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02 Outages could just be the Tip of the Iceberg as Users Stream Olympic Action


Distinguished Member
Wake Up Call for Network Providers

The Network failures experienced by O2 users over the last few days could just be the start of things to come as the Olympics get underway according to a warning from web filtering and internet security firm Smoothwall.

The firm believes that the UK’s appetite for sport this summer could cause major problems for IT networks during the Olympics as unprecedented numbers of users attempt to stream the action.

Tom Newton, Product Manager of Smoothwall explains: “Hundreds of thousands of O2’s customers found themselves without voice and data connections this week which demonstrates how fragile communications networks can be and the huge impact when they fail.


“When the Games start we could see these types of problems occurring every day because most Olympic events will take place during the working day so there will be huge demand for bandwidth as people attempt to stream events at their desks.

“Any businesses or organisations without IT policies and other measures in place to maintain productivity on their networks could face problems as web connections grind to a halt and endless working hours are lost because employees are watching the Games instead of doing their jobs.”

Tom adds: “In addition, whilst the major broadcasting networks have good security measures in place, there is lots of potential for malware to be attached to videos from YouTube and other sharing sites and the positive publicity surrounding the games is likely to mean that people will be less discriminating about the items they choose to watch. This could result in major IT problems for both personal and business users during the Games.

“Some businesses may simply want to block Internet access to the Olympics but with so many staff bringing their own smart-phones or tablets into the workplace this isn’t the most effective approach and can also cause resentment amongst employees.

“Instead we would advise businesses to work with their IT departments to implement policies and systems that make it clear to staff what, when and how events can be accessed in the workplace.”

Finally Tom says: “There are more devices, more apps and more sites going live all the time so it’s a problem that’s difficult to ignore. Many businesses worry that they either have to ban it completely or allow it, but this is no longer the case. Modern filtering technology is very flexible meaning it can be configured to provide access to certain sites at specific times of the day or restrict access during busy periods and this is the approach that the UK’s most forward thinking organisations are now taking.”


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