16 Aug

Mobility Solutions: CYOD, BYOD, COPE & COBO Simplified

Working styles and workforces are being revolutionized. As we move toward 2020, companies are focusing on effective mobility solutions to enable their staff to work in the way they want and need.

Staff being ‘chained to the desk’ is no longer an option for most companies. Employees need to be able to work on the move, from different locations, and in more efficient ways. This is a wonderful era of freedom and choice for staff. A time where they can opt for their preferred OS and device style at work, instead of simply accepting whatever is provided ‘as standard’..

For IT admins, the range of operating systems and device types can create some serious logistical and security related challenges. With Mac OS, Windows, Android and IoT systems, managing all can be a task in itself.

This is why we developed an easier approach, and in this very article will be exploring how to effectively incorporate mobile systems using the CYOD, BYOD, COPE, and COBO approaches. Of course, if you are not familiar with these terms, we will also be explaining them in more detail and covering what you need to know for your business.

Why Your Company Needs Effective Mobility Solutions

As things are progressing, almost every type of business is needing to get online in some form or another. Businesses are becoming more connected through the web, and as this progresses, the workforce is demanding more mobility and freedom to do their work as effectively and as comfortably as possible.

So, let’s look at some reasons why mobility is important to modern business:

  • Flexible WorkforceMobile devices allow staff to contribute from anywhere and at any time.
  • Happy Staff – Being free from the desk and able to work remotely in effective ways has been proven to make staff happier.
  • Communication – Mobile devices make collaboration and communication easier and with less errors.
  • Flexible Company – Having ‘real time’ communications and data, can allow the company to adapt to new situations faster.
  • Data – Available where you need it, and when you need it.
  • Productivity – Mobile solutions have been proven to increase efficiency and productivity in the workplace when implemented effectively.
  • Mobile Possibilities – Mobile software and hardware has already reached the point of where they can perform most tasks, many of which are actually easier on a mobile device and some are not possible to do on a desktop computer.

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Happier staff, flexible employees, and better productivity and efficiency are some of the main reasons companies are transitioning to mobile devices.

CYOD Benefits and Challenges in Offering Mobility Solutions

CYOD means to ‘Choose Your Own Device’ and allows employees to pick the devices that they prefer to use. This is something that most employees welcome. Some company IT personnel, however, may not be happy about CYOD, if they are not provided the tools they need to manage all devices and systems effectively.

Productivity boosts come not only from the mobility factor, but also from familiarity of systems and device usage. If you’ve been a Windows 10 user for years, switching to a Mac OS may drastically reduce your productivity for a while, as you need to learn the new system.

It is all about taking what we like to use and what fits our style of working, then adapting that to increase productivity and efficiency within the company. These portable devices can be company owned (often with specialist setups), or staff are permitted to use their own personal equipment, such as phones and tablets.

Controlling and protecting company data is priority, and that becomes a lot more challenging when multiple devices and systems come into play, especially when devices that are not owned by the company are used for work.

Both company owned mobility solutions and personal equipment will normally need some way in which the company can control what business information is accessible and how. However, with personally owned devices, restricting use becomes an issue. Yet, unrestricted access could cause a data breach if malware or a hacker got into the tablet, phone, or laptop.

This then becomes a tricky balancing act between the increased productivity that workforce mobility provides, and need of security for all company data stored on devices that often leave the workplace.

CYOD Benefits

Some of the benefits of CYOD are:

  • Familiar OS
  • Familiar device
  • Increased Productivity
  • Increased Efficiency
  • Happy Staff
  • Mobility

CYOD Challenges

CYOD isn’t perfect and has some setup challenges:

  • Security Setups
  • Restricting Company Data Access – without reducing usability of personal devices
  • Number of Device Choices
  • Updating and managing all devices across all OSs
  • Monitoring Use and Work – particularly if devices are personal
  • Creating Usable ‘Secure Areas’ on Devices – such as remote access desktops and virtualized systems. 

This is why, for the CYOD strategy, many companies needing to keep data secure will opt for devices which they supply to staff – so long as they have the available budget. 

This way, devices can be setup with custom systems and restrictions. Staff may still use their personal devices, depending on company policy.

It can also be good for staff, as normally the company will foot the bills, including insurance and mobile network plans.

If someone quits, owning the device is a positive as the company can recall devices and be reasonably sure that their information is secure.

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Incorporating BYOD into Enterprise Mobility Solutions

BYOD is where employees are told to ‘Bring Your Own Device’. For new companies and those with lower budgets, this might seem like a cost effective solution.

Computer trends are showing that “nearly half (49%) of organizations allow employees to choose their mobile device” according to the Jamf report.

However, the problem with BYOD is that IT staff can have a really difficult time configuring company setups to secure devices in usable ways, without interfering too much with a device that is not owned by the company.

Sometimes a virtual system can be a solution. This is where one system is installed inside another, such as using the Android OS as an application inside Windows OS. This allows IT admins to clone a secure setup into another device.

Remote desktop access is another way, which also wouldn’t affect the personally owned device too much. However, both of these options mean configuring a personally owned device and are not as secure as a custom made device that has been setup specifically for the company’s usage needs.

There is normally at least some need for personal devices to be secured and monitored. To do so implies getting staff to agree to their own device being setup and possibly monitored by someone else.Many staff are happy to use their own device for work, but will likely not want it monitored or tampered with much by the company techs.

The COPE Approach

COPE means that equipment such as tablets and phones are ‘Corporate Owned Personally Enabled’ devices.This simply means that the company owns and sets up devices, but also allows some level of personal use.

Devices will be setup in a way to allow staff to work freely, but also enable them for personal usage, such as making phone calls, playing games, and using apps etc. This is a nice balance, as the company information can be protected, while allowing staff to use a company provided device for leisure and personal use.

Being given a ‘free’ mobile device is often seen as a benefit of the job and makes staff happy.

COBO – Full Restriction

COBO stands for ‘Company Owned, Business Only’. This is exactly how it sounds, meaning that a device is only permitted to be used for company assigned tasks.

These devices do not allow personal usage, normally being restricted for high device security. They are paid for, maintained, and replaced by the company.

It could be that the installation of programs and web access is restricted or blocked on these devices blocking personal usage to a large degree.

However, it can also be that the operating system or software on the device is setup in such a way that it can only perform the tasks IT administrators have set. Contracts would also normally dictate device usage and include penalties for misuse.

While effective at maintaining data policies and control of staff usage, they are very restrictive and staff may not be as happy using them.


COPE and COBO are recommended for companies seeking good levels of security and confidentiality. That said, COPE Is the preferred approach of most companies, as it provides protection and control for the company, while allowing employees to use their ‘free device’ for personal usage as well.

For most, even some highly regulated sectors which require high levels of control, COPE is the most practical and beneficial choice.

COBO allows full control, but may be better used only for highly sensitive data or IoT. The COBO devices are also seen as being less of a ‘perk’ to employees because of the reduced functionality, or needing separate devices for each task.

Of course, any of these systems can be combined within a company’s overall plan. It doesn’t need to be just one setup for all departments.

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Which Mobility Solution is Best?

When it comes down to choosing an effective setup for your company, managed enterprise mobility solutions are the best way forward for your company.

Productivity and risk need to be considered, as securing devices to the level of COBO can greatly reduce their functionality and the ability for staff to use them productively.

If you aren’t sure how to proceed and all this feels confusing, contact us to talk with a mobility solutions specialist. They will happily create the perfect mobility solution; one that’s customized exactly to meet your company’s needs.