Ghosts, devils and witches on my doorstep are not what’s scaring me this Halloween. As a CEO that works day in and day out with CIOs and IT managers, my biggest fear is bandwidth. It may not sound all that scary, but for companies that rush out to buy more bandwidth whenever their network runs slowly, it’s often a frightening waste of money.
Why? In most cases, companies have enough bandwidth and networks are over, rather than under-built. In fact, it is rarely a problem of not having enough bandwidth and is usually a problem of managing that bandwidth effectively. Take, for example, one of our international clients that has robust WAN connections, such as 100 meg pipes that can transport data from New York to Tokyo in an instant; yet they were still receiving user complaints that the network was slow. When the CIO told me that no matter how much he invests in more bandwidth he still receives complaints about performance, I let him in on a secret that my clients do not like to admit out loud; an overbuilt WAN doesn’t guarantee performance.
What he and others in most organizations are realizing is that there is a growing need to understand the root of the problem. Throwing more money at bandwidth is not going to fix poor end-user experience if it’s not the reason it’s slow in the first place. In realty, better visibility into network activity allows IT to understand what specific activities are using the bandwidth and where it can (and should) be prioritized. What he found after he deployed Cymtec Sentry was that the bandwidth was effectively transferring the data from one office to another, but he did not have the capabilities within his smaller remote offices to manage the local network’s performance. . With that in mind, he then looked at where bandwidth was being used in those smaller offices and put user policies in place to enable the existing infrastructure to work effectively before investing further budget.
Video and voice are usually among the most bandwidth-intensive applications, although Facebook, YouTube and related sites are becoming increasingly prevalent in a business environment. Just 24 months ago, these types of browsing activities were often blocked because there was no corporate need for it. Nowadays, most companies have re-opened up all of these applications because HR, marketing and other corporate functions need them for day-to-day operations, from posting employee updates to reporting on financial results, and everything in between. Not only has IT been forced to make these sites and applications available again, but they have often since added other bandwidth-draining applications since then, making the challenge doubly difficult.
So avoid being tricked this season, and instead treat yourself to peace of mind with your network performance – know how bandwidth is being used—especially in remote and branch offices—before spending valuable dollars on additional, yet unnecessary bandwidth.