Company Cell phones – What you should consider

Which company phones should it be, how should I manage them? iOS or Android? Rent or buy? We’ll clarify all that in this blog post.

woman with company cellphone
Which company cell phone is right for my employees? This is a question that cannot be answered across the board.

In companies, it is essential to enable employees to work on the move, but there are a few things to consider when it comes to company cell phones. How should the device be provided? Which device should it be, how should I manage the devices? Should it be iOS or Android, and last but not least, it is very crucial how the necessary security should be provided. We will try to clarify many of these and other questions in the following article.

1. Deployment models for company cell phones

Think about the form in which the smartphone or tablet is to be provided. Which model suits you and your colleagues? First, let’s look at what different models are available.

BYOD – Bring Your Own Device

The BYOD model is a popular way to provide smartphones and tablets. In this case, employees also use their private devices for work. The company often contributes to the costs and provides subsidies for telephone charges and hardware.

  • Advantages of BYOD: One advantage of BYOD is that employees only need to carry one device with them. The company has less need for investment, since the employees use their own devices. There may also be cost sharing advantages.
  • Disadvantages of BYOD: One disadvantage of BYOD is that the devices contain private data to which the company should not have access. Also, critical company data is often available on the BYOD devices used for work purposes and must be protected.

COPE – Corporate Owned, Personally enabled

The COPE model states that the company owns the devices, but they can also be used privately. Here, the company can select the appropriate devices and thus make the device inventory more uniform and easier to manage.

  • Advantages of COPE: Advantages of COPE are better management and a higher level of security. Also, the device can be seen as a sign of appreciation.
  • Disadvantages of COPE: The disadvantage is a higher investment requirement.

COBO – Corporate Owned, Business Only

The COBO model provides devices only as a work tool and private use is not permitted. The installation of own apps on the device is also prohibited.

  • COBO advantages: Advantages of COBO are a high level of security, as the devices are controlled by the IT department.
  • COBO disadvantages: One disadvantage of COBO is that employees see it exclusively as a work tool and not as a sign of appreciation.

CYOD – Choose Your Own Device

In the CYOD model, the company creates a list of devices from which the employees can select the desired device. This means that only devices that the company deems suitable are used. It is advantageous if the devices include those that the employees like to use.

COSU – Corporate Owned, Single Use

COSU is the most rigid form of mobile device provisioning. The devices belong to the company and are only used for a specific purpose, e.g. with a specific app. The advantage of this type of device use is that employees usually get along very well with the application that has been set up. However, it can certainly happen that employees want additional apps and options.

Laissez-faire model

It is highly inadvisable to do nothing at all to integrate smartphones or tablets securely into the company’s IT environment. If the company does not regulate this, employees will find their own, uncontrolled ways to work on the move.

2. Rent or buy company cell phones?

One of the first questions you should ask yourself is whether you want to buy or rent the equipment. A rental model can be an attractive option for companies that don’t want to carry a high upfront cost. With a rental model, no capital commitment is required and there is a monthly cost. The provider also takes care of the maintenance and management of the devices.

With Cortado, for example, the rental fee includes not only the use of the device, but also the mobile device management solution for managing the devices, and, in addition, insurance in the event of damage. At the end of the device’s life cycle, the provider takes care of its recycling, so you don’t have to worry about disposal, data deletion, or resale.

3. How to choose the right business cell phone?

If you decide to buy or rent business cell phones, you should first be clear about your requirements. One of the most important questions when buying a smartphone is what the use case looks like. There are also questions about the necessary security and hardware requirements, as well as the available budget.

What security requirements must the smartphone meet?
It is important to select a device with regular OS security updates to close security gaps. The company cell phone should be able to be managed with a mobile device management (MDM) system to ensure that company data is protected and only desired actions can be performed.

What hardware requirements do you have? Battery life, memory, robustness of the device, display and camera are important factors that should be considered. The platform, iOS or Android, is also important, as employees should use the platform they are used to in their private lives. If you are not sure whether to choose iPhones or Android devices, then read our blog eBook iOS or Android: Which Is The Better Company Phone?

4. How to choose the right business tariff for my company cell phones?

Once you have selected the right devices for your employees or colleagues, you should book the right rate. You should take into account questions about telephone, data volume, advice and support, contract duration and network coverage.

5. Should I insure the company cell phones?

Corporate cell phone insurance is an important aspect that is often overlooked. If a cell phone is lost, stolen or damaged, this can lead to high costs. It is therefore advisable to take out insurance.

6. How can I manage the service phones?

Companies need to ensure that their mobile devices are protected and the data stored on them is secure. Using an MDM system offers a simple and effective solution here.

A good example of such a system is the MDM system from Cortado. With an MDM system, devices can be managed centrally and in compliance with DSGVO. If a device is lost, the business data stored on it can be deleted remotely.

One important aspect is the separation of private and business data on the devices. With an MDM system, both areas can be separated from each other to protect the professional data.

For IT administrators, using MDM systems also means simplifying the management and allocation of rights and apps on devices. Dissatisfied employees who have difficulties setting up their devices can be avoided.

Newly ordered devices can be issued to employees directly via an MDM system using Zero Touch registration (Android) or ADE (Apple Device Enrollment) without having to be configured manually. This saves time and avoids errors when setting up the devices.

Another important point is the security of customer data. By using MDM systems, customer data can be protected by preventing it from ending up on American servers without permission via privately used apps such as WhatsApp.

Overall, the use of an MDM system in the company is mandatory, especially since the DSGVO came into force.

When it comes to managing mobile devices in the enterprise, there are also many legal aspects to consider. An important factor for the legal situation is the choice of deployment model. Should employees receive company-owned devices or should they be able to use their own devices? In both cases, there are legal framework conditions that must be taken into account.

Since the legal basis differs in each country, you should definitely seek expert advice.

8. Business cell phone and sustainability

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important. Companies are required to report their social and environmental performance. Large companies in particular are obliged to do so, but smaller companies should also be motivated to do so. Companies that provide their employees with cell phones can easily score points here by making the use of company cell phones more sustainable. Sustainability not only offers advantages for the environment, but can also simplify everyday company life.

Smartphones cause serious emissions. The production of the devices accounts for the largest share of CO2 emissions – as much as 70 percent. In addition to the energy required for raw material extraction and the actual raw materials, the storage of smartphones in the home and the frequent lack of proper disposal are also problematic. The rapid replacement of smartphones also leads to disadvantages for the environment.

And the disposal of smartphones is also a problem. E-waste not only prevents the recovery of valuable metals, but can also release harmful substances that harm the environment and local workers.

One way to make smartphones more sustainable is “refurbishing”, i.e. the reprocessing of used devices. However, there is still no uniform definition here, which is why it makes sense to pay attention to certificates that check the quality and service of products and companies.

An even more sustainable alternative to purchasing smartphones is renting devices. Renting increases the useful life of devices because they are often also reconditioned. The provider is thus motivated to keep the device in functional circulation, which increases sustainability. Often, disposal is also taken care of and there is no need to resort to a new device, which conserves resources and saves greenhouse gases.

In summary, the issue of sustainability in relation to the use of smartphones is an important topic that should be taken seriously by companies.

Conclusion: Anyone thinking about corporate cell phones has to deal with many individual issues, and ultimately, there is no single company cell phone that is suitable for all companies and purposes. Each company has to find out for itself individually which devices and which procedures suit it.