Mobile devices are essential tools for any modern business. As much as they facilitate employees’ work, they also provoke significant concerns regarding costs, applications compatibility and most importantly security of data.
Companies differ in the approach they take to this issue. The main dispute arises with the question of whether to allow employees use enterprise devices for personal purposes. Several factors like employees’ satisfaction, efficiency of their work, right for privacy play its role here. One of the trends that’s becoming popular recently is BYOD. The acronym stands for “Bring Your Own Device” and means the use of own devices for professional purposes.
Other models include COBO (Company Owned, Business Only), COPE (Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled). Some devices that should serve specific purpose, work best in the COSU mode (Corporate Owned, Single Use). Each of those configurations have some pros and cons. It’s up to you (or your IT manager) to decide which fits your company best.
Main difference between BYOD and Company Owned approaches lies in the level of integration and control over devices. Companies that allow their employees to use personal devices in work have obviously limited control. People value their privacy and aren’t eager to put someone else in command of their tablets or phones. An antidote to that can be containerization, i.e. creating a separate space for business related matters on a device.
Containerization can also be a part of COPE model which can be a good alternative for BYOD approach. Company provides devices for employees, keeps the control, but allows to use them outside of work. IT department keeps the steering wheel by restricting some apps or monitoring device usage. That ensures security of sensitive data but also give workers freedom to use devices within defined policies.
Sometimes organizations want devices to be used only for business tasks. This approach is described as COBO. In this model many functions of the device can be blocked. Users might for example be prohibited from installing any apps, using a camera or bluetooth connection. Most of the settings are pre-defined and cannot be changed. COSU takes things even further. In this case device is designed to serve a single purpose. Examples of COSU devices can be queue management kiosks or self-service points of sale.
Discussions around potential management models are very vivid. All of them bring certain benefits, but at the same time prompt valid challenges. Main advantage of BYOD approach are reduced costs. Although some companies introduce stipends for BYOD users, most expenses related to buying new devices are transferred to employees. And since they know their own devices, companies don’t have to put an effort and money into training. It is also more convenient. People don’t have to carry additional device and can work remotely from basically everywhere.
Different price, however, has to be paid. In BYOD model, security of data is a serious concern. If the device is lost or stolen, company might lack tool to protect files stored on it. Variety of devices used by workers can also be quite troublesome for your IT staff. Adaptation of proper usage policy is essential in this case. Precise security principles, applications blacklist and clear security rules might be the keys to smoothly integrate your organisation with BYOD philosophy.
In COPE model situation is quite similar. It still gives workers privilege to use the devices outside of work at the same time upholding higher security standards. Uniformity of devices your employees work on is definitely a relief for system administrators, since they don’t have to deal with various OSes and hardware. With new integration methods like Samsung’s KME or Apple’s DEP, devices are ready for work straight out of the box.
Suitable usage and security policies set clear boundaries for end-users. Together with EMM software they guarantee organization an accurate authority to protect any confidential information. COPE approach also eliminates some legal concerns. Since the device is owned by the company, system administrator has every right to access or wipe it if needed. COPE isn’t of course ideal solution. It forces the organization to maintain devices up-to-date, replace obsolete phones or tablets and require proactive attitude to keep up with technological innovations.
On the far side of the spectrum lies the COBO mode. In this approach company takes full control over the device. Employees are not allowed to use it for any non-work activities. It might be effective in branches that deal with a lot of sensitive data such as finances. System administrators decide which features and apps are tolerated, so the risk of unauthorized access is limited. Unfortunately, this approach deprives users of any flexibility. Not only they have to carry an additional device, but also cannot profit from all the advantages that comes from cloud based technologies.
Last but not least we have the COSU mode. It really works only for specific types of devices. COSU basically means that devices are working in kiosk mode, so only one app is accessible for users. It requires some preparations to make the device user-friendly and avoid any security breaches but in many ways it can facilitate your organization’s work.
Before you decide which mobility management model is best for your company, think about your priorities. Security of your company’s data is important, surely, as is your employees’ well-being. If you want to care about both, you have to be flexible and look for the right proportions.
BYOD philosophy can work best in smaller companies or start-ups that put employees’ work comfort at first place. On the other hand we have sectors such as public services, which require highest transparency and can benefit greatly with COBO style of management. And there is always something in-between as well.
When it comes to managing mobile devices there is no universal solution. Choosing best strategy is basically finding perfect balance between employees’ privacy and company’s security. However, with efficient policy and good EMM software you don’t have to resign from any of them.
You can read more about potential solutions for different management models in FAMOC Knowledge Base. Learn how to configure BYOD, COBO, COPE and COSU models using the functionalities available in FAMOC.