In your office, you probably have Internet usage regulations and protocols. You have anti-virus software installed on everyone’s computer and you probably even use a spam detection tool for everyone’s email, but are mobile devices protected? Your network security can be placed at risk every time a user connects through their mobile device or public access point. Whether employees are using their mobile devices in the office or outside of the office to access work files, data, and other information, they could be the entry way for someone looking to steal from you.
The evolution of personal mobile devices and the rise of how necessary they are to business success these days are forcing many small business owners to make a choice – “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) vs. “Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled” (COPE).
The Typical Solution – BYOD. According to the CDW 2012 Small Business Mobility Report, 89% of small-business employees use their personal mobile devices for work. But the headache involved here is how do you support and secure all of these devices? The scary thing is that most small businesses don’t even try! The CDW survey found that only 1 in 5 small businesses have deployed (or plan to deploy) any systems for managing and securing employees’ personal devices.
The Alternative – Is COPE Any Better? A minority of small businesses has implemented a Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (“COPE”) policy instead. They buy their employees’ mobile devices, secure them, and then let employees load additional personal applications that they want or need. And the employers control what types of apps can be added too. And the “personally enabled” aspect of COPE allows employees to choose the company-approved device they prefer while permitting them to use it both personally and professionally. COPE is certainly more controlled and secure, but for a business with a limited budget, buying devices for every employee can add up pretty quick. If you go the COPE route and are large enough to buy in volume, you can likely negotiate substantial discounts.
Security Concerns With BYOD. If you have client information that must be kept secure or other industry specific regulations regarding the security of client data, then COPE is likely your best approach. It takes out any gray area of whose data is whose. Plus there is a certain comfort level in being able to recover or confiscate any device for any reason at any time to protect your company without any worries of device ownership.
Struggling to figure out which option is best for your business? Our FREE Mobile Device Policy Consultation ($297 value) helps point you in the right direction for your business.