Available Now: March Madness Custom App-IDs

Mar 17, 2016
3 minutes
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The annual college basketball frenzy known as March Madness is in full swing. Brackets are feverishly pored over, office pool picks are made and men and women alike argue about the existence of the next “Cinderella”. And then it starts: the passionate tracking of your picks.

When it comes to using company resources (the network, company time, high speed internet) to participate in March Madness, there are two schools of thought. There are those that embrace March Madness and accept that employees will take part, and there are those who clearly think the use of company resources should not be allowed. In either case, custom App-IDs released yesterday will allow you to block March Madness if you’re in that camp, or safely allow it, applying QoS to strike a balance between work and pleasure.

My view is you can strike the right balance and enjoy the Madness while getting your work done. Let’s take a look at the three most common reasons against allowing March Madness.

  • It hurts employee productivity. It is estimated that $1.9 billion of employee productivity is lost due to video streaming events like March Madness during work hours. The reality is that video is typically not the only reason an employee is non-productive. If you block video, the productivity drain will occur using their 4G phone, or in other ways. If need be, you could disable the use of March Madness on the network for all, except for a select set of TVs set up as viewing rooms. A bit extreme, I think, but easily achievable.
  • Video delivers malware. The reality: Yes and no. Yes, it is often used as enticement where users are lulled into clicking to watch the funny video. But video itself is not a common malware delivery tool. Email, messaging and file sharing are more commonly used for malware. In the case of March Madness, games are shown usually via a tightly controlled streaming app, so the likelihood is even lower. However, with a custom App-ID, all of the existing threat prevention elements can be applied to that traffic.
  • Streaming impacts the network and the business apps. The reality: Yes, this is highly possible, particularly if the network is near capacity. High definition video, suddenly streaming to a higher percentage of your employee workstations can absolutely impact the network. However, these events are known about far in advance and proper network planning and a set of custom App-IDs used to apply QoS can minimize the impact.

Regardless of which camp you fall into, our customers can use the custom March Madness App-IDs available now in the Live Community to monitor network use, protecting it from malware and applying QoS as needed to minimize the impact on your business applications.

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