Is COPE the Answer to BYOD Concerns?

August 8, 2014, by Danielle Downs in Mobility, Video Conferencing

BYOD is a concept that exploded over the last 5 years with the consumerization of IT and the advancement of mobility strategies. Although employees quickly embraced the trend of being able to bring their own devices in to the workplace, IT quickly realized the implications and challenges of securing data and managing all these different devices. The answer to these concerns may be a shift to the mobility policy COPE; corporately owned personally enabled.

What is COPE?
It is often a compromise between security and control for IT and freedom and mobility for employees. When utilizing COPE, IT fully manages and controls the device but employees are able to install apps for their own personal use as well. For many organizations, this is a more manageable alternative to the BYOD trend where employees use their own smartphones and tablets to connect to a secure corporate network in the workplace. In order to determine which policy is better for your organization, here is some more information about COPE, and some of the pro’s and con’s of this type of mobile policy.

Is COPE more secure than BYOD?
COPE gives organizations more control over device policies and can wipe a phone clean if stolen. IT teams can also conduct automatic checks to watch for malware or other viruses.  Organizations can also install management software on the devices that help them to maintain security. However, as with BYOD there are still security risks when implementing a COPE policy.

COPE Pros

  • Legal: By utilizing a COPE policy, organizations have the right and authorization to pull data from a device if its misused and able to wipe a device easily if it is stolen or when the employee leaves the company.
  • Cost Savings: COPE allows organizations to control costs by taking advantage of corporate discounts for mobile plans and the ability to buy devices in bulk, which can offer sizeable concessions. 
  • Control: COPE gives an organization the ability to control which carriers and devices will be allowed on their network. This creates an easier job for IT by keeping the number of devices and carriers to a select few, minimizing the need to manage and control a wide variety of devices and services, which can make enforcing compliance and data security very difficult.

COPE Cons

  • Security: Although COPE can reduce security concerns, it does not rid all of the concerns that BYOD policies deal with.  Users can still get malware viruses from outside networks and that presents a risk when subsequently accessing a corporate network. This is why implementing a mobile device management service is very important.
  • Employee Satisfaction: Many employees would like to be able to choose their own preferred mobile devices and tablets. Therefore, if an organization does not offer that preferred type of device, it can frustrate employees.
  • Employee Control: There is a still a grey area of what control an employee has over their device when it comes to their personal apps. Many will ask if a company has the right to access passwords on app such as social networking sites or other personal accounts. Therefore, with COPE, an employees expectation of privacy is often questioned.

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