If your company is being charged for internet bandwidth based on data usage, it’s easy to understand how high usage can quickly become a problem. While some may feel that having uncapped Internet means little cause for concern – this is not entirely true.
High Internet bandwidth usage causes other applications to respond slowly – especially applications reliant on the Internet to receive their data packages quickly. Take Voice over IP (VoIP) calls, for example – these calls run over your network. If you’re busy with an important call and 10 devices on your network each initiate an unmanaged 1GB update, 10GB is now being downloaded at the maximum available speed. And if you only have a 10Gb Internet line – you’ll be maximizing your bandwidth while these downloads are taking place. Your VoIP call won’t have the data stream it requires and calls will be dropped.
Let’s assume that call was to a highly volatile CEO of a new possible client and he gets cut off during a very important part of his requirements brief. This kind of issue certainly doesn’t reflect well on your business.
Last week, we highlighted a few tips to help small businesses reign in their bandwidth usage, and this week, we’re sharing a few more. These are focused specifically on users and user behavior.
In many SMEs, Internet usage and content and access control policies are not specifically stipulated. Once a device is connected to the Internet, almost any website can be accessed at any time. This includes high bandwidth sites like Youtube and Facebook, among others.
From a productivity perspective, high bandwidth usage generally leads to low business output. If all devices have unmanaged access to high bandwidth sites, there will be no way of gauging what impact these sites have on your bandwidth usage. There are a number of applications available that assist companies to control Internet traffic in two areas. These include:
Content control: With content control, a company can block certain web sites accessed via all connected devices or only certain devices. If you know what sites you plan to block, you can enter site names into the control system and access is then restricted. Alternatively, certain types of content can also be listed and blocked. So you can block certain social media sites or video streaming sites based on their content rather than by a specific name.
Access Control: With access control, you can restrict access to certain types of content or to certain sites at specific times or place restrictions on the people who have Internet access at all. So perhaps you opt to give your staff access to certain sites or types of content during their lunch break.
By using a combination of content control and access control you can create a granular management policy for Internet bandwidth usage.
With technology moving in the direction it is, and at such an incredible speed, companies need to accept that end-users bring their own devices into the office. Managing this trend may mean not allowing private devices to access the network. However, this approach may actually cause bigger problems because modern smartphones and portable devices have been linked to increased productivity.
Apart from implementing a traditional BYOD policy, there are a number of software solutions that can manage what devices are allowed onto the company network and what level of Internet access they are given.
By far, the best way to minimize your bandwidth is to train staff on the effects their Internet habits have on day-to-day operations. Taking time to explain to your staff members what sites are a drain on your bandwidth is time well spent. It’s also helpful to provide broad training, dealing with content types, rather than specific websites because end users can apply this knowledge to all their Internet actions going forward
To sum it all up – the light at the end of the bandwidth and Internet usage tunnel comes in the form of monitoring and management applications, as well as implementing access control and conducting some basic end-user training.
If you need some help improving user behavior and keeping closer controls on your IT infrastructure, we’re the partner you need. Click the button below to get in touch.