About the time we dust the sand out from our shoes, we start to hear the effects of the Christmas data blow-outs! I assume it’s something about favourite classic movies that need to be seen again when families are at their preferred holiday destination. It is not uncommon to hear that mobile users suddenly increase their data usage from 1GB a month to 40 – 60 GB for the months of December/January creating a nightmare for the Manager responsible, as the data pool dries up!

It’s not always easy to get in touch with the service provider account manager over this period as they too enjoy a nice ‘cold one’ on their favourite beach. And yet, you have to remedy the problem as a deluge of frustrated colleagues, unable to function without access to the World Wide Web, blame you for the catastrophe.

As the Scout motto says ‘be prepared’, it might save your holiday time peace and quiet. Here are a few thoughts you might consider;

Negotiate a tiered data pool at agreed cost levels above your current usage level, this way if the pool blows through the ceiling there is a relatively minimal cost increase already in place.

Put in place a good a basic mobile policy that every member of the organisation acknowledges.

Utilise the service providers management systems that either block, limit or warn mobile users when they have reached their data use maximums.

Open access to the Internet is desirable, but some streaming sites like Netflix and YouTube carry a high risk of significant data use. Consider implementing Access Point Names (APN) to channel Internet usage onto your existing network. The advantage of this is the ability to use your firewalls to block streaming sites and approve applications that are business-related only.

Many mobile applications auto-poll and eat data without your knowledge, check your model of mobile phone and deselect those hungry applications.

We have seen the massive increase in data usage as our client’s transition to a smartphone fleet, and it is natural to discover the convenience of surfing the Internet on the move, checking emails, maps and daily news.

Often the lessons are only learnt when burnt – take a moment to prepare and keep up the monthly monitoring with your service provider.

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