How to manage staff mobile phone usage

Increasingly, top candidates see a mobile phone (with a generous usage allocation) as an attractive benefit. But should they? This guide provides food for thought about how to manage your staff when it comes to time spent on the blower.

What phone?

Okay, so you've had a think and you know for certain that either some or all of your employees need a mobile phone to do their job properly - but do they need the best phone going? If it's just phone calls and email then consider focusing on handsets that do these things well.

What is acceptable use?

Without an acceptable use policy your staff have a free reign to talk, message and download as they please. If you mind your phone system getting gummed up with games downloads then you need to say so, in a written document called an 'Acceptable use Policy', which they need to sign.

Depending on the nature of your business, this could spell out how much use is permissible, whether staff can make personal calls, whether they can add personal email accounts and whether they can play games. It might also give a protocol for employees who lose their phone; handy given the security risks that poses.

Secure your data

Hackers are evil, and they are everywhere. You don't have to be a large global behemoth to attract the attention of cyber-punks, so you need to do all you can to keep your mobile phones virus free and password protected.

As phones become more powerful and enjoy ever greater capacity for storage, so the temptation is to house more and more sensitive data on them. Leave a fully-loaded handset on a train and, if you're unlucky, then you could have just handed your secrets to a competitor or worse, criminal.

Apart from securing your handsets, the best way to prevent a data disaster is to make sure your staff understand the consequences of losing a phone and are fully briefed on how they work and what are the limits on use.

Back up your data regularly, assign IDs to each phone so you know whose is whose and use virtual private networks (VPNs) so your staff can access sensitive data on the move. It's also a good idea to check if your insurance covers you in any way.

BlackBerry Protect and BlackBerry Management Centre can help keep your business moving even if you lose your smartphone. Watch the video for more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fjx7A35Td5Y

Use common sense

Allowing free access to company data through work mobiles is like filming and distributing board meetings to all staff. There are some things you need to keep private. Make sure sensitive info is encrypted and password protected.

Drive home the message that work mobiles are not toys and should not be left with friends or on public display. Passwords should be kept secret and not shared with even your closest friends. Follow this advice and your network should be as safe as (very secure) houses.

#MWW offer: share minutes with your colleagues

As part of Mobile Working Week, BlackBerry and O2 have teamed up to offer Smarta readers an exclusive offer. To find out how you can share your minutes for free, click here.

MOBILE WORKING WEEK

For more information about how BlackBerry can help your business go to www.blackberry.co.uk/sme

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