Streaming media involves access to audio/video content via the internet. There are many legitimate business reasons to access streamed audio and video files, such as engaging in training, reviewing news or industry-related content, and conducting business research.
However, much of streamed media content is strictly entertainment-based and serves little or no enterprise value. While many companies permit a reasonable amount of access to online recreational material, streaming media can also serve as a distraction for employees and consume critical bandwidth, system resources, and device storage capacity. This can represent wasted investments on the part of the organization, especially on mobile devices, which often have bandwidth allowances whereby hefty data usage can result in exorbitant costs. Bandwidth priority should be given to critical applications and services that keep the business running.
Netflix, which offers online access to movies and TV shows, is one such example of a potentially problematic streaming media service. Watching films or shows during working hours is an unlikely part of most employee job duties. The same applies to Youtube music and videos.
Another prominent example is March Madness, during which college basketball games can be viewed online. Some companies have observed bandwidth consumption rates at several times the norm during March Madness, with a corresponding decrease in employee productivity. In addition, streamed media can contain inappropriate, hateful, racist, sexist, or other offensive material that represents misuse of company systems and networks and can subject the organization to a significant liability risk.
With these factors at stake, it is clearly important for businesses to establish the appropriate use (or non-use) of streaming media to protect their assets and investments.