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At most organizations, are people working hard or hardly working? If internet usage statistics are any indication, the latter is true. For starters, a 2010 report found that 10 percent of all business bandwidth is used for YouTube, while close to 7 percent of all links clicked by employees are related to Facebook.
In the following years, the situation doesn’t appear to have changed much. One study found that 89 percent of people admit to slacking off at work, while a separate report showed that among those who waste time on the job, 39 percent use the internet for personal purposes and 38 percent are using social media during the work day.
This has all been compounded recently by the Summer Olympics. Not only are most of the events happening during the work day in North America, but broadcasters have been live streaming the events and posting highlights on websites like YouTube. A June 2016 survey of 600 IT pros found that 72 percent of them expected a notable uptick in internet traffic at the jobsite during the Rio Games.
This is all problematic for a variety of reasons. For one, time that employees spend watching YouTube or browsing Twitter is time they’re not working, even though they are on the clock. Furthermore, at companies with limited bandwidth, these recreational activities could be preventing mission-critical apps like CRM software and VoIP phones from having the connectivity they need to work effectively. What often ends up happening is that the more recreational activity on a network, the less likely core programs are able to work effectively.
“If your customers and your internal traffic are operating on the same bandwidth, you’re going to be in a world of hurt during the major Olympic events,” cybersecurity expert Theresa Payton said to NBC News. “A significant event like this could bring your network down to its knees and impact your ability to service your clients.”
Once businesses acknowledge the situation they’re in, there are a few steps they can take to prevent issues from cropping up. But, each one has its own pluses and minuses.
So what’s the best solution to the problems caused by recreational web traffic? The answer is, it depends. Once a business fully understands the scope of the problem it can better determine what the best solution is to the issue.
“Companies need to think about this in advance,” said cybersecurity expert Dan Lohrmann, according to NBC News. “What are the policies? What protections do they have in place? And if they need to, is there a way to throttle the bandwidth?”
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