IT Departments Prepare to Block March Madness Content

Half of IT pros say their companies take some level of action to block, throttle or ban streaming non-work content at the workplace.

As the March Madness NCAA basketball games approach—with the kick-off set for March 19—a national survey of 500 IT professionals commissioned by Modis reveals that one-third of office IT departments are preparing to block, ban or slow down streaming of March Madness content.

Somewhat surprisingly, 66 percent of IT professionals whose departments actively work against streaming non-work content said that they'd be willing to make an exception for the CEO of the company or even senior employees (52 percent).

Despite their powerful positions in their companies, IT professionals don't afford themselves any special treatment. Just 12 percent said they would make exceptions for themselves when it comes to the company's content-streaming policies.

Of the 502 employed IT professionals surveyed, nearly half (48 percent) said their companies take some level of action to block, throttle or ban streaming content at the workplace. Three in 10 (30 percent) admitted their departments monitor employees who are violating content policies.

To prepare for March Madness, some IT departments remind employees about content-streaming policies (24 percent), while 23 percent ask employees not to visit sports sites on the honor system. The survey also indicated companies may start to tighten the reins.

Of those with policies in place, 29 percent of IT pros said they believe their companies' content-streaming policies will become stricter over the next two years, and only 4 percent believe policies will become more relaxed.

The survey also revealed that of the IT departments that currently block, throttle or ban streaming non-work content, 68 percent also place restrictions on a variety of different social and content-streaming sites. So, say good-bye to interacting with friends or watching videos at work.

Social networking site Facebook (44 percent) and digital content-streaming sites Netflix and Hulu (40 percent) were at the top of the list when it comes to throttling, blocking or banning certain content at the workplace, while access to emails appeared to be less of a concern, with only 13 percent banning personal email sites.

Whether it is March Madness or another big event, the survey highlights the pressure IT pros come under when dealing with these types of occasions. Nearly half (46 percent) of those surveyed reported having to work overtime either on the weekend or during the week and 45 percent said they have had to skip lunch breaks in order to prepare for impending network burdens.

As it turns out, IT departments with stricter policies feel more of the burden. IT pros who work for companies that ban streaming non-work content are more likely to have worked while on vacation (42 percent) to prepare for network burdens than those who don't have any policies in place (22 percent).