Saturday, December 27, 2014
BYOD vs COPE
About The Author
Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.
A short while ago, Bring Your Own Device were the watchwords of the season that held all the promise, do you remember?
Those four words were going to solve all the problems of the clunky two-device problem — no longer were people going to carry both a personal phone and business phone. The functions of two devices could be rolled into one with those four magic words.
But now, two or three years after BYOD was first introduced, the honeymoon is over. The buzz has faded, and we're discovering that BYOD is not all it's cracked up to be.
Sure, BYOD has a lot going for it, such as the following:
• Cost Savings. The devices are bought, serviced, and retained by the employees, their owners. If something goes wrong with them, the cost lands on the employees' shoulders, not the enterprise's. The data is paid for by the employee as well — another cost the corporation won't have to bear.
• Improved Productivity. When a worker gets to use a device that they're familiar with, they will be happier, and work better with it. Not only that, but people can carry their jobs out from wherever they happen to be. Management can review emails on their tablets, salespeople can do their jobs while on the road, and just about anyone can keep in touch with their smartphone.
• Heightened Morale. Most people have strong preferences about what device they use. As above, they prefer to use something that they're familiar with. When a company tries to shoehorn their employees into using whatever device they've chosen for them, it can end in bad feelings if it's a poor fit.
At the same time, there's a lot going against BYOD:
• Data Ownership and Retrieval. In case an employee leaves the company, how is data erasure and/or retrieval handled? This can become a problem if not handled quickly. If your top salesman leaves for your competitor, and you don't erase his contacts fast, then he's got your entire client database to go with him.
• Proliferation of Devices. The sheer number of devices out there is making the "promise of BYOD" almost undeliverable. There are literally millions of iterations of Android devices, plus all the different versions of the OS — that's creating a serious nightmare for IT. The line has to be drawn somewhere.
• Data Security. The biggest nut to crack in a BYOD environment is security. You've got to have policies, minimum security measures, mobile application management (MAM), mobile data management (MDM), and more. This can be a big minefield you're walking into, especially if you're in an industry that requires you protect your data in certain ways, such as HIPAA, GLBA or PCI DSS.
Now along comes COPE, to save the day, like a shining knight from the West. COPE stands for Company Owned, Personally Enabled. This means that the company gets to leverage its buying power to get great deals on mass quantities of devices it hopes its employees will like. The employees then get their choice of whatever the enterprise happens to have bought. The company owns these devices and pays for the data plan (perhaps with some input from the employees), and the workers get to use the devices for work and for personal use both.
Everyone's happy, right?
Well, for the most part, yes.
One of the biggest negative points that I see to COPE is that people don't like to be forced into using one device or another. People like to make their own choices. Well, I'm speaking for myself here; maybe you don't mind being told what device to use. But I'm an individualist, so I suppose your mileage may vary, as they say.
That said, COPE tends to work pretty well: Workers take care of the devices just as if they owned them. They're treated quite well. And IT is happy because the COPE model allows for pooled billing, for minutes and data as well.
This model also offers heightened security for a lower cost than with BYOD. Your enterprise can protect and monitor its devices, control costs, and easily wipe a device in case of a theft or misplacement.
Legally speaking, there is less liability. An employer can wipe out a device's data whenever it wants to, simply because it owns the device. The employee has no recourse to complain; if they want backups, then they need to create them on their own.
Lastly, COPE works the best for both parties when the employer is a large company that requires the majority of their employees to have mobile devices. Additionally, that enterprise will have to have a transparent usage policy. Not only that, but their company culture should be filled with trust for their employees, and vice versa.
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