ANALYSIS – Today marks the official start of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and will no doubt be watched by millions and millions of people both in the traditional manner (TV) as well as the online manner as outlined in this Wired article. Geographic time gaps, too many events simultaneously and scheduling issues will no doubt push many an employee towards an occasional "non-work related" viewing of their favorite Olympic event.
This Olympics comes at an unprecedented time in the electronic age - never before have there been so many ways to view media events online - websites, streaming via P2P, normal definition and high definition - and therein lies the challenge for security teams.
A daunting challenge if there ever was one, given the nature of today's firewalls and their plethora of helpers. Many of the media applications listed in the article, particularly those based on P2P, can easily bypass firewalls and penetrate corporate networks, bringing with them a myriad of business and security risks including productivity loss, bandwidth consumption, appropriate application usage policy violations and threat propagation.
Palo Alto Networks customers can keep a closer rein on the employee viewing time while protecting the network from the hackers that will no doubt prey on the unsuspecting fan, by implementing a security policy to block many of the 35 streaming media applications, of which 12 use P2P as their underlying technology.
To view all of the applications identified by Palo Alto Networks as well as their underlying technology and behavioral characteristics, check out the Applipedia.