Controlling Employee Internet Activity Key to Addressing Middle East Concerns of Low Bandwidth and Poor Internet Performance
New worldwide report from Palo Alto Networks highlights how increasing use of non-business related applications accounts for significant percentage of bandwidth utilization
August 5, 2012 3:25 by Colin_Saldanha
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates– 18 July 2012- The widespread usage of corporate internet facilities for the non-business related purposes is fast becoming a major concern for organizations in the Middle East. Nicolai Solling, Director of Technology Services at help AG, referencing a recent internet usage behaviour report from Palo Alto, the leader in next-generation security and vendor partner of help AG, has stressed the need for enterprises to gain visibility into their employees’ online activities as nearly one-third of every dollar spent on bandwidth is supporting either streaming media or filesharing when viewed in terms of budget dollars.
“Because organizations do not have the right infrastructure and policies in place to control how their employees use the corporate internet, they have exposed themselves not only to the loss of productivity but also to a myriad of online threats. At a time when we do in fact have the technologies available to grant a very high level of visibility and control over the usage behaviour, organizations cannot choose to simply turn a blind eye. The business impact of such unregulated usage is far to severe to be left unaddressed,” said Nicolai Solling.
Palo Alto Networks bi-annual Application Usage and Risk Report assessed the raw application traffic from 2,036 organizations worldwide between November 2011 and May 2012 and focused on 3 primary findings:
- Streaming video bandwidth consumption increases by more than 300 percent.Since the last version of the report(covering the April to November 2011 time period), total bandwidth consumed by streaming video tripled to 13 percent and now represents a more significant infrastructure challenge to organizations. Furthermore, an average of 34 different streaming media applications were found on 97 percent of participating organizations’ networks. This included an increase in the use of streaming video services such as YouTube and Netflix in North America, as well as an increase in the use of P2P video streaming network PPStream in the Asia-Pacific region.
- P2P filesharing bandwidth consumption skyrockets. P2P filesharing bandwidth consumption jumped 700 percent to represent 14 percent of overall bandwidth observed, growing more than any other application category. Overall, an average of seven different P2P filesharing applications were found on 89% of networks worldwide. While not as bandwidth-intensive as P2P, browser-based filesharing applications were more common. An average of 13 browser-based filesharing variants were detected on 89 percent of the participating organizations’ networks. Despite the takedown of popular filesharing site MegaUpload in January 2012, browser-based filesharing held steady at roughly one percent of overall bandwidth at organizations worldwide.
- Social networking continues to define itself and newer players see growth.Tumblr and Pinterest both were notable over the last six-month period for gaining traction in terms of frequency and volume of use, despite the continued dominance that both Facebook and Twitter exhibit. At least one social networking application was detected on 97 percent of the participating organizations, with an average of 29 different social networking applications found in each participating organization.
Nicolai Solling insists that enterprises need to address the true cause of their network problems. “Organizations in the region tend to address the problem of poor network performance through the purchase of additional bandwidth. However as the report clearly highlights, it is not the network capacity but the manner in which it is being utilized that the real problem which needs to be addressed. The sooner IT departments define policies around acceptable internet usage the sooner they will be able to regain control of their network infrastructure,” he concluded.
About help AG
help AG is a strategic information security consulting company, founded in Germany in 1995 and has been present in the Middle East since 2004. help AG provides leading enterprise businesses across the region with strategic consultancy combined with tailored information security solutions and services that address their diverse requirements enabling them to evolve securely with a competitive edge.
Each and every vendor solution help AG presents to a Client has been thoroughly researched and evaluated. help AG is constantly identifying new and innovative solutions to offer to the market through its own in-house research & development laboratory. For more information, please visit www.helpag.com.
About Palo Alto Networks
Palo Alto Networks™ is the network security company. Its next-generation firewalls enable unprecedented visibility and granular policy control of applications and content – by user, not just IP address – at up to 10Gbps with no performance degradation. Based on patent-pending App-ID™ technology, Palo Alto Networks firewalls accurately identify and control applications – regardless of port, protocol, evasive tactic or SSL encryption – and scan content to stop threats and prevent data leakage. Enterprises can for the first time embrace Web 2.0 and maintain complete visibility and control, while significantly reducing total cost of ownership through device consolidation. For more information, visit www.paloaltonetworks.com.