Avoiding March Madness Strain on IT Networks, Productivity

March Madness may mark the biggest event of the year for college basketball fans, but for IT administrators this frenzy games and betting pools can mean network slowdowns, lost productivity and the inevitable complaints that come with those. (Your customers’ employees aren’t really streaming video of college basketball games over the company’s IT infrastructure, are they?) What’s an IT admin or MSP to do? Raj Sabhlok, president of IT management platform ManageEngine, provided a few tips to help IT cope.

But first, here’s a real look at the impact. Sabhlok told MSPmentor that the estimates are that over 8 million unique viewers will be streaming March Madness video during work hours this year. “That can have a significant impact on corporate networks, as well as the intangible of lost productivity,” he said.

Today, the impact may be even more significant than it has been in previous years. That’s because of the widespread use of mobile devices.

“Most employees now access the corporate network with two or even three devices,” he told MSPmentor. “Streaming video from these devices can have a major impact on network performance.”

Sabhlok recommends implementing the following five steps to help address the Madness:

  1. Create an IT policy that addresses business vs. personal apps on the network
  2. Monitor your network for availability or poor performance
  3. Evaluate what’s sucking up the bandwidth
  4. Monitor app traffic in real time, and be able to make on-the-fly changes
  5. Get control over which apps employees are using on their mobile phones
These tips don’t just apply to March Madness, of course. Any major event can have the same effect on IT infrastructure. Sabhlok said that big news events, sales, major speeches and international sporting events such as the Olympics can all put a strain on corporate networks.
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