A Winning Game Plan for Corporate IT During March Madness
The March Madness tipoff starts tomorrow. While some of the best collegiate basketball players will vie for a championship trophy, IT administrators and employees will be competing in a different game this week: The battle for access to March Madness versus the bandwidth and IT challenges that come along with the tournament each year.
March Madness, also known as The NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Championship, is one of the premier sports events when it comes to employee solidarity and water-cooler talk. From betting pools to exciting daily games, the tournament is almost tailor-made for workplace distraction.
While providing a distraction to workers has its advantages when done in moderation – especially the opportunity for employees to connect with each other – the tournament also can have its negative effects when taken to the extreme.
These negative effects definitely exist for the IT department.
During the tournament, employees often keep up with the latest news and score through websites and live streaming of games, while audio commentaries and highlights also are common.
In moderation, this is really no big deal, but the tournament can be a bandwidth blitz, since the typical streaming content consumes around 10Mb per minute and multiple simultaneous streams can significantly impact overall bandwidth usage. This can effect voice-over-IP quality, as well as slow down customer relations management software and cloud services that might be critical for a business.
Additionally, the March Madness tournament is a security problem because cybercriminals use the tournament to trick unsuspecting users with fake websites, SEO poisoning, phishing and other malicious scams.
Image via Shutterstock
There are various ways that IT departments can minimize the impact of the tournament on IT resources. Educating employees about moderate use is one technique, but the best solution is having automated solutions in play to check overly aggressive usage.
The biggest move IT can make is setting bandwidth quotas for the tournament, according to Web monitoring and cloud communications expert, GFI Software. Downloads from streaming media sites could be limited to 100Mb per day, for instance, or sports sites could be restricted to 30 minutes of activity a day. This gives employees access to the tournament without having it eat too much into company time or resources.
Furthermore, IT can set up action-based alerts to anticipate problems before they develop and take the necessary action to immediately remediate issues as they rise.
For security, aggressively blocking malicious websites during the tournament will help, including using a dedicated Web security engine. Also, gambling sites can be blocked to cut down on liability.
Such steps can win the game for IT – the March Madness tournament is not the only contest that will play out this week.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
and MSPs GFI's solutions for OEMs & Cloud Providers