BYOD or COPE? Which Mobile Strategy is Right for You?

BYOD or COPE? Both strategies have their pros and cons, which you can learn here in this blog post.

BYOD or COPE? Which Mobile Strategy is Right for You?
COPE or BYOD? Not an easy decision.

The fact that the mobile device management market is anything but homogeneous is something our employees hear from customers daily. Whether it’s an existing customer or a promising lead, many aspects have to be taken into account when setting up and maintaining a mobile strategy.

BYOD or COPE? Android or iOS?

Will employees bring their own devices as “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)” to the company or will the devices be “Company Owned Personal Enabled (COPE)” smartphones and tablets? This decision is accompanied by the question of which mobile platform you want to place your trust in – Android or iOS?

But first a company should ask itself a different question: What exactly is supposed to be achieved with the introduction of enterprise mobility?

Ultimately, a well-thought-out application description is the linchpin of every mobile strategy. This is often the biggest headache for our customers. Too often the needs analysis isn’t even run until after an EMM solution is purchased, which can then lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

Pros and Cons of BYOD and COPE

Allowing the use of personal devices in a company (BYOD) reduces the initial expenditure for the company. But it poses the challenge to IT of having to manage many different devices all at once. A highly adaptive MDM solution is needed here; one that can handle this fragmented glut across platforms and versions.

BYOD – The Specifics

Choosing the right mobile device management solution is important with the BYOD approach because the separation of business and personal data must be ensured. And business applications necessary for daily work must be able to be put on the device without restricting the user’s personal application. Besides the partitioning of sensitive business data from the personal environment, it is important that the business environment can be completely removed from the device without losing personal snapshots or family messages.

It also makes sense in a BYOD approach not to allow proprietary operating systems or devices that are too old. Even here, a certain amount of selection cannot be avoided.

COPE – What to Consider

When issuing company devices, which is to say using COPE, the company of course has distinctly more say in the matter. In this case, fragmentation can be deliberately avoided by offering only specific devices for selection – kind of a “choose your own device.” Depending on which devices you want to make available, the acquisition costs are correspondingly higher. However, you save on costs with integration and administration of the devices.

A Must: Automated Rollout of the Devices and Automatic Allocation of Applications and Profiles

If the decision is made to purchase company devices, then the MDM solution selected must support the implementation of the strategy. Administrators can be relieved by automated rollout of the devices and the automatic allocation of applications and profiles to devices, users or user groups. If the solution also allows the operation of the devices as “supervised,” this gives the company additional control and security.

BYOD on Android and iOS

The choice of mobile platform is crucially linked to the chosen distribution strategy. With both iOS and Android devices, both methods, i.e., COPE and BYOD, can be implemented very well.

As explained in our starter guide to Android device management, Android devices use a dual-persona approach to separate business from personal on devices. All personal applications run in the context of their own user profiles. Business applications have their own, separate profile. The separation between business and personal data is indicated to the user by a suitcase symbol. Once they are used to an application being duplicated on the device, once with and once without a suitcase symbol, most of our customers find this separation sensible and unambiguous. This makes this mode particularly suited to the BYOD use case.

Apple also uses two profiles on the device. When the device is integrated into an MDM solution, an MDM profile is placed on the device and all company-specific settings like applications, restrictions, and profiles are attached to it. In contrast to Android, communication between the two profiles is not prohibited here. Thus, business and personal applications can exchange data among themselves. This “inter-app communication” can be controlled with an MDM solution. Cortado’s approach of the flexible native container is useful here because any applications can be managed so that they have a separate personal environment and business environment.

We basically rate both platforms as equally good for BYOD strategies. In combination with an adaptive MDM solution like the Cortado MDM, even highly fragmented device pools pose no problems. And the clear, visual separation on Android devices is appreciated by our customers.

COPE on Android and iOS

Our recommendation in the COPE sector is somewhat clearer. Both platforms offer a separate mode, “supervised” on Apple and “fully managed” on Android devices. On both platforms, the MDM administrator is the highest administrator and has full control of the device. The intervention possibilities are many and various and should be selected with care in any case. Nevertheless, we see Apple as still being clearly ahead in this area. This has less to do with the security or usability of the platforms. Here, both are on the same level. But Apple provides a true advantage for companies with Apple Business Manager, as explained in our complete guide.

Apple Business Manager includes two great tools. The Device Enrollment Program facilitates fast and easy rollout of company devices – straight from the packaging and without an administrator laying hands on it. This means that even large quantities of devices are rolled out in no time at all. Complementing this is the Volume Purchasing Program, which makes the bulk purchasing of apps and their deployment in the enterprise extremely simple.


Whichever strategy your company decides on, don’t lose sight of your goals. Which work processes should become mobile? Only after answering that does the question of COPE or BYOD and the appropriate operating system come up. And last but not least: don’t focus your use of mobile device management entirely on implementing restrictions, which ultimately fails to lead to an increase in productivity. Find a solution with the right balance between security, easy manageability by the IT department, and the maximum possible benefit for the users.

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