At the turkey or vegan-friendly table for Thanksgiving, we like choices—some like creamed onions and kale salad, others like stuffing in the turkey, others outside the turkey, some with cranberry jelly, others with cranberry chutney. There's flexibility and every family is different.
Just like Thanksgiving, modern IT staff have a bounty of choices to tailor our environments—a one-size-fits-all strategy typically does not work.
So some companies have open environments, others—like many financials—have tighter, regulatory requirements to restrict/limit access to things like FaceBook, YouTube, and Dropbox. Give thanks that we can do more now.
As an example, many remote and branch office firewalls typically allow access to popular social media sites like YouTube and Facebook for all employees. Some of the staff for marketing and product management initiatives use these sites for corporate promotions and view them as critical to their success. Others might be using them indiscriminately during business critical hours. However, end-user experience might not be as critical for these apps as for others.
Restricting certain traffic with firewall strategies is one thing, but what about when the recreational and social media apps that you do allow crowd out other business-critical apps such as the ones running over Citrix? A lot of popular sites include streaming HTML5 video and downloading and uploading MBs of video, audio, and graphics files.
Regulating what we do and managing our behavior might be a more costly endeavor than just tuning the IT infrastructure to fit the business needs. Balancing the blend of social and recreational app use with business critical apps should be worked out behind the scenes. IT infrastructure should not get in the way of productivity—that's any productivity.
Use these basic steps to fix any "branch office gone wild" scenarios that you have:
Using this approach, your branch office is always ready to handle the capacity it has at any time of day. The business-critical apps get their full attention and the other apps that might also be critical but not have as much of an impact if they are a bit slower get lower priority. Sound good?
Here's a snapshot of the traffic by port and protocol:
With Riverbed Cascade and Steehead, you get the complete visibility and app acceleration solution at the branch office. With a deep packet inspection (DPI) engine helping you see the traffic and what traffic is running on which port over what protocol, you can quickly fine tune your traffic shaping policies at the branch office. Thankfully.
For more information, see this demonstration video:
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