laws attributed to business data and security.

A report by Intel found even though many business owners and IT managers feel there are added security threats if employees use their own devices, almost half of IT managers strongly agree that BYOD has had a positive impact on the output of workers.

However, controlling access via the multitude of devices can be difficult, and some devices may not support the software required to access business data remotely, which limits your ability to implement a company-wide mobile enablement strategy.

BYOD policies and their management must be thorough in order to meet data protection laws.

Choosing the right mobile strategy for your business

Whichever solution you choose, it is important that your company policies clearly outline each aspect of your chosen mobile strategy.

To ensure adoption, acceptance from both the employer and the employee and trust in this strategy are essential.

Philippe Winthrop wrote on TheEMF.org that, “…COPE can and should co-exist with BYOD. The thing is, companies want to simplify their mobile initiatives, not continue to complicate them.”

He goes on to say, “I would argue that companies should consider adopting one approach as opposed to providing multiple options. Both BYOD and COPE have their pros and cons.”

About Anna

Anna Morrish is a marketing executive from DMCSoftware.co.uk, who are a dynamic Sage business partner.You can connect with Anna on LinkedIn