Is COPE the right mobile strategy for your organization?

The crystallization of the bring-your-own-device movement continues across a variety of industries. What was once a trending technological fad is now a standard in the business world. Of course, analysts predicted this outcome long ago. Back in 2013, those working for Gartner projected that more than half of all organizations would institute mandatory BYOD policies by this year. Considering the popularity of the mobile methodology, it is likely that adoption has at least surpassed this mark.

Of course, some organizations may never join the BYOD bandwagon due to data security or privacy concerns. What can these businesses stuck on the outside looking in do to keep up with mobile-ready competitors? Adopt an alternative methodology. Many businesses unable to take full advantage of BYOD have turned to corporately-owned, personally-enabled mobile strategies. Why? This approach offers the same benefits as BYOD but without some of the drawbacks.

Understanding COPE
COPE has been around just as long as BYOD, rising to prominence during the enterprise mobile revolution in the late 2000s and early 2010s, Wired reported. Companies with COPE policies purchase mobile devices for their employees but allow workers to use them for both personal and professional matters, according to TechTarget. In most cases, these strategies apply to mobile devices of all kinds, including laptop computers, smartphones and tablets.

The benefits of COPE
This methodology offers a variety of benefits. For one, COPE is cost-effective for both the organization and individual employees. In most cases, businesses can purchase devices wholesale, allowing them to avoid exorbitant off-the-shelf retail prices. Of course, employees are free from paying for their electronics altogether. Additionally, COPE strategies give businesses more control over their devices, which makes it easier to secure them via mobile device management and mobile application management software.

"COPE offers the same benefits as BYOD but without the some of the drawbacks."

While BYOD offers a number of enticing benefits, it also presents numerous data security challenges. The primary problem is that businesses cannot effectively monitor and manage the personal devices used in these strategies due to privacy concerns. This, in turn, leaves such fixtures vulnerable to cyberattacks that could compromise both company and personal data. Of course, this is only one of the many security-related scenarios BYOD adopters must address. Another common complication involves information technology policies surrounding employee departure, CIO reported. How do businesses secure precious company data when BYOD users move on? Device wiping programs might work in theory but implementing them in the real world is another matter.

These problems do not exist with COPE. Organizations can easily manage company-owned devices with remote monitoring software. And when the time comes for users to depart, internal IT teams have the full authority to protect proprietary information.

Candidates for COPE
COPE is essentially open to any business willing to go through with adoption. However, enterprises pursuing the mobile strategy should be prepared for some of the ancillary support requirements. For instance, the IT department should have the budget required to obtain devices for employees – an essential step on the road to COPE implementation. More importantly, internal technical specialists must have the IT infrastructure needed to facilitate MDM and MAM software, as these tools are critical for proper device monitoring and security operations.

Organizations without the networking components required to run these systems should first consider embarking on IT modernization prior to implementing COPE strategies.

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