Naïve users who hog (or bring down) the network

* Examples of network misuse

Last time, we introduced our survey of 321 IT professionals on the topic of network misuse. We asked the respondents to identify the most unusual or outrageous network misuse that they had discovered on their network and we got quite a set of responses.

Some of the responses seemed to reflect a naïve user base. This is in spite of the fact that roughly 90% of companies have a written policy regarding network use and misuse. One example of this naivety was recounted by a respondent who told us about how a group of his company’s senior managers would get together each day at lunch and play Doom over the network.

Another respondent told us about employees at his company who were downloading content from a movie site in Vietnam. These users had also set up a Real Network Server to rebroadcast this streaming media to other users on the company’s network.

Perhaps the award for the most naïve user goes to a regional manager who shared photos from the regional sales meeting with her immediate employees. Since the majority of the WAN links into the regional offices were running at 128Kbps and the file was just over 100MB, she managed to bring down the regional WAN for multiple hours.

However, a number of the responses we received told us about misuse that was anything but naïve. One respondent cited an employee at his company who was running a side business and using work resources to maintain and store daily transactions that he would then download to his home at night. Yet another survey respondent described how her IT organization had hired a contract IT worker to work full-time for them. However, this contract worker was managing and working on projects for other customers using the network of the company for whom he was supposedly working full-time.

It is possible that an internal education program can reduce the number of instances of naïve network misuse. Next time, we will discuss the breadth of techniques that IT organizations are using to monitor and control the network misuse that continues to occur even if the company has instituted an education program. In the meantime, we invite your input. Kindly write to us and tell us about the network misuse you have witnesses, as well as what your IT organization has done to combat it.

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