World Cup web watching could foul ent. apps.

Over half – 54 per cent – of IT managers say that employees should be banned from watching 2010 FIFA World Cup matches over the Internet using enterprise IT resources.

A survey conducted among IT and networking professionals at Infosecurity 2010 last month showed they believe that their corporate networks could be ‘placed under severe strain’ from bandwidth-gobbling streamed video coverage, as employees follow the FIFA tournament in June.

Watching live matches could prevent their employer’s network from performing important business functions, especially during the early stages of the contest when many games are scheduled, and if the England team goes through to the later stages.

The majority of respondents polled admitted to having no policies (65 per cent) or specific technology (59 per cent) in place to prioritise vital business applications, and ensure the most efficient delivery of video streaming.    

While most of the IT managers surveyed believe that watching matches at work should be banned, 69 per cent were believe that employees will be determined to watch them. That leaves just three weeks before the first kick-off, for companies to educate employees about the impact of multiple video streaming sessions on the corporate network or to put technology in place to manage or alleviate the problem.   

Another potential staff distraction is the temptation to communicate through social media such as Twitter and Facebook. According to the survey, while 80 per cent of companies have clear guidelines governing access to non-business websites, policies regarding the usage of social media are still not in widespread use, with 64 per cent of respondents admitting to having no formal policies in place for dealing with social networking websites.

“A streamed football match consumes around 750Mb of bandwidth, but many employees are unaware of the effect of running video streaming on a network,” says Blue Coat VP marketing Nigel Hawthorne. “It’s important that IT and HR managers clearly communicate their corporate rules to employees.”  

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