Understanding, Managing and Controlling Mobile Data Usage

If your company has experienced a rapid growth in mobile data usage, you are not alone. In the last two years, there has been a 300% industry-wide increase in mobile data and is projected to quadruple by the year 2021. Normally, a rise in data usage of this magnitude would signal an increase in productivity which would be welcomed by any company. The truth is most of this increase is part of a disturbing trend of personal and entertainment usage not only during work hours but after hours as well. The good news is MobilSense can tell you exactly what your employees are doing with their mobile devices.

Knowing Total Data Usage Is Only The Start

Companies today are grappling with how to manage this growing data problem with rudimentary tools and analytics. Carrier invoices provide insufficient direction when it comes to understanding the nature of this rapidly expanding data usage problem. Sure, they can highlight the magnitude of the problem and can even point out the top users of data in a given month, but it only tells you there is a problem. This leaves companies powerless to assert any level of control to reign in data usage. You need much more to cope with today’s challenges of exploding data usage.

Next Generation Analytics for Data Analysis

The data detail provided by the carriers include amount and time of usage but most 3rd party reporting tools today lack the sophisitication to do little more than display the transaction data. What is needed is the ability to display daily patterns of use broken out by business and off business data usage because it focuses attention on areas where abuse may be occurring. Below is a standard view provided by our mobile expense management tool, MobilSentry. In a recent study of over 200M data transactions for business liable devices, we learned that 52% of data usage occurred after hours between 7:00 PM and 6:00 AM or on weekends. While it is comforting to know that employees are dedicated to the point of doing work while away from the office, it should raise suspicion when that usage is equal to or greater than usage during work hours. Have you ever wondered why your employees need 2GBs of data on a Sunday afternoon? Could they be streaming a video on your dime?


The Next Level – Categorizing Site Usage

While a timestamp can be revealing, an even more powerful view of the data would be to know how an employee is using their mobile device. What if you could actually know the following:

  • How much data is being used on social media or streaming video.
  • How much data is consumed on business applications or email.
  • What percent of company data or individual user data is spent on business versus personal and entertainment activities.

Knowing Actual Sites Visited

Sometimes you need to see deeper into the usage to confirm the real intent of the employee:

  • Was the weekend streaming a training video, Netflix, or a playoff game?
  • Is the employee using LinkedIn for business networking, or looking at Instagram vacation pictures?
  • Under travel, was the employee using Google Maps to find directions to a client site, or researching a Cancun getaway?

The most revealing look at data is represented by views of the actual sites visited from a device. Not just how much and when but the actual type of data usage. Don’t expect to ask your carrier for this information, it is not available; ask MobilSense. We not only possess the ability to capture data on the carrier network, including the destination site but provide information on actual sites visited with usage amounts and percentages.

Click here to learn about a free Mobile Data Usage Assessment


Seeing Information in Real-Time

These powerful category of usage views and actual sites visited finally provide the forensic information needed to pinpoint how employees are using their devices and confront them with the evidence. Real-time brings the following unique advantages:

  • Being armed with information to gain power over policy enforcement.
  • No longer need to wait until the bill closes to spot data wasters.
  • Engage in productive, cost saving initiatives mid-bill cycle.

Gone are the days of viewing data retroactively when the money has already been spent. Welcome to the evolution of mobile expense management where you can now see data in real-time!

Enforcing Company Policy: Setting Soft and Hard Limits

Knowing that an employee is out of control mid-month is useful but it is costing you to rely on manual intervention processes to stop data waste. Managing usage rules monthly, coupled with real-time enforcement is the only answer.

  • Polices can be created for a single device, groups of devices or all devices.
  • Pre-set control logic can be defined and triggered when real-time monitors identify that a pre-defined limit has been breached.
  • Text alerts can be sent automatically notifying employees that they have reached or exceeded a company policy threshold.
  • Categories of usage can be blocked completely and overall usage can be blocked beyond defined thresholds.

Bringing the Same Internal Network Controls to Mobile Devices

These new mobile device data controls aren’t just aimed at putting a ceiling on overall data usage for company employees, but can be used to prevent access to entertainment sites, video streaming, or sites deemed unacceptable or at-risk. Mobile technology has finally caught up with corporate network website access control capabilities.

  • Prevent access to entertainment sites, video streaming, or sites deemed unacceptable.
  • Combine warning messages with increasing levels of enforcement that cap categories of use then an overall cap on all usage.
  • Deliver the same site control on mobile devices that has been available for internal computer networks.

When it comes to preventing the installation of an application, don’t be fooled into thinking that your MDM solution is equivalent to blocking employee access to unacceptable website. A web browser on a smartphone is all it takes to find the backdoor to blocked applications.