Mobility Strategies: Comparing BYOD to Its Competing Doctrines

A comparison between BYOD and other mobility strategies.

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) doctrine has been part of mobility for years now. While there's plenty to like in the BYOD doctrine, there are some competing doctrines that offer businesses new options. These growing mobility strategies are adding value in their own particular fashion, and taking a closer look at the three will help provide insight into which of these mobility strategies is right for a business's own individual circumstances.

3 Major Mobility Strategies Examined

While BYOD has proven a front-runner in the mobility strategies market, it is not the only doctrine available. Two other major doctrines are also in play, and understanding the differences among these is vital in order to determine which will deliver the most value.


BYOD, or bring your own device, represents one of the most popular mobility strategies around. Gartner research suggests that, worldwide, 90 percent of organizations will ultimately turn to this method above the range of others.

Huge Cost Savings. Cost savings with BYOD are enormous, mainly because of the burden for not only selecting a device but also its care and feeding — including a mobility plan — falls wholly, or at least largely, on the employees' backs. That means no need to buy devices or pay bills on them, and that means big cost savings.

Quick Turnaround. Deployment timeframes are almost instantaneous. The employee either already has a device or can get one in an afternoon. New employee onboarding is that much faster, and the employee has a much better chance to be productive more quickly.

Greater Engagement. For many employees out there, one of the toughest parts of a new job is having to learn how to use company-owned hardware. Sometimes it's easier than others, but sometimes, the struggle is much deeper. If the employee is using his or her own device, meanwhile, that struggle is virtually nil; it's already a familiar device.

Greater Flexibility. By using his or her own device, the employee is pretty much guaranteed to take it home with them. This opens up new possibilities for after-hours work, including answering simple email issues or doing business with operations in other time zones.

Huge Security Risks. One of the biggest drawbacks to BYOD is its potential for security risk. Since it's the employee's own device, he or she can use it for whatsoever they like, especially after hours. The potential risks of malware infection or something similar is therefore massive, and that could spell trouble for any sensitive data the employee accesses as part of the job.

Lack of Control. It's the employee's device. That's the guiding principle of BYOD; it's right there in the name: “your own device.” Thus, the employer's ability to say what the employee can and cannot do with it is minimal; trying to enforce use policies after hours is extremely difficult and has led to lawsuits in the past.


A variant on BYOD, CYOD — choose your own device — tries to straddle the line between the two extremes in the mobility trend universe. It allows the employee to select a desired device, but the company retains ownership of the device itself and its accordant issues.

A Near-perfect Compromise in Everything. Since the employer retains ownership, controls can become much tighter and security improved over BYOD. Yet since the employee chose the device in question, a certain amount of engagement is retained. It's not as much as it would have been with BYOD, but it's more than the employee would have had elsewhere.

Slight Reductions in Cost. In some cases, BYOD can be part of a CYOD setup. This may sound contradictory, but it's possible to make “choose your own device” include “your (the employee's) own device.” This is especially useful in fields that don't require access to a lot of sensitive information; if the employee never accesses that kind of data, then the accompanying security risk lessens. Plus, employers can better standardize devices, which allows economies of scale to kick in and reduce expenses by limiting themselves to a few particular devices.

Fear of Missing Out. FOMO is a familiar threat in several fields, and missing out in a CYOD setup is not only possible — it's certain. There are some cost savings, but not near as much as in BYOD. Same with engagement and employee flexibility. Conversely, the same is also true of risks; there are some security threats but not near as much as with BYOD.


Lastly, there's COPE — company-owned, personally enabled — sometimes referred to by the much harsher UWYT, or "use what you are told."

The Most Control. A company-owned device has no personal stake; whatever the company says, goes. This means the least amount of security risk from potentially hazardous apps, no unauthorized usage after hours, and a nigh-perfect focus on business-use only. This makes for a perfect environment as far as the employer is concerned, which leads immediately to the next problem.

No BYOD Benefits. With COPE / UWYT, however, the benefits of BYOD are gone. There's much less engagement when the choices are made for the employee, and there's a lot less flexibility, too. The employee has virtually no incentive to take a device home unless told to, and then, what will the employee do with it beyond the minimum?

Costs Wax and Wane. While there are cost savings to be had in full company ownership — fewer replacement costs, universally standardized devices for full economies of scale, and so on — there still have to be devices purchased, mobility plans paid for, and so on. There's no outsourcing of costs since it's fully the business's device.

How to Determine the Mobility Strategy That's Right for You

There are a lot of mobility strategies out there, and the only right one at the end of the day is the right one for your specific set of circumstances. No matter what mobility strategy you go with, though, reach out to us at Acuity to make the most of it. Our range of mobility managed services will help keep your devices — or your employees' devices used on your behalf — running at their peak and generating the most value. Just drop us a line to find out how our services make any mobility strategy that much better.

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