COPE - An alternative to BYOD

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work is a topic receiving a huge amount of airplay at the moment and has become a major talking point in corporate IT departments. Primarily this is being driven by the power, design and affordability of personal technology devices, such as smartphones and tablets that are seen by workers as often more useful and certainly more desirable than their corporate counterparts.

Security is a concern when implementing BYOD

However, some organisations worry about BYOD and the security of the organisations data: "Implementing appropriate security model for non-corporate devices" is the second-highest challenge in Logicalis' recent BYOD survey. Despite well-documented benefits in terms of staff motivation, productivity and reduction of costs, for some types of organisation such as government departments and financial organisations, losing “control” over devices, applications and data security may seem a step too far.
Nonetheless, the demand from users for these mobile devices is virtually unstoppable and rather than try and prevent it, some organisations are turning to a new concept called Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE).

COPE: Delivering the best of both worlds.
Under a BYOD model, staff that are authorised to be part of the program, elect to use their own devices rather than those supplied by the organisation to connect to the corporate network and perform their work tasks. Some BYOD models call for staff to fund device purchases 100%, in other cases the cost of the device is subsidised by the company, but the underlying point is that the individual owns the device, not the organisation.
Under a COPE model the organisation owns the device rather than the individual and enables a communications and collaboration framework and set of policies that facilitates personal as well as professional use of the device, for example a stable of approved applications for Smartphones and Tablets.

In the COPE framework IT departments are able to satisfy the overwhelming demand for personal devices in the workforce but still exert some control over the device choice, mobile device management, access to the corporate network and data. By managing the choice of devices, network access and applications the cost of supporting users is also more controllable as the environment is more predictable.
BYOD offers costs benefits to organisations if it can shift the device purchase costs to the user. Often organisations will reimburse all or part of the device cost so the real savings maybe more modest than at first glance. COPE can also offer some substantial cost benefits in some circumstances, as it allows organisations to exert its often-significant purchasing power to drive down average device purchasing costs.

Keeping data secure in a highly mobile environment is a concern for IT departments. COPE makes dealing with these challenges more straightforward. If the company owns the device, it can wipe, restore and backup data and, since they can preconfigure the device before handing it to employee, IT can easily insert security and application-management policies. Which isn’t to say that mitigating data security risks isn’t possible in a BYOD environment, but its probably fair to say its more complex and a greater departure from current practices.

COPE reduces the change management burden
When implementing BYOD, rewriting company policies and procedures involving the HR and legal departments has been an early and time-consuming part of an effective roll out. With COPE, this burden is likely to be lower. Whilst some amendments are likely, it will be from existing policies and procedures rather than a more fundamental rewrite required to accommodate a BYOD framework.

COPE holds out the prospect of a more conservative profile for those organisations where full BYOD seems a step too far but still allows the employees access to the well-documented advantages of integrating personal and work use on the single device.

Tags Digital Transformation, BYOD, BYOD security, COPE, consumer devices, IT consumerisation


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