It’s 10p.m. (or anytime, really). Do you know where your company’s iPhones are?
For companies concerned about their escalating wireless budgets, it’s a serious question. With iPhones and comparable Android phones closing in on $800 each, mobile devices have long since surpassed laptops as the most expensive piece of equipment your company issues its employees. And that’s not even factoring in the two-year carrier contract.
Mobile devices — diminutive in size and, by definition, portable — are not the easiest things to keep track of. But when they go missing, especially in large numbers, it can take a huge chunk out of your company’s wireless budget to replace them.
It’s not just theft and carelessness that causes company devices to disappear. Churn — the coming and going of employees — keeps telecom directors up at night with questions like:
- What should you do with devices used by former employees?
- Should you redeploy them?
- Can they be redeployed?
- What if they’re broken?
- How do you keep track of all those devices?
- How can you be sure former employees return their devices?
- If a former employee returns a device, where does it go?
And the questions keep swirling.
Is This Happening to Your Company?
Here’s a seemingly extreme case that, unfortunately, isn’t all that rare:
In a recent audit of one of our clients, we discovered that a former employee who had been terminated nine months prior was still using a company-issued smartphone on a company-paid plan. A Wireless Analytics representative contacted the user to find out what was going on, resulting in the following exchange:
Wireless Analytics: You know that’s not your device.
Former employee: I know.
Wireless Analytics: But you’ve been using it.
Former employee: I thought maybe the company might need it someday, so I left it on and people called me.
Wireless Analytics: You’ve been using 500 minutes a month!
Former employee: Well, no one asked me to stop.
“No one asked.” Too many times, companies simply have no idea what happens to their devices after an employee leaves. They have no mechanism for tracking the devices and no plan for re-deploying them.
How to Hold Onto Your Mobile Devices When Employees Churn
For reasons we’ve written about before, many IT departments and telecom administrators have neither the time, the expertise, nor the insight to stay on top of hundreds of mobile devices and a churning workforce. They have too many other things on their plate.
A managed mobility services provider, on the other hand, specializes in helping companies get the most out of their investment in mobility. Among many other things, that means tracking devices from user to user. It means repairing, re-provisioning, and re-deploying devices when users leave the company.
Going back to the scenario above, here is what would have happened if that company was working with a managed mobility services provider:
- A manager receives a monthly email update on device usage in his department.
- He notices an employee that was terminated weeks ago is still using his phone.
- Because the device’s serial number is registered in the inventory management system, tied to the user and carrier contract, the line is easily suspended.
- When the phone is returned, the managed mobility services provider verifies it is eligible for redeployment.
- The phone is re-provisioned and repackaged with a new charger.
- The phone is deployed to a new user, saving the company the $600-plus cost for a new one.
Are You on the Case of the Missing iPhones?
How do you keep track of your company’s wireless devices so they don’t go missing when employees churn? Please share your mobile security experiences in the comments section below.