Video next rising network force

With exponential increase in demand for video content, enterprises now looking at ways to relieve bandwidth stress to better support essential tasks such as staff training and communication, says security vendor.
Written by Tyler Thia, Contributor

BALI--Video will be the fastest growing application among all network content, increasing by 90 percent and outstripping even demand for cloud applications, according to a Blue Coat Systems executive.

This exponential surge in video content will cause bandwidth to be congested, thus, slowing down or reducing efficiencies on critical corporate systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), noted Mark Urban, senior director of product marketing.

Speaking to ZDNet Asia at the sidelines of Blue Coat's Asia-Pacific partner conference here Thursday, Urban said companies today are looking at ways to keep networks safe and secure, while reducing bandwidth cost and making room for IT innovation.

Enterprises are concerned that external factors will disrupt the delivery of business applications, he said. As such, from a network performance perspective, he noted that it is "dangerous" if a surge in bandwidth to support non-business content causes a slowdown in the network.

Urban said: "From a budget viewpoint, we're talking about losing real dollars."

To counter the surge in video traffic, companies can deploy WAN (wide area network) optimization tools which allow for caching, stream-splitting and pre-positioning of videos, he said, pointing to Blue Coat's own product offerings. The security vendor believes such functions can allow for enterprises to free up bandwidth to support essential needs.

Video benefits business, too
Urban explained that video traffic does not necessarily consists of only non-business essential content such as YouTube clips. Companies these days are also looking at videos, for example, to enhance communication between the management and staff.

"It also allows IT [departments] to innovate and do things like video training. So instead of getting staff to attend lessons physically [at one single location], they can now reach everybody and provide the same consistent training in a very short time-period," he said.

Blue Coat CEO Michael Borman also revealed that business software maker, SAP, deployed Blue Coat's technology to roll out training videos for their salesforce.

"The videos are all out there and cached on the server so staff around the world can access it, while reducing the stress on SAP's bandwidth requirements," Borman explained.

He likened the service to the Akamai server technology, which stores and distributes content and applications on a local server. "We're like a private Akamai--we can push and pull video content to companies," he said.

He added that media company, Thomson Reuters, also engaged Blue Coat to deliver its push-and-pull video services.

When quizzed on security threats that could arise from growing video content, Urban said cybercriminals use a popular attack tactic of offering video player updates. When unsuspecting victims click on the malicious link, viruses will be downloaded onto their computers, he said.

"It's not that virus will be embedded in the video but rather, the process [that results in a malware infection]," said Urban.

Tyler Thia of ZDNet Asia reported from Blue Coat's annual Asia-Pacific partner conference in Bali, Indonesia.

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