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In the past few years, the proliferation of tablets and mobile devices — and the resulting BYOD trend — have forced enterprise IT departments to rethink workplace computing. IT has had to figure out the best way to manage employees’ increasing demand for greater choice of devices without sacrificing security and control.

In general, IT departments have scrambled to put workable mobility support solutions in place (see chart for most common approaches). A company that allows iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows devices and operating systems often does so at the expense of security, control and support costs. Conversely, one that allows only a few company-approved devices for the sake of security and management risks stifling productivity and trampling on employee morale.

The most common approaches include: BYOD, company supported; BYOD, employee self-support; COPE (corporate-owned, personally enabled); Standard Corporate Issue; and Blended. (See chart for explanations.)

Mobility Support Options: click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Whether the solutions are working is up for debate. In a Nov. 18 CIO.com article, writer Tom Kaneshige points to a recent Symantec study, in which researchers found that half of employees who left or lost their jobs in the previous year kept confidential corporate data, and 40 percent said they planned to use it at their new jobs. (Click here to read Kaneshige’s article, “IT Learns to COPE with Mobile Devices.”)

As Kaneshige points out, some companies are looking at a COPE (corporate-owned, personally enabled) model as a possible solution. It’s the opposite of BYOD; with COPE, the company provides its employees with devices, and maintains more control over policing and protecting them. COPE could be the right solution for some employers, and even for some knowledge workers, who would no longer have to spend their own money on devices.

SEE ALSO: Vitalyst Mobile and Tablet Support
For more about mobility strategy, read “When a Mobility Strategy Isn’t Strategic” by Philippe Winthrop, founder/director of the Enterprise Mobility Forum.

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