corporate peer to peer

is almost always a mistake. at any rate, it is anywhere where bandwidth is expensive.

I was just talking to someone at a company I do some consulting with. I was working remotely, and the link was ridiculously slow. Ping times were at around 1 second, and sometimes 1.5 seconds. I could still work (i've got some techniques involving rsync, for very bandwidth starved links, and i just type ahead), but I could work better if the bandwidth weren't so slow.

So I talked about the serious need in corporations to take steps to block p2p, and then, since it's impossible to block it completely, probably, to do as much as it can to monitor p2p and then to have a policy about p2p use (probably that it should not be allowed at all, and that it would be blocked and monitored, and violation would affect performance reviews).

That may sound draconian, but it's necessary.

  1. bandwidth costs money. even if it were cheap, if peer to peer didn't soak bandwidth the company wouldn't need that much bandwidth and could contract for less, thus paying less every month. That's money that goes straight to the bottom line.

  2. the company i'm using for my example runs its own publicly accessible mail and web servers and therefore their bandwidth is all fixed IP. That's a bit of a bug on the part of IT management, they could go with 80% dynamic IP bandwidth and then 20% fixed IP for mail and web. They would save quite a bit of money right there since fixed IP bandwidth carries a very high premium in the philippines. they would save more money just by buying dynamic bandwidth for staff time-wasting surfing and buying less fixed IP bandwidth for those services that require the bandwidth.

  3. in a litigious world, it's for the company's good that peer to peer is blocked and violations monitored and punished. The same company has received a warning letter from a RIAA/MPAA related agency, apparently someone had left their bittorrent client on and had been downloading and serving enough files that they attracted someone's notice.

Naturally, this sort of thinking won't sit well with employees. But frankly, I don't think it matters. The staff aren't being monitored for wasteful surfing (of which, perhaps half of all surfing at the office is wasteful and not work related or only very peripherally work related), so their surfing for entertainment is a free benefit of employment. It's only fair that those online activities which might be damaging to the company be disabled so that other online activities of neutral or only mildly negative value may be allowed.

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