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Giving your employees the ability to choose which device they want to use for work from the devices your company has approved may provide more control for IT compared to allowing them to bring any personal device they want to use in their workplace.

However, choose-your-own-device (CYOD) strategies also mean less freedom for the employees then they would otherwise have with a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. Because of this, analysts say, it may not provide your employees with as much satisfaction.
CYOD gives you more control
Under a CYOD policy, IT managers “can support a limited set of devices and not feel overburdened by the multitude of devices that staff can choose from which are available from a public online or retail store,”claims Telsyte analyst Rodney Gedda.
Ovum analyst Richard Absalom says limiting the number of devices “makes it easier to find a solution that can secure and manage the corporate data on those devices.”

“Businesses can let employees choose from devices that they are sure can be managed and secured to the required extent.”

CYOD is specifically convenient for dealing with the fragmentation of the Android operating system. There are several different versions of Android available on many different phones on the market today.

“CYOD would ensure that only the most up to date and secure versions of the OS would be supported,” Absalom said.
BYOD gives employees more freedom
“The trade-off with CYOD is narrowing down what BYOD is supposed to provide in the first place. Freedom to choose which device suits the user best, including devices that are at the forefront of technology,” says Gedda.
Absalom says the “right range of devices” under CYOD may provide the same employee satisfaction offered by BYOD.

However the analysts agree that keeping that list up-to-date will consume a lot of IT resources.

“Most organizations will struggle to keep up to date in terms of provisioning the latest devices,” says Absalom.

“If iPhones or iPads are provisioned, what happens every year when a new version is released? It becomes too costly to always provide the latest and greatest gadget, and there are always going to be early adopters in particular who want to use their new toys at work.”

Gedda agrees: “In a CYOD scenario, devices still have to be ‘approved’ for use which could result in laggard technology adoption.”

“Employees could still decide to try using their own unapproved device for both work and personal purposes,” Absalom added.

“One of the strong drivers of BYOD activity is that people want to use a single device for both work and personal purposes,” Analysts say.

“Unless businesses allow for personal usage on the devices they are letting employees choose, and set in place some realistic boundaries around what they will and won’t monitor, they could be faced with employees preferring to use their own.”

In the end, the decision of BYOD or CYOD comes down to the nature of the organisation, says Absalom.

They “are just different methods of addressing consumerisation in the mobile space, there is no single right or wrong way. Each organization has its own particular needs and requirements.”

“While we know that BYOD behavior is happening everywhere, and there is the data to prove it, I don’t think that every company will adopt it as a strategy,” he says. “They will find other ways to control it and CYOD is a valid way of doing so.”

Gedda claims that neither BYOD or CYOD in themselves provide the “best strategy for managing the data on the device.”

Controlling devices with the stricter policy of CYOD “does not necessarily mean you’re using the best practices and software for managing the data on the device.” He urges IT managers to additionally study the trend of employees wanting to use unapproved apps in the workplace, also known as bring your own application (BYOA).

“You could have the best practice for data and application management on BYOD and still be ahead of a controlled environment.”