In the spirit of Halloween, it is time to think about zombie attacks and buried alive incidents. Most organizations experience these horrors year-round and don’t even realize it!
What is a zombie attack for smartphones? First, it happens when an employee with a corporate-owned device becomes an ex-employee and is allowed to keep the device. The employer unknowingly continues to pay the bill after failing to switch it from the corporation to the individual.
But it isn’t just zombies on the attack. An employee with a corporate-owned device may become an ex-employee and the mobile device is returned, tossed into inventory, and never heard from again. In this “buried alive” example, the device is placed in storage, but the billing is never turned off or suspended.
There are several steps to avoid costly zombie attacks. First, consider which department is responsible for mobile device ownership. Is it the business unit, IT, a mobile department, human resources (HR), or accounts payable? To address these issues, organizations need to implement the three “E’s” of mobile expense management:
- Establish clear policy and process
- Educate workforce
- Enforce compliance
If an employee leaves the company and they are allowed to take their device with them, the enterprise needs a tracking mechanism to match this HR activity with the bills. Reconciliation of a file that includes these employees’ mobile services should produce a report of services that need to be switched from corporate payment to employee payment. If employees turn in their devices when they leave the company managers need to cancel or suspend the service. Enterprises should negotiate an Early Termination Fee (ETF) waiver with carriers to avoid penalties. If this is not possible, services should be re-assigned to new employees.
Investing in mobile device and expense management will help avoid zombie smartphone attacks and buried alive incidents. Costs for failing to act quickly hurt the bottom line. Just think, if five percent of the organization’s 5,000 smartphones are zombies or buried alive, that equates to 250 devices. At an average cost of $80 that would be $20,000 per month. Over 12 months that is $240,000. Regular audits of mobile devices to flag zero usage devices can identify buried alive devices that are not caught and prevent scary outcomes.