By Troy Fulton
People everywhere are using their mobile devices as more than just phones to have constant access to information at all times. For example, sports are streaming live, allowing fans around the globe to access their favorite teams games on their mobile phones, computers or tablets via mobile apps. Sure this sounds great for sports fans, but what about the IT departments managing the networks that run these devices? Here are six tips to help your customers limit bandwidth hogging.
Outside your offices:
- Monitor roaming devices. Whether domestic or international, roaming remains the most costly reason for mobile “bill shock," those unexpected and costly overages that can seriously impede a business’s financial viability and operational efficiency. Real-time roaming alerts to end users and IT administrators allow both parties to prevent excessive roaming fees. They 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 come with exorbitant costs.
- Monitor and manage your cellular vs. Wi-Fi usage. Protect your company against bill shock, with a solution that monitors the usage of your mobile fleet. It’s important to understand the volume of cellular vs. Wi-Fi usage to ensure proper cost control and an optimal user experience.
- Create policies. Companies need to establish written policies that outline how company and personal devices accessing a company network are to be used. These policies need to be updated throughout the year, and potentially whenever large events (like the Olympics) occur. Policies should be used as guidelines for employees to understand how their devices and the network are expected to be used. Policies must be reviewed and signed by employees.
Inside your offices:
- Educate your employees. In addition to enforcing mobile policies that clearly define how employees are to use their mobile devices, organizations should educate employees on what IT is tracking and what employees are responsible for paying in order to provide clarity and empower users to closely track the real impact of their usage. Charges can accrue when an end user exceeds a voice, data or SMS plan and begins accumulating high charges at a per minute, per MB and/or per SMS rate. Businesses are looking for solutions that offer real-time visibility into usage across all three usage categories, and tools now exist that allow users and administrators to predict the likelihood of plan overages long before they are incurred. This lets users and administrators reduce usage and optimize usage plans well in advance of any actual charges. For example, a user may have a 1GB data plan on their smartphone. If that user uses 65 percent of their plan allocation in the first week of the billing period, the system would notify both the administrator and the user of the looming threshold, thereby predicting the likelihood of an overage.
- Establish two-factor authentication. Since there is no encrypted key at the router in public hotspots, it’s important to authenticate a device via a hardware certificate (that can also enable Wi-Fi communication as part of the policy profile) and enforce the use of login credentials in advance of employees accessing the network. Also, don’t forget to enforce password strength policies.
- Know the devices on your network. All devices are different and it’s more important than ever to have a mobile management system in place that tracks any and all devices. For example, Android only provides basic device and data security, but third-party vendors are starting to create solutions. Samsung works with a number of VPN providers, and partners with Android, for encrypted communication. iOS has integrated and comprehensive Wi-Fi and VPN configuration. Take advantage of that.
More advanced mobile devices allow us to be more productive in more remote locations, but IT departments must be reminded to monitor their employees before their network is jeopardized. Network pipes can become crowded and slowed down as more advanced mobile features are used more often. IT departments need to actively work with their employees to prevent network failures.
Troy Fulton is director of product marketing at Tangoe, a global provider of communications life cycle management (CLM) software and related services to a wide range of global enterprises. . He is responsible for guiding product concepts and leading the strategy and execution efforts to deliver seamless mobile solutions to enterprise customers. Fulton has more than 25 years of experience in the enterprise technology industry and nearly 10 years of experience in senior management positions with mobile companies.
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