The industry just can't seem to settle on a solid acronym that describes the current mobile fiasco for businesses. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), as a term, has been around for quite a while, but as time has progressed and BYOD has seen stiff opposition due to hidden costs, others have begun weighing in to help evolve the movement into something that actually works. With each change, a new acronym emerges.

Over the past few months, we've seen and heard…

  • One company in the UK has changed BYOD to COPE. COPE stands for Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled. COPE is basically the same thing that has been working for businesses for the last 20 years, except IT is forced to relax somewhat on what type of personal activity can be performed on the company-owned devices.
  • An analyst attempts to call it SYOD. SYOD, I was told, is an urban term that stands for something entirely different. A cursory web search will reveal this, so I'm not sure this acronym will work out (at least let's hope not). In the BYOD world, SYOD stands for Select Your Own Device, and is basically the same thing as COPE except end-users are given an array of mobile devices to choose from, based on IT supportability.
  • Brad Anderson, trying to play it safe, labels the phenomena, BYOx. Brad, like the true Blue-badge he is, always likes to hedge his bets. Microsoft execs are always careful about what they say and very political in their responses. BYOx stands for Bring Your Own . Microsoft is at a unique juncture in their existence. As they evolve into a Devices and Services company and move beyond Windows, they want to take the safest route possible to be open to supporting whatever industry trend happens to crop up. Microsoft doesn't care what it's called, they just want to provide the technologies to cover it.

Now, a couple new acronyms have been posed by a managed communications services company out of the UK. In a recent, 16 page report, Azzurri Communications Limited, took data from 300 respondents and developed CYOD and DBYOD to better address the concerns that has caused BYOD to stall across many industries.

  • CYOD stands for Choose Your Own Device which is very similar to COPE and, gulp, SYOD. CYOD allows IT to retain control over the devices that are allowed to connect to the corporate network, but still give users a choice. Users are given a catalog of options to choose from instead of just being handed a device selected for them.
  • DBYOD stands for Don't Bring Your Own Device. DBYOD is basically the do-nothing scenario. Companies pick the device, and retain the same policies for personal usage as in the past.

The report is worth a read, even beyond just learning the newly brandished acronyms. 16 pages is a lot smaller report than many I've read, but the data contained within is probably some of the most interesting and applicable. As an example, Azzurri's reports suggests that only 9% of companies surveyed reported that BYOD was the best option for their business.

The report is available online at the following location: BYOD, CYOD OR DBYOD?

In the end, though, the acronym is not important. In fact, the entire BYOD movement is unimportant. For whichever policies and solutions your company decides to implement, there will be costs, and most of them hidden and only realized during implementation. However, the critical piece here is that devices need to be managed. They need to be managed in a way that protects the company from liability, privacy leaks, and security issues. End-users will always screw up. They can find another job and move on. However, allowing an end-user's screw-up to cost the business in perilous ways is the biggest hidden factor of BYOD. Instead of focusing too hard on acronyms or poorly thought out industry engagements, get back to doing what IT does best, which is protecting the business against technology failure.