More than 12% of corporate network bandwidth is taken up by people using Facebook and YouTube, according to new figures from security firm Network Box Corp.
The Hong Kong-based company spent five months analysing Web traffic from 30,000 business end users to more than 19 billion URLs through its global network of security operations centres and discovered a high level of social networking sites being accessed.
Facebook came out on top, accounting for 5.8% of all corporate website visits and 4.4% of bandwidth, while YouTube consumed the most bandwidth at 7.8% of the total.
"A lot of companies now use YouTube to advertise, but I'll bet there is a lot of casual downloading going on. Companies need to look at their policies and see what is actually happening on their networks," said Simon Heron, Internet security analyst for Network Box. "Do they really want to waste a lot of their bandwidth, as well as user productivity, in downloading and running YouTube videos?"
He said that while social networking has a role to play in business, companies need to control its use. "Social networking has a business use but is treated in an ad hoc way, and people are left pretty much to do what they want, and that is quite dangerous," he said. "If they are downloading videos from YouTube, and images from Ying.com [Yahoo's image server domain], you have to be concerned about what else is coming on to your network."
This is the first time Network Box has analysed Web traffic in this way, but Heron says the company plans now track it on a quarterly basis to detect usage trends.