Practice No. 3: Determine which employees need the Internet for legitimate work purposes
Being able to allocate bandwidth by person and department is a critical capability for IT staff attempting to work within the limitations of an individual enterprise network. Having an understanding of which employees require more bandwidth to do their job and which may need less is beneficial for several reasons, one of which is in accounting for network resources.
For example, if the bandwidth consumed by the billing department is negatively impacting the marketing departments' online access, there is a problem. The marketing department is much more likely to be legitimately streaming content and downloading video (both very bandwidth-intensive) than the billing department, which likely doesn't use bandwidth-intensive systems for work purposes.
Examining Internet use by employee and department (as opposed to the company at large) allows managers to evaluate resources using context and role-based usage information. There will always be employees and departments with different bandwidth needs than other staff members and areas of the business. It is essential to both an organization's productivity and network health to properly identify and plan for those needs.
Practice No. 4: Invest in tools for your network that manage and document Internet Web usage
Once you have outlined a clear acceptable-use policy and understand the bandwidth needs of each department, the next step is to manage usage by utilizing tools to allocate bandwidth tiers by person, department and even Web site. Those departments that have been found to require more bandwidth than others can be given priority access to the available bandwidth. Departments and employees that do not require priority bandwidth can be placed in lower bandwidth tiers so that their network activities do not impact organizational productivity.
Tools available today also enable the whitelisting and blacklisting of Web sites so that mission-critical services get priority bandwidth and Web sites that are not work-related get limited or no bandwidth. For example, Web sites such as salesforce.com or other Web-based applications are whitelisted, while Web sites such as youtube.com may get blacklisted and receive no bandwidth. Managing bandwidth by Web site ensures that available bandwidth is used for work-related Web sites above all others.
IT, human resources and department managers can leverage these capabilities to easily enforce corporate Internet use policies. Several tools even provide alerting and reporting capabilities so that infractions can be identified quickly and documentation of these instances is automated.
He serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation. Ermis helped launch and is on the Board of the Chesapeake Innovation Center (CIC), a technology incubator focused on Homeland Defense. Ermis is also on the Board of BankAnnapolis, and serves on the Advisory Board for Nokia Innovent. Ermis has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland, and is a Maryland-registered Professional Engineer. He can be reached at [email protected].