Late last week, I briefly caught two unrelated conversations on Twitter regarding the deficiencies of BYOD, dual persona, and COPE – three of the top issues being discussed these days in the enterprise mobility universe. We all know where I stand on BYOD, and I have shared some thoughts in the past regarding my mixed feelings around the whole dual-persona “thing.”
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See, dual-persona – the notion of having a secure container on a device that has all your work stuff that is completely segregated from the rest of your device – has been talked about for some time and has gotten some decent traction in the marketplace…but I think it’s flawed. It’s flawed at its core because it’s trying to solve another flawed issue (BYOD).
Let’s take a step back on BYOD, because there are so many questions and discussions around BYOD that I think we sometimes forget what the challenge of BYOD really is. The challenge of solving the “BYOD issue” can be summarized in one sentence: “How do I protect corporate data on a device that I did not purchase and hence do not own?”
I’ve said for quite some time that I think COPE is a far superior model, because it too can be summarized in one sentence: “How do I enable my employees to use the mobile device(s) I have provided them for their own use?” I’m not going to even get into the benefits that come from the economies of scale, or the legal hurdles that come down with COPE versus BYOD.
Let’s look at the “net net” question around COPE. “How do I enable my employees to use the mobile device(s) I have provided them for their own use?” I know that some people will say that they still don’t want their employer to peek into their device to see what they are doing. Fair enough.
So to solve this potential concern, why not provide your employees a secure container where the company CAN NOT look in to it? In that secure container you can have all your personal stuff and you don’t have to worry that your employer is going to object to the fact that you played solitaire during a super boring conference call? By the way, that container is so secure that corporate stuff can’t get INTO it.
You now have a corporate device that can be wiped, locked, owned, managed, etc. and then that personal area is a black hole to the employer. That container is then backed up to the cloud by the operating system manufacturers so that all your personal stuff is in iCloud, Google Drive, SkyDrive or whatever….and you the employee really don’t care if your employer wipes your device.
Now think about this. Not only are you providing your employees the device that they want with COPE….you’re also paying for it, as well as the voice and data plan AND providing them another benefit in terms of privacy. How is this not a good thing??? So, the point is that, as opposed to trying to solve the BYOD challenge, perhaps dual persona technology could be the key to truly enabling the COPE model. Beyond the third-party companies that are trying to build out these solutions to solve the BYOD challenge, I’ll argue that BlackBerry and Samsung are best positioned currently to enable COPE, given that they have Balance and KNOX built in to their respective platforms.