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The BYOD and CYOD Challenge: Who will survive?

By Lawrence Garvin, Head Geek, SolarWinds 

2014 brings a strong start for mobility within enterprises. This is the period where IT departments revisit their existing policies and overhaul them based on user trends. CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) is emerging as one of the key ingredients in mobility adoption all around tech enterprises that are looking for replacement for BYOD. With CYOD, now employees now have a choice between different devices and operating systems depending on the environment they are working on. BYOD’s popularity hasn’t faded, despite rising concerns over the adoption and security, and the trend still remains the choice for enterprises that want to cut IT costs on hardware. With diverse device types and their different application supporting capabilities, it can be difficult to manage every one of them and create IT provisions. Mobile device management (MDM) tools are somewhat helping IT departments to create definitive policies.

The ability to work anytime, anywhere was the key success factor in BYOD adoption. Users got more value when they had one device for managing both personal and work usage. But IT administrators find enforcing device-level security policies an uphill task. They can restrict access to sensitive information based on the requirements. A perfect example for BYOD can be an enterprise supporting more than 1000 android based operating systems on different devices. On the bright side, BYOD policies can be enforced without any restriction on user location.

Is CYOD taking over BYOD? 

The rise in MDM systems have enabled IT teams to restrict information based on user’s location. In BYOD, employing this feature might be difficult because of the large spectrum of mobile devices and personalised security controls. Enterprises find it easy to implement policies and features on a large group of devices owned by them, which is what welcomed CYOD to take stronghold on enterprise mobility. CYOD is a solution born out of the IT admin’s need to control devices and, at the same time, increase end-user satisfaction. In CYOD, organisation provides employees with a range of mobile devices to choose from, with specific set of operating systems installed and predefined configurations are set. IT compliance can be easily achieved with CYOD in place.

CYOD vs. BYOD: The High’s and Low’s

Enterprise who had enabled BYOD have issues like cost of network maintenance, blocked mobile apps, questionable data privacy from lost devices, cost of internet subscriptions, etc. Instead CYOD helps organisations buy mobile devices with installed applications, enabling more secure approach with precautions at corporate level. IT department can use enterprise-mobility device management systems to run applications that protects the data, applications and devices. User support for mobile devices can also be streamlined through IT staff. Some key differentiators are: Security, Cost, Ease of Device Management and Network Complexity.

Security – In BYOD, securing user owned devices can be more difficult than company owned. Employee devices can open private information to hackers, if not sufficiently secured. Gartner predicts by 2017, half the employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes. On other hand, CYOD gives total control to IT department which avoids security breaches and gaps in compliance. A disadvantage is that employee owned devices will be more susceptible to malware attacks than company owned devices.

Cost – It is another huge issue that needs to be addressed, while some organisations cut costs on devices bought by employees (BYOD), they still have to spend on operational expenses in supporting network connections. For instance, the cost of reimbursing mobile usage and other expenses can be high in employee-owned devices compared to company-provisioned ones where service plans are already negotiated and prices are reduced. In CYOD, supporting end-user devices can be much regulated where the helpdesk staff is asked to support known device types. Upgrading devices in CYOD can be easier, whereas a BYOD user would find certain information inaccessible because the devices are not necessarily compatible.

Ease of Device Management – The BYOD trend has moved enterprises towards creating policies for accepting more personal devices and govern them. Responsibility rests within users and on their intent to store and share information. On the other hand, CYOD enables enterprises to allow administrators to delete private data, contacts and other corporate information in the device should it get lost or compromised. MDM systems helps to manage differences in operating systems between different devices.

Network Complexity – Network administrators will find it difficult to provide services for BYOD users. In employee owned devices, restricting corporate data and infrastructure can be destructive without MDM systems in place. However, advanced tools do not meet the requirements of empowering the mobile workforce. CYOD allows enterprises to evaluate the limited choice of wired or wireless devices and provide configurations that respective users need based on company requirements. For instance, it’s common that employees try to use WLAN without permission from IT. CYOD reduces all the unwanted hiccups and allows administrators to take precautions.


BYOD can reduces costs, but CYOD helps to control, standardise, and manage range of IT devices. It depends on organisations requirements to deploy BYOD or CYOD polices. CYOD can be considered an alternative to BYOD for organisations that try to ensure up-to-date operations systems, security, and restricted accessibility.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine