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How to COPE with a growing employee device ecosystem


It was only 10 years ago that the iPhone – arguably the first modern smartphone – was introduced. Today, virtually every device we interact with, from our PCs to our kitchen appliances, is Internet-connected and even using the word ‘smart’ to describe them seems dated.

As we’ve grown accustomed to an intelligent device ecosystem in our homes, we’ve also come to expect a similar experience at the office. Employees now use a growing range of devices to do their jobs, putting new pressure on businesses to support this way of working.

This has driven the rise of BYOD (bring your own device) policies, by which employees use their own mobile devices, Macs (or laptops), iPads, and other connected technologies at work. Recent research from Markets and Markets suggests the BYOD market will be worth USD 73 billion by 2021, roughly twice as much as in 2016.

The advantage for businesses is clear. They benefit from the efficiencies of digital devices without having to cover the cost. The downside of BYOD is that it’s difficult to ensure data security and governance while managing the rapid proliferation of devices and user habits. Whether intentional or not, most security risks are a result of human error, which is why companies are now exploring device policies like COPE (company owned, personally enabled) - that allow them to govern data more closely.

How is COPE different from a BYOD approach?

In a BYOD ecosystem, IT teams often battle to find enough space to introduce secure data and device management measures – for example, through a secure container approach or dual persona technology – on employees’ personal devices. Under COPE, it’s easier for administrators to create space that’s required, as they’re working with the company’s own, fully managed devices. This makes COPE a simpler and often more robust approach.

The ability to ensure the full lifecycle management of these devices, while also ensuring compliance on a secure platform, and the ability to deliver a consistent user experience is driving more and more CIOs to shift from BYOD to a COPE model. COPE effectively gives businesses the ability to manage, move, add, and change the mobile super computers in our pockets and purses in the same way that they manage traditional desktop telephones.

Whether they choose a BYOD or COPE approach, companies must find a way of embracing digital transformation and empowering their employees to perform at the highest level, all while protecting their own interests. I believe that the scales will increasingly tip towards COPE, not only because of the advantages outlined above but because of the rise of integrated cloud-based workplace applications. These are the foundations upon which IT teams can build a consistent device ecosystem – which encourages employee adoption – while also maintaining oversight of how these technologies are being used across the organisation.

Of course, with companies now paying for employees’ endpoint devices they need the right management strategies and technologies in place to get the most from their investment. Learn more about how Dimension Data’s endpoint lifecycle management solutions and our new dedicated Apple practice can help your business achieve this and elevate the user experience of your device ecosystem from ‘good enough’ to great.

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