Music players 'cause trouble' for IT helpdesks

Survey: IT directors say the use of digital music players is adding to the burden facing support staff. Not to mention user ignorance, users meddling, users working at home…

IT directors have hit out against the use of digital music players at work because they increase the workload on the helpdesk, a study published this week claimed.

The study, conducted by research company Vanson Bourne for software provider Touchpaper, questioned 100 IT directors and found that many IT service departments are under increasing pressure.

Two-thirds of IT directors polled said they thought that the trend for gadgets such as iPods and smartphones had increased their department's workload. Two factors were cited — consumption of network bandwidth by users sharing music over the Internet, and the use of company storage space to store music files.

The study also claimed that downloading songs and other files from peer-to peer sites could breach security and cause network downtime.

Jon Collins, principle analyst at Quocirca, said that the use of MP3 players at work should not in itself cause any extra work for the IT department, but it could cause a hidden threat via the IInternet. "There could be concerns about staff transferring files and using the corporate network to download files from peer-to-peer Web sites," he told ZDNet UK.

The use of digital music players at work was just one of several key issues that IT directors said were responsible for triggering unnecessary IT support queries.

This list of pet hates for IT departments also included; users trying to fix problems themselves; users' lack of basic IT skills; and users not following guidelines, as well as the unauthorised use of devices such as MP3 players.

Home workers raised also concerns among half of the IT directors surveyed, who feared friends and family would be able to tamper with work laptops.

But despite these concerns, the survey's findings suggest there is little impetus for improvement. Sixty-two percent of IT directors complained senior management failed to recognise the importance of IT service and support, while 52 percent said a lack of budget and resources prevented them from improving service and support.