Should Your Business Block Online Streaming?

workerstreaming-248x300It started with internet radio. Then came sites like YouTube and Netflix, allowing consumers to watch entire TV episodes directly in their browser. The technology grows by leaps and bounds each year, becoming one of the most popular ways for consumers to watch the shows they love.

Watching at Work

One major problem with this mass consumerism is that some people aren’t keeping streaming to home use. In other words, an employee who finds a little downtime at work may move from listening to online radio while working to watching an episode or two of his favorite TV show. The obvious problem is that the employer is paying an employee to watch TV–never a desirable situation.

Individual worker behavior is only one of the problems impacting businesses that allow online streaming. Even one employee’s streaming can slow down network performance, but when multiple employees stream video throughout the day, business systems may suffer. The sales team may be trying to conduct a video conference, for instance, only to have it slow down because someone in customer service is streaming videos while someone in operations is watching last night’s episode of Survivor.

Setting Policies

What should a business do? the first step is to track just how much online streaming is impacting business services. Your cloud service provider likely has a way to serve up analytics on user behaviors, especially if those behaviors are impacting network performance. You can use this report to discipline specific offenders or choose to take a more widespread approach to the problem.

If blocking this behavior is a business’s choice, a vendor should be able to help with that, as well. In some cases, businesses may be provided a control panel in which they can block certain activities themselves. But in many others, businesses will need to work directly with the vendor to ensure employees can no longer access leisure sites that slow the network down.