Understanding How COPE Policy Impacts Your Fleet

Earlier this week, we gave you a brief overview of the various business cell phone policies that should be on your radar and walked you through some of the pros and cons of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) and Corporate Owned, Corporate Enabled (COCE) models.


In this post, we’ll dig deeper into how a COPE policy could impact your fleet and drivers.

COPE, a more secure alternative to BYOD

For the last few years, BYOD was—and to a greater extent still is—all the rage in conversations surrounding innovative corporate device policies. There certainly are stellar benefits linked to employee happiness and productivity surrounding the BYOD revolution.

Issues start to surface for BYOD, however, around the protection of intellectual property and company information. This type of security demands a high level of privacy, which is difficult to ensure on personal devices.

To avoid these security concerns, many organizations tend to swing too far the other way from BYOD policies and adopt solely corporate owned and enabled (COCE) plans. This is especially problematic since nearly 80% of BYOD employees dislike the the controls enacted through mobile device management (MDM) functions by their employers.

For many fleet organizations who are investigating the pros and cons of implementing a corporate-owned device model, COPE represents the best of both worlds of ensuring security and maintaining personal freedom.

Here’s why:

When it comes to implementing COPE, it’s equally important to focus on the corporate owned as is the personally enabled aspect of the policy. For instance, corporate owned simply means that decision-makers in your organization get to choose which devices their employees get to use.

Alternately, through a variation of COPE called a Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) policy, you can select and provide a list of approved devices for your drivers and/or employees to choose from. This helps ensure that your employees are using the latest technology to keep them both happy and productive in the office and in the field.

For instance, this can let you employ innovative technologies like real-time GPS tracking to monitor your drivers’ whereabouts in real time. Obviously, to use innovative GPS technology you will need to ensure your employees are using up-to-date devices with the built-in capabilities to truly get the most out of your efforts.

Some key benefits of COPE include: - More flexibility for your drivers

  • Bulk discounts through your mobile provider of choice

  • Increased security

  • Up-to-date, modern devices that are equipped to handle new, innovative GPS technologies

  • Streamlined tech support through mobile provider


Common COPE pitfalls to avoid

  • Relying on a false sense of security - While it’s true that with a COPE policy you can monitor business-related activity, the waters get a little muddy when employees use their devices for personal use. For instance, if you happen to monitor password-protected accounts like social media, email or personal financial accounts, privacy issues aren’t so cut and dry. Be sure to include clear parameters of the level of in-device privacy your fleet employees can expect.

  • Ignoring user behavior risks - Again, while you have control over data and the device itself, you will not always have full control over behavior risks 100 percent of the time. For instance, your employees may occasionally visit an unprotected site or download an app that can result in a virus or other potential cybersecurity threats. To prevent this, some companies have an internal app store. Others have tight security filters on web browsing. However your fleet chooses to handle this issue, it’s important to have a clear understanding of user-centric security risks.

While the cost and logistics of implementing a COPE policy seem overwhelming (don’t worry, we’ll be walking you through this right here on the blog in the coming weeks), it’s important to fully understand the legal benefits.

A COPE policy gives you a lot more control over how the devices are used. For instance, if an employee is viewing or sharing content in a way that is in direct violation of your policy agreement (i.e. intellectual property theft or abuse), you are well within your rights as an organization to monitor and even pull data from the device as needed.

At the end of the day, you will have to choose the right cell phone model for your fleet. If you go down the COPE road, you just need to consider how it can impact your organization.

What are your thoughts on the COPE cell phone policy model? What do you love? What are some of your hangups? Tell us what you think below!

Zeke Rudick

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