The 6 Biggest Ways Your Bandwidth Gets Stolen
With the significant increase in remote employees over the past year and a half you may have noticed that your bandwidth has been more limited. But remote employees aren’t the only thing that can be slowing your network down. And your business wouldn’t be the only one affected. So, let’s look at the biggest ways your bandwidth gets stolen.
Where’s All of My Bandwidth Going?
Not so long ago, it would have been ridiculous to ask an employer to give you free TV, free movies, free music, and a free TV camera at your house in case you wanted to work from home and conduct a remote meeting. Yet, with our growing reliance on the internet, these services (and much more) are easily accessible by most office employees and their remote counterparts. Naturally, a growing number of employees will use some, or all, of these services for personal use as well.
Many employees use much more bandwidth than necessary to do their jobs. As a business owner, what can you do about it?
First, let your employees know that bandwidth is more than a commodity. Just like electricity, water, and leasing building space, bandwidth is a necessary expense you need to keep your business running. But unlike all the others, the amount of bandwidth you truly need varies based on the workload and what you allow. It can be overused by employees who stream videos and music or play video games between completing company tasks.
The 6 Biggest Ways Your Bandwidth Gets Stolen
Does your company upload or store video content every day? Many companies do these days, especially for Marketing and training purposes. In addition to these, what about the videos that are being watched in-between company projects?
Viewing TV shows or movies online uses about 1 GB of data per hour for standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for HD video. Downloading and streaming consume about the same amount of data. Since so much online video is HD quality, you can see that streaming and storing video content is usually the biggest way your bandwidth gets stolen in the office.
Everything that is available to your employees through their internet connection is available through Wi-Fi. The extra strains Wi-Fi puts on bandwidth are caused by the users who connect their phones to Wi-Fi so they can save on their personal data plan.
At no extra cost to them, they can stream video and surf online on their phones. Some people even use their phones to play video games while on (or off) their lunch breaks. Just being connected puts a small drain on your Wi-Fi, but all the rest can slow your network down to a crawl.
There are many benefits to using the Cloud. The biggest of which is the flexibility it brings to your business. This scalability allows you to tailor your bandwidth needs as your company’s needs grow or shrink. But the amount of bandwidth usage varies as more and more files and programs are shared through the Cloud.
With subscription-based software programs becoming the norm, there’s data floating in and out of your employee’s workstations all day. If you use heavy-hitting data drainers, like HD video files that are shared between two or more employees, your Cloud gets weighed down quickly. If not monitored properly, excess data usage through the Cloud can clog your system like hair in a bathtub drain.
Whether you’re working from home, meeting with clients, or even interviewing potential new employees, videoconferencing is a tool that makes good business sense. Many business trips have been replaced by video conferencing, and that’s good for your budget.
However, now you’re sending that information through your internet connection, and that needs to be factored in your bandwidth needs. The good news is that video conferencing costs a lot less than travel, so spending a little more on bandwidth is probably the most cost-effective way to meet with people one on one.
Many people enjoy listening to music while at work, and if the company allows it, then it’s no big deal. Right? Well, mostly right. Problems may arise when the streaming music is left running 24 hours a day or multiple people are competing blasting their own tunes. The more people stream music, the more it will cause a drain on your bandwidth.
Even though music streams at a low data rate, some services allow users to store their music files on the Cloud, and that causes a bump in the data flow. Accessing personal music files and streaming Internet Radio may not take up too much bandwidth, but the number of employees who are constantly listening to music adds up. If most of your employees listen to streaming music, then data usage should be monitored.
The final way your bandwidth gets stolen is social media. Humans are social creatures, and they search out ways to stay connected to family and friends. Social media gives us many ways to stay in touch with others; but in the office, that comes at a price.
When business owners calculate the bandwidth requirements for start-ups, they often don’t factor in their employee’s social media habits. Sure, most functions utilized through social media don’t use much data at all. But increasingly, video attachments are sent along with a text message. Even in a compressed state, video files are among the greediest bandwidth thieves
The Cost of Doing Business
As you can see there are many ways your bandwidth is being used throughout the day. And, there are several ways it can impact your business. For example, just a few years ago it was taboo for employees to spend time watching videos on YouTube or looking at pictures of their nephew’s graduation on Facebook. Today, it is generally accepted that employees will spend some time doing these things.
As a business owner, you can place limits or controls on these habits, but these actions may cost you in other ways. Employee morale is closely tied to online habits. And if employees can’t stay in touch with their friends on your time, they’ll probably take more breaks than they used to so they can wish Aunt Mary a happy birthday.
It’s a challenge to find a balance between the bandwidth your business needs and the bandwidth your employees need. As the one who writes the checks, it may not seem fair that you’re funding someone else’s online habits. But in today’s business arena it’s the price of doing business. In the next couple of blogs, we’ll show you how to rein in these data hogs all while maintaining positive company culture and avoiding mutiny.