Mobile Device Management: What do BYOD, CYOD and Co. mean?

Mobile Device Management: What do BYOD, CYOD and Co. mean?

Anyone who deals with enterprise mobility cannot avoid terms such as BYOD or COPE. The acronyms describe how the devices must be managed and what users are allowed to do with them. […]

For quite some time now, smartphones and tablets have become an indispensable part of everyday business life. There are various methods for device deployment and use that help companies to circumvent the dangers of enterprise mobility with the help of mobile device management and other tools. Here is an overview of the various strategies, their advantages and disadvantages, as well as the necessary measures in terms of management and protection.

In the case of a COBO strategy, the company provides the employee with the mobile device, including the mobile phone contract. As a company device, it may only be used professionally, private use is prohibited and actions such as the installation of non-company apps may be technically prevented.

COBO dates back to a time when mobile devices and mobile phone contracts (including data) were still a luxury, which is why managers were initially primarily equipped with a BlackBerry, Palm or Windows Phone. With the burgeoning enterprise mobility initiatives came the plan to roll out and manage mobile devices similar to PCs in the workforce.

Advantages of COBO:

  • High security due to the possibility of completely controlling the devices including apps and data and deleting them if necessary (often in strictly regulated industries)
  • Easier procurement, support, administration and app development thanks to (relatively) uniform device inventory
  • Selection of suitable devices

Disadvantages of COBO:

  • Low effect of the device as an incentive, since it can only be used professionally
  • Higher acquisition costs
  • Less care in handling, since “only” company property
  • Risk of loss: Employees often carry two devices with them

With a BYOD strategy, the employee also uses his private device professionally. He pays for it himself, but it is not uncommon for the employer to contribute a subsidy to the purchase price and mobile phone contract.

The main reasons that resourceful managers invented the BYOD concept more than ten years ago were financial considerations and the hope for more care and more frequent use. Plus the realization that the top managers who want to use their privately purchased iPhone professionally because of the great usability (consumerization) are only the tip of a development that is difficult to stop, but can be used positively.

Advantages of BYOD:

  • More care in handling the private device
  • Knowledge of the staff of operation and, if necessary, maintenance
  • Time-consuming and expensive procurement is no longer necessary
  • (Use for professional purposes also in leisure time)

Disadvantages of BYOD:

  • Separation of private and business data is absolutely necessary (work profile)
  • Increased effort for security and administration
  • Risk of shadow IT due to unmanaged private devices
  • Risk of compatibility problems

With a COPE strategy, the company provides its employees with a mobile device including a mobile phone contract, but this may also be used privately. The COPE model is therefore basically an attempt to combine the advantages of COBO and BYOD and to avoid the associated disadvantages.

Advantages of COPE:

  • Easier procurement, support, administration and app development thanks to (relatively) uniform device inventory
  • (Pre)Selection of suitable devices
  • More care in handling the device
  • Knowledge of the staff of operation and, if necessary, maintenance
  • An incentive for employees
  • (Use for professional purposes also in leisure time)

Disadvantages of COPE:

  • Separation of private and business data is absolutely necessary (work profile)
  • Increased effort for security and administration

CYOD is an attempt to use the advantages of BYOD without accepting disadvantages such as compatibility problems due to an excessive variety of devices: the employee chooses his professional, but also privately usable devices from a list of supported devices. It is possible that the user pays an additional fee to purchase a higher-quality device than he is entitled to. In this way, the company ensures that the device is suitable for use in the business environment as well as for any enterprise apps and is secured without restricting the user too much in the choice of device.

A variant of COBO is COSU. These are purely company devices that are only intended for a specific application or fields of application and therefore do not necessarily have to be assigned to an individual employee. Examples of this are demo devices in electric markets and trade fairs, smartphones with scanner function in warehouses and logistics or tablets for recording damage (e.g. rental cars, insurance appraisers) or orders (gastronomy). The use of COSU is supported by Android and iOS through a special kiosk mode, which restricts device access to an application or area of application.

After the operating system providers Apple and Google, OEMs such as Samsung and various device management providers have created the technical foundations for secure and comfortable administration despite professional and private use, COPE, CYOD and – less – BYOD are now widely used.

Nevertheless, it is still not one hundred percent possible to guarantee the protection of business data purely technically with these forms of operation without high effort. An often cited example is the upload of professional contact data to the

In the private use of WhatsApp or Clubhouse. For this reason, for example, in highly regulated industries such as banks or insurance companies or in the public sector, mobile devices that are used purely for work and are heavily cordoned off are used. The situation is similar in fields of activity, where very specialized, often hardened devices are used, which are not necessarily suitable for private use.

*Manfred Bremmer deals with (almost) everything that falls into the fields of mobile computing and communications. He prefers to take a close look at mobile solutions, operating systems, apps and devices and checks them for their business suitability. Bremmer is interested in gadgets of all kinds and also tests them.

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