IT warned to prepare network for Super Bowl Monday

Workers posting about game, downloading video highlights could clog networks

Network security vendor Palo Alto Networks today issued a warning to IT executives that social network conversations about the Super Bowl and downloads of video highlights could cause corporate networks to slow down on Monday.

"There are events that are broad-spectrum cultural events like the Super Bowl and some holidays where you see a lot of video viewing and people posting comments about the game and their favorite commercials," said Palo Alto Networks spokesman Chris King. "With Facebook and Twitter, there's a lot of interaction. You're marrying the discussion with video sharing. The first thing people think about is whether their organization is experiencing a productivity hit, but there's massive bandwidth consumption too, because people are watching all these videos."

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have been gaining a lot of steam in the past year with users turning to the sites to post information and glean details about major events, like the tumultuous election in Iran and the tragic earthquake in Haiti.

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, agreed that Internet usage should grow on Monday, but likely won't be enough to cause serious networking problems. ""IT managers might want to take a look at their net usage on Monday, but I doubt they'll see anything to be too concerned about," he said.

King recommended managers consider sending out an e-mail asking workers to stay off social networks, especially during peak times like on Monday, except for business use. And, depending on how much time and bandwidth are used by employees during and after events like the Super Bowl, the Olympics and the March Madness college basketball tournament, IT managers should consider setting an official usage policy.

"We're heading into a stretch where Facebook and Twitter in the office will go a little crazy," said King. "The water cooler gossip about the best Super Bowl commercials is now the gossip on Facebook and Twitter. It may be that some of this is simply a change in the way folks are interacting."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, send e-mail to or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed .

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