Smartphones aren't cheap, but they've become our window to the world. We use them to run our lives, stay plugged in and even get some work done. We can't live without 'em. And so we dig into our pockets every month to pay a huge phone bill despite our shoestring budget.
What if your company foot most of the bill?
That would make life so much easier — assuming, of course, that you could still use the phone for personal activities, too. But there's a catch. Technically speaking, the company would own the phone under a policy called Company Owned, Personally Enabled, or COPE. On a more visceral level, you would also be giving up some expectations of privacy.
Companies embracing COPE as an alternative to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) understand that they can't expect employees to simply submit to mobility's version of Big Brother. Instead, companies are willing to give away some control and pay a little more to get employees to buy into COPE, in order to sidestep BYOD's security and manageability pitfalls, as well as end the proliferation of shadow BYOD.
It's a tricky scenario, because companies will be asking employees to trust them to do the right thing with a device that the company owns. Lack of trust is what has been derailing BYOD, so will employees accept COPE?
CIO.com spoke with Harjot Sidhu, vice president of consulting services at Vox Mobile, who helps large companies and government agencies plan their enterprise mobility strategies. Sidhu gives his insight into the rise of the COPE alternative.
CIO.com: There have been conflicting reports on BYOD adoption. What are you seeing?
HarjotSidhu: BYOD is a topic in every engagement we have. There's wide variety of demand, pressure, interest. Many organizations are in chaos with the decline of BlackBerry. Now they're dealing with all the other operating systems, platforms, form factors, security threats, applications, you name it.
However, the hype around BYOD is beginning to get corrected. We have noticed that many organizations have some form of COPE, whereas the amount of "Corporate Only, Business Only" COBO programs has become very little. With COBO, every organization started turning a blind eye or officially authorizing personal use of corporate issued devices (thus creating de facto COPE environments).
This has an impact on the demand of BYOD, depending on how attractive the COPE program is. Here's an example: If an organization is still 100 percent BlackBerry and has strict passwords and strict application blacklists, then the demand for BYOD is very high. At other organizations with very attractive COPE policies that offer diversity in devices and privacy assurances for employees, BYOD is hampered.
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