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How to manage employees' use of mobile devices

With the increase in the use of mobile devices for work purposes, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in the number of cases of them being used improperly. Turns out it’s not just children who can run up bills costing thousands of pounds, but employees too.

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With the increase in the use of mobile devices for work purposes, we've seen a dramatic rise in the number of cases of them being used improperly. Turns out it's not just children who can run up bills costing thousands of pounds, but employees too. Find out how you can limit and monitor your employees' mobile and data usage to stop any nasty surprises. If you have a contract for employee's mobile devices, they will usually include a monthly package of free minutes, texts and 3G data use. Once that limit has been reached, the bill can spiral, with some providers charging 35p per minute for calls and as much as £5 per megabyte (MB) of data. With the average movie – the number one culprit for whopping bills - ranging from 300MB to a few gigabytes (GB, equivalent to 1,000MB), the cost of going over one's data allowance can soon rocket! And if you're the one footing the bill, it can quickly become very costly for your business. So what can you do? Make sure you're on the right contract – regardless of personal usage, if your employees are going to be using mobile devices for work a lot, video conferencing, opening large attachments on emails, etc. you are going to need a contract with a lot of data. Knowing how much data they're likely to use upfront means you can get the best deal for your needs. Monitor data usage – similarly, many providers offer a ‘dashboard' service where you can view the data usage on your accounts and keep an eye on those about to go over. Put a cap on it – when you're setting up an account with a phone provider tell them that you want to limit the amount of data used to that included in the allowance and for notifications to be sent to the user when they're about to go over it. This service is often provided free of charge. Get employees to take responsibility – they can keep an eye on their own data usage by using an app which will alert them when they are reaching their allowance (if your provider doesn't send notifications). Make it clear in your IT policy that mobile devices you provide are for work use only and not for private or personal use. With some legal help, you could also have it written into your contracts that any costs incurred over a monthly data allowance due to personal use, purchases of games and apps, or personal phone calls are not your responsibility and will need to be paid for. Wi-Fi over 3G - If employees must use their mobile devices at home or on the go, encourage them to use a secure Wi-Fi connection wherever possible, such as the one provided by their home telecoms provider or password protected networks like The Cloud and BT Openzone. A secure network means that any data sent or received cannot be viewed by a third party. How the Forum can help your business Get expert HR and employment advice when you need it from our helpline advisers and a practical, up-to-date guide to managing employment law. Call us now on 0845 130 1722 to access these benefits of Forum membership or find out more.

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