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Work-from-home connectivity posing new challenges for IT managers

Article written by Steven Riley (SIMcontrol)

Setting up employees to work from home is now a necessity for South African businesses

Following the announcement by President Ramphosa of a lock-down for all non-essential businesses in South Africa, many companies have scrambled to get their employees ready to work from home.

While some roles were already used to working from home part-time, for many others this is a first. Especially roles that were typically office-bound, such as administrative, accounting and call centre staff now have to be set up from home.

Reliable connectivity remains one of the single most important things for IT Managers to get right. While some employees might have reliable fibre connectivity in place, for many others providing reliable mobile LTE data connectivity is the only real way to get connected from home fast.

The big benefit of mobile data is that you can get connected immediately, and don’t have to worry about where exactly the employee will be based. Deploying and managing SIMs for home use at scale, however, comes with costs and risks. Not having SIM-level control can easily lead to abuse and bill shock.  

Also, scaling up fast is important, but scaling down fast is just as important. Choosing a mobile data offering with no long-term contracts, so SIMs can be deactivated as needed. SIM-level caps, one central account and detailed reports is also important to take the pain out of employee SIM management at scale.

Having a choice between mobile networks to ensure the best coverage at an employee’s home also gives companies flexibility without being locked into one network.

With so many different options to consider – mobile network, SIM types (prepaid, top-up, APN contracts) and SIM management platforms to consider, IT managers need to ensure that they deploy the right type of SIM for the right application.  

Another approach: refunding employees data and airtime

Some employees (or even students/learners) may use their own SIMs cards for data connectivity or phone calls when working from home. Another approach used by IT Managers is to use a SIM management platform to remotely recharge these SIMs instantly across all networks with data bundles or airtime of their choice. Recharges can be automated and processed daily, weekly or monthly as needed.

Whatever your approach is to work-from-home connectivity, managing costs on the one side and risks on the other is essential.

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