Get Control of Your Corporate Bandwidth

Did you know “streaming video stresses a corporate network a hundred times more than does e-mail or Web surfing alone?” That’s the finding of eTelemetry Chief Executive Ermis Sfakiyanudis. Writing in eWeek, he urges IT experts to get a grip on corporate bandwidth and learn how to measure and control it.

The problem isn’t just employees watching old episodes of Saturday Night Live at their desks all day. Things like videoconferences, presentations and webinars, while great for training and communication, can tax a corporate network’s bandwidth to the limit. Here’s Sfakiyanudis’s four-part prescription to avoid problems.

Clearly delineate appropriate workplace Internet usage standards. Enterprises must have policies in place that both outline and even prohibit certain ways staff can utilize the Internet at work. These policies should be readily available for all employees to reference, and they must agree to abide by the guidelines before being allowed on the network.

Establish regular communication channels with staff. Education about how corporate network usage can affect an organization is key to any successful Internet policy.

Determine which employees need the Internet for legitimate work purposes. Being able to allocate bandwidth by person and department is a critical capability for IT staff attempting to work within the limitations of an individual enterprise network.

Invest in tools for your network that manage and document Internet Web usage. Once you have outlined a clear acceptable-use policy and understand the bandwidth needs of each department, the next step is to manage usage by utilizing tools to allocate bandwidth tiers by person, department and even Web site.

Way back in 1993 I attended a meeting where one of my bosses worried about what might happen to productivity if everyone had the Internet available on their desktop. Her idea was simply to install a couple of Web-connected computers in the office to be shared by everyone. We sure have come a long way.

–Don Willmott

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