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Monitor network traffic as Olympics get underway

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A vast majority of companies – 85% – are likely to more closely monitor the performance of their applications and networks, including WiFi, specifically because of potential strain due to employees accessing Olympic content, with 42% of these same companies being very likely to monitor more closely.
Only 2% stated that they were very unlikely to monitor any differently during the Olympics, in a global snapshot survey by Riverbed Technology that looked to see how companies would be approaching any potential critical business application and network strain from employees streaming Olympic coverage and accessing associated content online at the office.
“As athletes prepare for the games, IT organisations need to prepare for the significant increase in network traffic that will occur as a result of employees accessing and streaming online content and applications, and the related increase in volatility of that network demand,” says Mike Sargent, senior vice-president and GM: SteelCentral at Riverbed. “It is crucial for companies to shine a spotlight on the current and anticipated end-to-end performance of business critical applications, especially during major events such as the Olympics.
“Riverbed delivers that spotlight with our SteelCentral solutions – which provides visibility from the end user device, across the networks, the cloud, the infrastructure, and the apps to help assure great app performance in times of high and volatile network demand.”
Companies expected employees to access Olympic content using the company’s networks, including WiFi, most frequently via their desktops and laptops (48%); followed by smartphones (34%); and then tablets or other non-smartphone devices (18%).
At 44%, Brazil was the only country surveyed that believed by a slight margin that most of its employees would access Olympics games coverage at work more from smartphones than desktop or laptop computers, tablets or other non-smartphone devices.
The reason for monitoring employees’ access to Olympic content could potentially be linked to companies being unable to quickly pinpoint and resolve performance issues of critical business applications: fewer than half of the companies surveyed, 43%, were very confident that their organisations could safeguard critical applications during high network traffic events such as the Olympics; while 12% were not confident that their companies could handle the added strain and traffic.
In one of the most revealing statistics, companies were asked if they’ve had an issue, even once, with their networks, including WiFi, specifically because employees were accessing content during a popular event such as the Olympics. The majority of companies responded yes (69%), with 30% of these same companies saying that they have experienced more than one episode of issues.
The survey also found that the majority (70%) of companies said they would limit or probably limit employees from accessing Olympic content through company networks, including WiFi, in some way, with 24% saying they will definitely limit content and 46% saying they would probably limit content.
Riverbed offers some tips on how companies can alleviate strain on their networks:
* Implement real-time end-to-end monitoring for visibility into network and applications.
* Prioritise and optimize company network traffic while reserving bandwidth for business critical applications.
* Distinguish between company assets and BYOD. Allowing BYOD doesn’t mean that employees can bring any device of their choice and be given unmitigated access to the corporate network.
* Team spirit is not just for the athletes competing in the Olympics: bring siloed IT teams together to plan for any high-priority network events during this time.
* Provide employees TVs for viewing in common areas to ease load on network.