COBO Device Policy: The Next Evolution of COSU Devices

In today’s working world, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t supply your business and its employees with the latest technology. This isn’t just a matter of efficiency; it also ensures you stay competitive with superior tools. But getting your business tech-ready is complex, as there are several policies around device management. Many businesses opt for the corporate-owned, business-only (COBO) approach. Is this the right move for you as well? 

Often seen as the evolution of corporate-owned, single-use (COSU) policies, COBO policies ensure employees have the gadgets they need to excel. Such devices can also increase cybersecurity, but they must be supplied by the business, which can be costly. 

Let’s look at each device policy more closely to help you determine which one is best for your business. 

Finding the Right Balance Between Freedom and Control

The right device policy for your company is about more than what your business needs. You must also consider what will give your employees the freedom to do their work while keeping your sensitive data secure. 

For instance, a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy is popular because it lets workers use their personal devices professionally. This approach saves you both time and money: workers won’t waste time learning how to use new tech, and you don’t have to purchase the actual devices. However, it also opens up several security vulnerabilities. You may have unencrypted customer data, and the devices might fall outside your cybersecurity firewall. 

A BYOD policy also makes it harder for IT departments to ensure security. IT personnel would have to consider multiple devices and operating systems (OSs) when implementing security measures. This leaves more holes for malicious parties to worm their way into. 

For greater control, many businesses have taken the COBO approach. Basically, the business supplies workers with devices that can only be used for work purposes, such as laptops and mobile phones. This is the best choice when it comes to cybersecurity. IT departments can implement security solutions that apply to all devices. 

Of course, this means employees will have to manage multiple devices—a work phone and a personal phone, for instance. Mobile device management (MDM) software can make sure workers don’t try to cut corners and use their business devices for personal tasks. 

COBO vs. COSU: Is There a Difference?

Although there’s some overlap, COBO and COSU devices aren’t the same thing. COSU devices serve a specific, single purpose. Some are employee-oriented, like a computer, while others are for customers. Think kiosks, interactive touch panels, virtual reality (VR) devices, and check-in terminals at airports. 

In comparison, COBO devices can be used for multiple purposes, but they’re still intended for business use alone. With this solution, you get a high level of control and security management. COBO devices can also improve efficiency, but they may incur a higher IT support cost.

You should be able to fully manage both types of devices remotely with comprehensive MDM software. Such software will allow you to update and control security across all devices at once. It also gives you the ability to lock and locate devices if necessary. 

The Evolution of COSU Devices

A COBO device is typically something you’ll only use as an employee at your workplace. But you’ve probably interacted with a COSU device at some point in your life, whether at a self-checkout lane or a digital whiteboard. These devices might have started out as simple pieces of technology, but they’ve grown increasingly complex over the years. 

Take the humble digital whiteboard, for example. What was once a simple innovation on the traditional whiteboard has become a massive tablet that can be used for collaborative learning and complex tasks. The benefits to this are obvious: the more features that are available, the more freedom we have to meet the evolving needs of our customers. 

Of course, as everything becomes digitalised, you also expose yourself to further cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Hackers can use a whiteboard to gain access to your entire system. What’s more, businesses likely have multiple COSU devices to manage, not just one. Many schools now have a digital whiteboard in each classroom.

To meet this digital evolution, businesses should invest in single-use device management software. This enables your IT team to update OS settings and patch security holes on all devices from a single interface. Your MDM software should also ensure your devices are used solely for their intended purposes. Not only does this improve cybersecurity, but it also helps employees remain focused on their tasks by minimising distractions.

Empowering Enterprises With the Right Policies

The right device policy for your business will depend on a few factors, such as the kind of business you’re in. For instance, a COBO approach could be beneficial in a traditional office setting where customers will have little-to-no interaction with the devices.


Businesses that experience a lot of customer interaction may prefer a COSU device policy. Consider a hotel. Guests can check in via a self-service kiosk, receive directions to their room through an interactive touchscreen map, and order room service through their smart TV. These connected devices streamline customer service for an unbeatable guest experience.

Of course, this could mean you have multiple devices to manage. Again, MDM software makes this easy. From a single source, you can control employee and guest access, deploy software updates, and block unauthorised users. You can also group and tag devices according to set criteria and even track them through geofencing and device location perimeters.

Finally, MDM software ensures your COSU devices stay locked down and secure. Manage user permissions in real time and take remote control of devices to provide assistance when needed. With these features, you can more easily enforce your device policy and make sure your business’s tech is used as intended.

COBO or COSU? Support Your Device Policy With MDM Software

The device policy you choose will depend on the needs of your employees and business. It’s crucial to think about how you can operate efficiently without negatively impacting your cybersecurity. Whether you adopt a COSU or COBO approach, remember that simply purchasing the devices is just the beginning.


You must be able to remotely manage these devices as well. This enables your IT team to solve problems over the air, which saves both time and money. It also lets them update all your devices from a single interface, so you stay one step ahead of malicious actors. 

Support your device policy with the right MDM software. Doing so will ensure your tech solutions are both efficient and secure. 

Nadav Avni

Nadav Avni is a Chief Marketing Officer at Radix Technologies.