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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.
A company could just outright ban such practices, although these kinds of efforts can frequently prove difficult to uphold. A Pew Research Center report from June found that at least 30 percent of Americans use social media at work to take a mental break even though their employer has a policy about social media use on the job.
Businesses could better educate their workers about the problems that can crop up should recreational traffic get out of hand, although employees may still ignore such warnings in the end anyway.
An organization could set up rules and filters that explicitly block access to certain sites. This can help preserve bandwidth, although it could prove problematic for the 19 percent of U.S. adults who use Facebook for work-related reasons, according to Pew. Be sure your internet gateway has the ability to filter at the application level rather than just blacklisting sites.
A firm could add bandwidth to better accommodate both recreational and work-related traffic, although this is an expensive move to make. Plus, an ideal amount of bandwidth now could be paltry in just a few years’ time, especially as more bandwidth-intensive apps proliferate. After all, Cisco has predicted global IP traffic to rise by close to 300 percent between 2015 and 2020, and even this estimate may later prove too conservative.
A bandwidth control or bandwidth throttling tool can serve as an ideal solution to the problems caused by recreational traffic. Such a tool provides oversight over what’s happening on the network at any time, and it can enable IT teams to prioritize bandwidth as necessary on a case-by-case basis.
In many ways a software-defined WAN solution functions similarly to a bandwidth throttling mechanism, except that it’s more automated and also typically more expensive.
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?”