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BYOD vs. COPE: Which is Better?

Successful female banker using smartphone outdoors while standing near his office background yellow neon lights, young woman professional manager working on mobile device near skyscraper at night

Driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the business landscape has experienced a drastic shakeup, with a shift toward remote and hybrid environments that has changed how we work.

Did you know that 12% of the workforce works fully remotely, while 28% operate in hybrid environments? These new working patterns come with benefits like more freedom and flexibility, but they also pose unique challenges for both employers and workers. 

In particular, the debate over Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) vs. Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) has heated up. Regardless of your business’s chosen model, the need to secure and protect your devices remains the same. In this article, we will discuss how each policy works and the pros and cons of each. 

BYOD, COPE, CYOD & COBO: An Overview

Mobile devices are vital components of most businesses. While remote working hasn’t created the BYOD, COPE, CYOD, and COBO approaches, it has intensified the debate over which one works best for managing how devices are utilized in the workplace.

Post-pandemic, mobile devices have become even more critical to the day-to-day operations of every business. These changes are quickly being exploited by cybercriminals, which is why 2022 saw a 38% increase in global attacks

The number of endpoints has increased to access the expanded network edge. They have to be protected. Yet 83% of companies continue to use BYOD models in some form, leaving them vulnerable to crisis. 

When choosing between BYOD vs. COPE or COPE vs. CYOD, a thorough understanding of each model is essential to making the right decision for your business.

What is BYOD and What Does BYOD Stand for? 

BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, is the most well-known policy because of its popularity among businesses. Companies utilizing BYOD allow employees to bring personal devices to the office and use them to complete their work. 

Some companies require approval of each device, and employees must consent to have an agent or application that allows security control from a central management system. However, the employee is still ultimately responsible for keeping their devices safe. 

So, why does BYOD remain the most popular system used by companies? In short, it requires the least outlay in cash and resources because employees use their own devices. There’s no need to purchase smartphones, tablets, or laptops for employee use. While this is undoubtedly the most cost-effective solution, it’s also the least secure. According to one study, 61% of SMEs in the UK experienced a cyber security incident after implementing a BYOD policy. 

So, while this might initially seem like the most straightforward option, this policy will leave your business open to threats because you don’t have total control over your endpoints. 

What is COPE?

On the other side of the spectrum is the COPE device. It stands in direct contrast to a BYOD device because it’s a policy that maintains complete ownership and control of all devices from the company’s perspective. 

The enterprise pays for the initial investment and the operating costs. Under the Corporate Owned Personally Enabled system, users can personalize their devices by customizing the interface and downloading non-work applications. Still, the key is that anything of substance, such as security arrangements, remains in the company’s hands. 

As part of a COPE system, all mobile devices are pre-configured to enhance and bolster security, making them the easiest to secure. Essentially, you’re locking down every device before an employee touches them. 

In contrast to BYOD, COPE provides less freedom for your workforce, but this is offset by the fact that you are taking the guesswork out of device security and usage. 

What is CYOD?

CYOD, or Choose Your Own Device, is a policy that enables employees to select from a range of pre-approved mobile devices. Like the COPE model, all devices are pre-configured with business applications and security protocols before being distributed. 

Depending on the company, ownership may be transferred to the employee or maintained by the business. In the former case, the company typically pays the initial costs, upfront. 

CYOD is viewed as the middle ground between BYOD and more stringent policies. It still offers employees a certain degree of freedom because they can choose their devices. Furthermore, enterprises can maintain device compatibility and install various security applications in advance.

What is COBO?

COBO stands for Company Owned / Business Only; unlike more lenient policies, COBO bans all personal use outright. 

Each device is pre-configured with the necessary protocols and business applications. It may even be locked out of app stores to prevent non-work-related applications from being installed. 

Under most COBO policies, the device’s ownership remains in the business’s hands, meaning they also cover both upfront and ongoing costs. 

Note that a COBO device may not be a smartphone or tablet in some circles. Instead, it could pertain to a device running only a single application, such as an embedded barcode scanner used for inventory.

COBO policies are most commonly found within highly regulated industries like defense, healthcare, and government.

Why COPE is Better than BYOD

Most companies will opt for BYOD or COPE. So, when comparing BYOD vs. COPE, which should you choose? 

In practically every case, COPE offers a considerable number of advantages when compared to legacy BYOD systems. While BYOD is technically cheaper and provides employees with more freedom, security risks could cost a company a lot of money. 

COPE is better than BYOD for running remote, hybrid, and in-office work environments for a variety of reasons:

Better Overall Security

Security is the primary advantage of opting for COPE devices within your business. Since every device is under your control, you can install security protocols, pre-configure each device, and make changes when needed. 

This is neither possible nor effective when allowing employees to use private devices. In fact, 72% of companies lack any plan to secure BYOD devices, essentially making it a matter of time until a security breach occurs. 

Protecting all endpoints protects the company network. A potential breach of one can affect many.

Consistency Across the Network

IT teams consistently struggle to keep up with evolving security threats. Under a BYOD policy, employees could carry iOS, Android, and Windows devices. With COPE policies, IT teams or your mobility provider have specific policies to protect each device and system. A consistent program is what ultimately prevents unanticipated security vulnerabilities from appearing.

Reduce the Burden on Your IT Team

Shipping, device configuration, enrollment, recycling, assigning new numbers—and more—requires a lot of work from the IT team. Whenever a device breaks or requires an update or a new employee joins the team, it strains your IT unit. 

Relying on an external mobility provider is a cost-effective way to procure devices, get them to employees, update, optimize and monitor usage so IT teams can refocus on other technology efforts unrelated to mobility.

Increased Productivity

The utilization of softphones for collaboration has increased productivity in almost every organization. But with devices under company control, lost equipment and security incidents no longer have to be so impactful to the business. Employees are back, up and running without significant disruption to their day-to-day. 

Company Compatibility

Compatibility is a significant issue for businesses operating BYOD policies. Some apps, especially business-specific apps, may need to be equipped to run on different operating systems and software versions. Preconfigured devices with a COPE program ensure every device is equipped with application needs for the business. IT and the mobility provider serve as support/helpdesk.

Usage Monitoring

One of the biggest benefits of a COPE program is the tracking and monitoring of device usage, spend and carrier use. This practice enables you to comprehensively understand how devices are being utilized, identify instances of unauthorized networks and proactively monitor the company network. 

Personnel Changes

Company additions or the deletion of accounts, migrating phone numbers or account changes are easily done through a portal when it comes to COPE and the mobility provider. When employees leave the organization, rest assured company data does not leave with them. Secure device wipe and lockdown are some of the many security benefits of company-owned devices.

MetTel’s Mobile Device as a Service (MDaaS)

To account for the work from anywhere environment, MetTel created Mobile Device as a Service, which bundles traditional enterprise mobility management services for better pricing and additional resources. As a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), MetTel resells wireless communications services at significantly less cost than major carrier networks. We operate and enable cellular plans and handle technical support as a managed network services firm. Security, little competing network traffic for decreased latency and jitter are some major benefits of utilizing MetTel for connectivity.

Mobile Device as a Service is a fully managed wireless service that covers the entire lifecycle of secure enterprise mobility. MDaaS is the answer for companies looking to maintain daily operations, enabling mobile network access to applications and services regardless of where employees are working. It solves for managing and activating all company devices, IT support, streamlining device types, plans and carriers, recycling and shipping equipment to employees. MDaaS was designed to free organizations from the burden of device and plan management with lower mobility costs and greater organizational efficiencies.

Key components of MetTel Mobile Device as a Service include:

  • Cross-carrier access and pooling, including partnerships with the top wireless carriers in the U.S. and Canada
  • Access to MetTel’s award-winning 24/7/365 Customer Support
  • Access to MetTel’s award-winning Customer Portal with API access
  • 98% automated service from order to delivery, powered by AI
  • Device staging & kitting with MDM Support
  • Accessories & device protection included
  • Secure device recycling

Connect Smarter with MetTel

Keeping your business connected while managing a hybrid or remote workforce is critical to running a smooth operation. Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled mobility programs make the most sense in today’s work environment.

MetTel’s enterprise mobility solutions are expertly managed by a team of industry professionals dedicated to helping you work smarter. 

To learn more about the benefits of MDaaS and how to get started, contact MetTel today.

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