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Limiting staff web use delivers big savings

CIOs could save themselves a lot of money by limiting recreational use of corporate networks by staff.

An international survey of more than 1,000 CIOs in medium to large firms, commissioned by network optimisation firm Blue Coat, showed that 40% of traffic on company networks was non-work-related.

Dave Aspery, technology vice-president at Blue Coat, said companies needed to identify the applications that clogged the company pipes. They should then use the available tools to prioritise traffic that is important to the company.

He said a Blue Coat customer had saved itself the cost of three Microsoft Exchange servers to handle its Asia-Pacific e-mail by eliminating all non-corporate traffic and consolidating traffic into a single server in Australia.

Nigel Hawthorn, Blue Coat's marketing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said this was not about cutting off staff access to applications such as Facebook and eBay. "This is about putting the company first," he said.

"A lot of CIOs don't want to stop staff from using the company network for private purposes because it keeps them in the office. If they spend two minutes of their lunch hour doing private stuff, they probably spend the other 58 minutes on work."

Aspery said the switch to service oriented architecture and the growing popularity of Web 2.0 tools such as mashups prompted at least half of respondents to confess they could account for less than 60% of the applications on their networks.

"This has obvious security implications as well as direct cost implications for network expenses," he said. "By identifying and limiting the bandwidth hogs, whether they are people or applications, response times for important business applications will be quicker and staff happier as a result."


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