Blog - How to Control Data Usage for a Mobile Workforce

How to Control Data Usage for a Mobile Workforce

More than 70% of web traffic today occurs on a mobile device. In particular, smartphones have emerged as one of the most important tools for mobile workers to stay connected to the office. Experts predict that B2B mobile usage per worker will increase from two hours a day to three by 2020. As the mobile workforce increasingly relies on smartphones and other mobile devices to access work email and other job information, businesses need to pay more attention to both data security and usage. Without data management practises in place, workers can quickly exceed data limits and incur costly penalties. That’s why many organisations are setting clear policies and promoting best practises about mobile data usage. Learn four ways to better manage data usage for your mobile workforce.

What is mobile data usage

Measured in megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB), mobile data is consumed every time your phone uploads or downloads information from the Internet. Phone apps, email, and Internet searches all contribute to mobile data usage. However, smartphones also use data behind the scenes—even when your screen is off—to refresh app data such as weather and news updates. The biggest data hog is video/audio streaming, but any app that uses a social media style feed with constant updating can eat away data. Businesses should educate mobile workers that when not connected to Wi-Fi, cellular data allowances can be quickly exceeded.

Why you need data usage guidelines

In order to protect both the business and employee, it’s important to set mobile data usage boundaries and guidelines. Industry experts maintain that establishing a clear conduct policy regarding mobile devices is crucial to successfully managing mobile data usage—even if your organisation utilises bring your own device (BYOD). The most successful businesses are also minimising mobile data usage risk by limiting the apps and features that are accessible to employees on employer-provided phones.
To effectively control mobile data usage, many organisations use mobile device management software to remotely manage each device. Provide employees with rules about the appropriate use of data and be sure to explain if your company will be remotely monitoring employee data usage. Employees are typically uncomfortable about employer access to personal data, so transparency about monitoring is the key to maintaining trust.

Four ways to control mobile data usage

Competitive organisations are learning how to improve data management while effectively supporting the needs of a mobile workforce. If your business is looking for additional ways to help employees conserve data, here are four ways to control mobile data usage:

1. Pay attention to the silent data drain: background refreshes.
Many of the apps that your employees rely on every day are silently consuming data during background data checks and refreshes. That’s why more businesses are advocating for mobile workers to delete apps that aren’t needed for work. Another benefit of saying goodbye to all those data-draining apps is better battery life.

2. Encourage separation of personal and business data.
Simplify mobile data management by keeping personal and business data use separate. Ensure your policy addresses appropriate mobile data usage to minimise data consumption for personal purposes. If possible, provide mobile workers with a dedicated work device or a device that uses two SIM cards.

3. Perform updates only on WiFi.
Operating system and app updates often consume 12MB to 40MB or more of data. If the auto update option is turned off, employees will save large amounts of cellular data on a task that can be done when connected to WiFi.

4. Educate your employees and promote best practises.
To ensure mobile employees effectively manage data usage, educate them about data hogs. For example, ask them to limit video/audio streaming or “feed” style apps especially when off WiFi to minimise cellular data consumption. Actively monitor and manage data usage to identify areas that need improvement. Encourage employees to think ahead by downloading any large files or map data directly to their mobile device before heading out in the field.

Better manage and support your mobile workforce

Mobile data management for your mobile workforce supports both employee flexibility and cost efficiency. Take steps now to implement a mobile data usage policy and educate your mobile workforce about practical ways to minimise data consumption. Asure Software provides mobile technologies that meet your changing workforce needs, simplify mobile scheduling, and empower workers’ abilities to access calendars and more on the go.

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