With the ever popular BYOD trend, employees are taking their individual and company liable phones on the road this summer and if they’re not careful, companies may find themselves footing the bill for exorbitant mobile service costs, even if they have been careful about usage. Here is a good example of how things can get out of hand quickly: if your employee has 4G LTE speed, he can download a two hour movie in approximately 20 minutes. Even with the EU’s summer travel discounts on roaming, this can equate to $50 per megabyte in some countries. If that movie is 2GB or 3GB, it could turn into tens of thousands of dollars. We know someone who went to Israel and downloaded the first season of Seinfeld using a cell rather than WiFi network and was billed $75,000.
To prevent mobile bill shock from happening to you, I’d like to offer the following best practices:
· Monitor your company’s devices: Mobile usage needs to be re-evaluated every 6-12 months to reflect usage fluctuations, expanding mobile usage, new applications, and dynamic market rate structures. As an organization changes, so will its clients and employees, and the demands made on their mobile devices. The IT department should monitor these changes and make the appropriate modifications to realign costs and policies.
· Apply real-time roaming alerts: Both end-users and IT administrators can prevent excessive roaming costs before they are incurred with these alerts. They can also allow businesses to proactively implement the appropriate roaming package for a group of users or an individual user. It is important for IT and end-users to work together to ensure that business or personal travel does not result in exorbitant mobile service costs.
· Approve all personal devices: The line between business and personal use is blurred and it’s only getting worse as new e-commerce driven mobile devices like the Amazon Fire Phone are introduced to the market. So it’s important to enforce a protocol for all personal devices to be approved by the company to create transparency between the user and the enterprise, and help to ensure communications network security and operational integrity.
· Track your devices: GPS tracking of mobile devices allows companies to monitor mobile devices and enables Allow-Block-Quarantine (ABQ) functionality that enforces network security and prevents unauthorized access to the enterprise. GPS tracking can also prevent the financial and security implications often associated with a lost/stolen mobile device.
· Educate your employees: In addition to establishing mobile policies that clearly define how employees are to use their mobile devices, providing regular, timely feedback to employees regarding their mobile usage helps to reduce mobile costs.
For more tips on personal and company travel this summer, check out this Boston Globe article: Tips for using your cellphone abroad.