It is often a challenge to control the multiple devices entering enterprise networks.

While their functionality can make employees more productive, it places strain on the network as well as the company's security.

As our blog explained, 'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) - where employees make use of their own devices running multiple, disparate operating systems - is not suitable for all enterprises.

This is especially true of larger organisations with many devices accessing the network, as it can lead the IT department to feel it is losing control.

Why CYOD trumps BYOD

A new solution is needed and a growing number of firms are meeting this challenge by replacing BYOD with 'Choose Your Own Device' (CYOD).

CYOD refers to a policy that enables users to choose an approved tablet, all-in-one or smartphone from a pool of devices running a limited number of operating systems. The employee can use the device for business and personal tasks, but the SIM card is owned by the enterprise.


CYOD can be securely and easily managed by IT departments: company-approved operating systems and devices make it easier for firms to mobilise business processes and applications. This can increase your firm's efficiency by giving devices the ability load up work applications based on a user's profile, for example.

How to plan and implement a CYOD policy

A CYOD policy requires careful planning: although it should encourage user productivity, the IT department must stay in control.

The first step is to decide on the types of devices that would benefit your business. You can then create a small 'pool' of 10 or so to offer employees. It's also a good idea to offer just one or two versions of each type of device, as the less there are, the easier CYOD will be to manage.

For simplicity, firms should commit to one operating system. When selecting their operating system, companies should choose the platform that will offer the most benefits to both business and employees.

This will see the ideal operating system offer enterprise-grade security features combined with consumer-grade usability.

Firms may also consider an operating system that will work across large and small devices, without changing the user experience. This is one of key features Microsoft claims helps make Windows 8.1 a viable option for large businesses. The OS is designed to offer many benefits to an increasingly mobile workforce, allowing staff to collaborate on documents using services such as cloud, for example.

Catering to employee needs

A CYOD policy should assign each piece of hardware to fit the individual employee or department. This allows firms to give out devices based on job profiles. For example, those who work out on the field, such as sales people, could benefit from smartphones and tablets with the ability to connect to cloud services such as Microsoft's OneDrive.

Meanwhile, those who divide their time between the office and the home office may benefit from a convertible laptop, which offers the best features of both a laptop and a tablet.

Flexible working may also mean some groups aren’t eligible for company-issued hardware and are instead given limited use of their own equipment. However, if you do implement this more flexible policy, you must make sure you have adequate Mobile Device Management (MDM) in place to control access to the corporate network.

Once you've decided on the hardware, it is a good idea to set rules governing who owns the data on the device. The SIM card is owned by the business, so employees will ideally have a separate device for personal use. If the business hardware is lost or stolen, the firm must make sure it can delete company data - and quickly. The method by which you do this should be decided by the IT department; once again it fits into the MDM strategy.

CYOD gives control back to businesses, while providing employees with the tools they need to be productive. By selecting Windows 8.1 and Dell devices, enterprises are making a wise investment for the future.