How to give your staff a tablet without giving yourself a headache

Increasingly business owners are finding value in providing their front line staff with some sort of tablet computer to use, be it an android based unit or an iPad, there are many good use cases for this technology that can really help your business.

So you’ve decided equipping your team with such a device is the way to go, but how you do you achieve that without causing yourself a massive headache now, and in the future?

Choose Wisely

The most important step in the process is to choose a tablet that is going to do the job you need. Talking to your technology manager is important here; They will have a deep understanding of your business needs and be able to differentiate the capabilities of each potential device so that you invest in the one that’s most suited to your business.

Getting this step wrong can be a very expensive exercise, as tablet computers lose a significant amount of their value as soon as you unbox them, much like buying a new car. Make sure you have done your homework and the device is going to be right for your specific needs.

A Business Account

You need to set the tablets up for your staff. Never give them to them unopened and let them sort it out; We’ve seen plenty of examples of how badly this can go; The easily solution is just to let your IT team source and deploy the tablets, because they have all the details on what you need and how best to make it happen.

Problems arise when staff are left to setup the device themselves. In almost every case, the staff will simply use their own account to log into the device and get started. Sounds great right? One less thing for you to worry about. Problem is, staff are rarely around forever these days, and when they leave, you can find yourself locked out of your own device, when staff refuse to provide their own personal password to you.

As an example, Samsung Android based tablets have a theft prevention feature that completely defeats any attempt to wipe and reset the unit without the existing user account login details. In this scenario, the only solution is to find your original receipt of purchase, take the unit to a Samsung retail outlet and pay them a fee to reset the unit.

You can avoid all that unpleasantness by simply setting them up with a work account you own and control from day one.

Setup Tracking

No, not of your staff exactly, but you want to enable your chosen devices “find me” option. Every device will have this capability, and it will enable you to pinpoint where the device is if it gets misplaced, and if stolen, allow you to securely wipe it so that your business data is not compromised.

If you set this up right, it’s a quick and easy process to locate and potentially nuke the device if it escapes your teams control. Fail to get this right and you lose a lot more than just your expensive tablet computer.

Security Security Security

As part of the setup process it should be a given that the device is secured with a strong 6 digit pin code. Good quality devices will force this on you anyway, but many will not, and you need to ensure this is in place before the device leaves your office.

Loss of devices like these are common, and without a pin code to keep prying eyes out of your business, you can find yourself in big trouble.

Check your insurance

Another common way things go wrong with tablet computers is accidental damage. Our insurance guru Chris Cox has some great advice about this; 

Your business insurance may include cover for tools and digital equipment, but often it doesn’t cover accidental damage without you requesting that. For more expensive items, usually over $2000 in value, you should make a list of them with serial numbers and provide your insurance broker with this information to ensure coverage is included. 

Put simply, you need to raise this issue with your insurance broker and make sure you are covered if something goes wrong. 

Prepare for obsolescence.

It’s a reality that you will be luckily if your new tablets are still going strong and doing the job in 2 years; So setup some budget for replacing them two years from now. If you put that money aside each week you’ll barely notice it, and if the tablets are still doing a great job in 2 years time, you have a nice savings account possibly offsetting your loan interest and making you money, ready for when they eventually need replacing.

Set Usage Policies

It’s critical that your team understand this is a work device. Your technology manger along with your human resources manager can work up a suitable company policy around using the device, which you should get all staff to sign before they take possession of the device.

You need to set out that the device is owned by the business, provided for business use and should not be used for personal activities. The problem arises when staff inadvertently install dodgy applications on the tablet, which can lead to problems with running the device, or worse, the loss of your business data to outside parties who’d love nothing more than to ransom the data back to you.

TLDR: Get Good Advice.

If all that sounds like hard work, then just make sure you get good advice from your technology manager. Don’t have one? Talk to the team at Shift Computer Solutions about how we can make all this and more fast, easy and inexpensive.

About the Author

Mathew Taylor

For over 20 years, Mathew Taylor and his team have provided I.T. support for hundreds of local business owners. Mathew has been involved in the Goodna Jacaranda Festival for five years, and President for the past 4 years and continues to be active in the community, supporting local community groups. He is passionate about empowering young people to go beyond their circumstances and works closely with Redbank Plains SHS on delivering positive outcomes for many young people.

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