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December 17, 2012

Major Challenges Face Enterprise Internet Users in 2013

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

With 2012 winding down, and 2013 rapidly approaching, everyone's beginning to look back on the year that was and look forward to the year that is to be. IT departments are no different, especially in terms of calculating their budget needs for 2013. While it's never possible to foresee all the issues that a budget--indeed, that a department--needs to be prepared for, a recently-released report from Exinda suggests that there are some major challenges that are waiting in the wings, and though some of them have been around for some time, they've only gotten more pressing.

Bandwidth is a limited commodity, generally; with only so much to go around, this makes enterprise users painfully aware of the consequences of recreational Internet use. With both the number and frequency of high-bandwidth recreational Internet options--peer-to-peer (P2P), social media, and video--on the rise, it’s making for a particularly difficult problem for IT departments, and makes for one of the biggest problems to address in 2013.

Image via Shutterstock

While it might be easy to control the use of P2P systems in the office--even then, it may not be, as some collaboration systems use at least something resembling P2P--the rest of recreational Internet use has a disturbing way of looking like business Internet use. For instance, consider YouTube (News - Alert). If IT were to close off access to YouTube, it would take care of the problem of employees watching an occasional adorable kitten video, right? Sure would...but marketing wouldn't be at all happy that they've suddenly lost access to a primary advertising medium. It might even mean a loss for the company now that marketing can't whip up a video that goes viral packing the company's name and logo.

So how can IT distinguish the development and launch of the marketing department's newest brainchild from Phil in accounting watching a skateboarder dive off a roof? The issue of real-time video and collaboration content isn't much better either; from Google (News - Alert) hang outs to Microsoft Lync, video use is exploding, and desperately needs regulation. But regulating these traffic sources can be difficult at best.

It's not just content that's making IT squirm, though; the issue of keeping service level agreements (SLAs) up for cloud-based applications is also becoming more prevalent thanks to the growing use of the cloud in general, especially when the cloud isn't on premise. Internet backhauling is also a problem; old models of centralized backhauling are increasingly failing in the face of spiraling traffic amounts, and since around 70 percent of companies use centralized backhauling, that's going to pose serious problems in the near future.

Even worse, if there is a way to successfully block all non-business use of the Internet, it may pose other problems. Some studies have found that, without a short break in the course of the day--easily had from the desk with an Internet video or the like--employees actually make more mistakes and become less productive because they're looking forward to their "reward", as it takes energy to exercise restraint in the face of temptation. As employee’s burn energy to keep to employer guidelines, they have less to devote to actual, useful tasks.

But bandwidth is still limited, and IT departments need to ensure that the most bandwidth possible is available for actual business tasks that generate a profit. The issue won't get any easier in 2013, and that's leaving plenty of IT departments with serious issues to face in the coming year, and with the coming budget.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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