Analysis of client audits carried out over four years by Intergence Systems, an independent IT optimisation consultancy, has revealed that in 90% of cases, web traffic is one of the top three contributors to network traffic; and that out of that 90%, web traffic forms between 10% and 30% of the traffic overload during any given 24 hour period, company representatives said.
During the working day, this percentage of traffic can rise to over 75%, they added.
The research found that the only two applications which consistently contribute more traffic to company networks are backups (which typically take place out-of-hours) and Server Message Blocks/Common Internet File Systems (SMBs/CIFS) which provide shared access to files, printers, serial ports, and other miscellaneous communications between nodes on a network.
Intergence’s monitoring allows IT managers to see exactly what websites are being looked at, so that they can identify if it is legitimate browsing for work purposes or whether it is on recreational sites such as Facebook or You Tube, the company said.
If, for example, there is a lot of web traffic (HTTP/HTTPS), going to a server which is known to be a webmail server, then that traffic will be re-filed under “email” and so doesn’t count towards the other web traffic which is going to external servers.
Peter Job, CEO of Intergence said, “During a working day, unmanaged web-browsing (often on Facebook or You Tube) can introduce enough traffic into a network to have a major impact on business critical applications, especially those sensitive to network congestion. Companies might be paying for bigger pipes than are necessary to increase their bandwidth on the mistaken assumption that all the traffic they are carrying is essential. In fact, in our experience, most companies don’t know exactly what traffic they are carrying.”
Job suggested that businesses should ask themselves if too much web browsing is occurring, how is it impacting on company productivity – both from slow applications frustrating other users, but also from employees wasting company time?
According to him, they must also ask themselves if it is better to cut off all non-essential web traffic completely at specific times of the day, or just ensure that traffic flow management systems are in place?
“Rich content is a major problem as services like Facebook add more and more functions, but Intergence can install specialist software that can monitor and measure who is using what and when, giving IT managers full visibility of application traffic,” Job concluded.