BYOD Or COPE? Still No ‘Silver Bullet’ For Enterprise Mobility

Contributor: Devyn Amara
Posted: 08/02/2017

Now that business can be conducted from almost anywhere in the world, enterprise mobility is on the rise, and IT decision makers are shifting more and more to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach. On the other hand, Corporately Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) enterprises are still globally prevalent.

As previously reported by Enterprise Mobility Exchange, security is the biggest concern in a BYOD scenario. In the report titled, “Industry Insight 2017: The State of Enterprise Mobility,” only 17 percent of IT executives have adopted a BYOD platform in their enterprise. Additionally, some organizations have used BYOD, then reverted back to COPE, despite its much higher cost.

It’s well-known that poor user experience can quickly lead to device or software abandonment, which has a clear impact on the BYOD vs. COPE scenario. User experience can impact employee satisfaction and productivity, which ultimately affects the company’s revenue as well. One caveat is the greater user experience often tends to lead to a wider security risk.

Technology advances day to day. This results in a wide variety of devices available to BYOD users, thus making it harder for IT departments to set specific regulations for those devices.

Ryan Martin, Principal Analyst at ABI Research, weighed in on the topic. “The increasing diversity of devices entering the enterprise puts pressure on the IT organization to refine policy and procedure in a way that protects proprietary process and system information without negatively impacting employee productivity.”

According to Gina Matteucci of MSI Data, BYOD improves employee performance, satisfaction and efficiency in the workplace. Conversely, Matteucci states that even though BYOD increases employee satisfaction, the high security risk associated with the method causes some companies to shy away from implementing a BYOD-only strategy.

Martin believes that despite using either method (BYOD or COPE) there is no one way to secure data within an enterprise due to the unpredictability of users, whether intended or not. It's the human element component - without malicious intent - that creates security issues for either platform.

“The BYOD vs. COPE conversation ultimately comes down to minimizing security concerns related to the ‘human element,’” Martin said. “And for this, there isn’t a silver bullet.”

Industries that benefit most from COPE platforms are those in the highly regulated sectors such as banking, government, and healthcare. “If the business has apps and data that will be used by the employee and it requires a controlled environment, then COPE can be a necessity,” said Mark Bowker, Analyst with ESG Research. “Think of airline pilots that are regulated by the FAA… air carriers need that device to meet a certain set of standards.”

Aside from industry regulations, in-house security measures imposed by the IT department can also make COPE a better choice.

“For the IT team, COPE assures a baseline of functionality necessary to enable sufficient application and services performance while maintaining security policies in line with corporate,” said Jeff Orr, Research Director with ABI Research.

While security should be a foremost concern when pursuing a mobile platform, uniformity is also a major component to keeping productivity at its highest.

“Device support can be another issue as new devices hit the market at a rapid pace across a variety of platforms,” Bowker said. “Standardizing with COPE can help with support issues, user experience and can also have economic advantages. Businesses have better control with COPE and can meter usage, cost and productivity without having to manage corporate apps and data on personal devices.”

Organizations will continuing to grapple with the decision, along with employees, some of whom are forced to carry multiple devices to keep work and life separate. Take a look inside the mobile worlds of three separate professionals who are bound by their enterprise’s device policies by clicking here.

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Devyn Amara
Contributor: Devyn Amara