Back in April, I looked at the issues surrounding network infrastructure ahead of the Olympic Games and all the pressure they will bring to corporations in and around London in particular.
A response from fellow blogger J Watson pointed out that he has personally witnessed network traffic in large corporations increase by as much as 50-100% during an event like the Olympics. He explained that this wasn’t just caused by an increase in business network usage and employees checking the news and results, but also by their watching live video of the games.
The speed of mobile data connections certainly may slow down and content such as files and images may be difficult to download to mobile devices – the very devices that homeworkers rely on. But on top of enabling employees to work at home, enterprises could face strain on their network because of people watching the Olympics online. And employees will go online to track their favourite events during business hours.
Business continuity is a prized asset of any business and it’s not too late to take management action to guard against disruption to our internal systems.
With the right infrastructure, IT departments can guard against this by controlling applications as they flow across the network. They can see how applications are moving, who is using them and for what purpose, and then prioritise applications accordingly. They should look to minimise non-productive bandwidth-hungry applications such as live TV/video feeds so to lighten the load.
But how about the internet as a whole? Internet outages could be costly to organisations. If an outage lasts several hours, the monetary impact can be quite significant. In fact, IDC recently estimated the cost of an 11-hour IT outage at around £600,000.
The Government has been very quick to put out warnings of possible internet outages in its “Preparing your business for the Games” document issued earlier this year. And the Cabinet Office and the London Games organising committee has advised businesses that “due to an increased number of people accessing the internet” during this summer's Games that “internet services may be slower” or “in very severe cases there may be drop outs”.
This is why enterprises should look carefully at their infrastructure and its ability to support remote working effectively, and make sure they have a system in place to be able to cope. If necessary, by considering which business-critical applications will be affected by limited bandwidth as employees both in the office and at home compete with channels such as YouTube and BBC iPlayer for internet resources.