So how productive do you think the college basketball fans in your company were last week, thanks to that live streaming of the first round of the NCAA Tournament online? Not only that, but how did your network do with all of that bandwidth chewed by folks sitting at their desk and using the web to watch their favorite team? Although the presumption is that personal productivity declined last week, how about your network? Email seem a little slower? How about web services? And those of you working remotely or on business travel, did you have trouble accessing your company’s LAN? When employees were being productive, how did the network survive with all of that video going across your network?
It’s safe to say that one of the defining characteristics in the American private sector is it’s business productivity. And while a one-time (okay, yearly) event like the NCAA tournament may not be all that big a deal, maintaining productivity and efficiency is an ongoing and growing concern for every enterprise. Not only are we struggling with the costs and controls around over utilization of the network, but we want to make sure those assets are available when employees need them. This is a problem that won’t go away anytime soon.
There’s also the ever-present YouTube/Hulu distraction, as well as the stampede by pretty much every TV network to put video clips and entire shows and episodes online. And don’t forget Instant Messaging, file sharing, and general Internet browsing – all of which is an IT (and CIO, CEO, and HR) management nightmare. How do you give employees the Internet access they need to do their jobs, without offering them a global menu of bandwith-intensive temptations (and we haven’t even talked about that part of the Internet which has no place at work)? You don’t want to come across as Big Brother, looking over their shoulders to monitor what’s on-screen. But hey, it is a business you’re running here, and your people are using the company’s assets.
Thankfully, there are some solutions which can easily integrate into the LAN / WAN environment giving IT management the control they need and employees the access they want. We’ve talked previously about class of service, network design, etc., as part of an MPLS VPN design and there are other solutions, including Sprint Secure Web Protection that should also be considered. That solution provides the level of control to keep the network operating at top efficiency while maximizing the available internet bandwidth of your enterprise. It also guards your network from harm in the form of spam, viruses, spyware, phishing and other nasty things. Think of it as a way to allow control over user behavior, without being overly repressive about it.
So maybe you’re a basketball fan yourself, and you figure it’s only a few games going on during working hours anyway, so you let your people watch. That’s fine, and Secure Web Protection gives you that option. For the other 250-some workdays in the year, the Internet can be limited to its business tool role.
Oh…and seriously, what do you think about Louisville? Can they pull it off? Honestly, I just can’t see Pittsburgh winning it all.