Preparing for March Madness: Five Things for the IT Department to Consider

While we are already mid-way through March, the madness begins today. Of course we mean the yearly NCAA tournament that has basically become a national holiday. With so much money in betting pools riding on the games, there is a heightened need for people to have access the games, and the associated data, all the time.

Of course, because March Madness draws huge ratings, especially online, the NCAA has been streaming games in recent years. Given this, you can place a different bet, one guaranteed to pay out. In fact, so many employees are streaming the games, and possibly streaming multiple at a time, the main danger is likely to be your network crashing. In honor of this most special time of year, we give you five things to consider in order to keep the madness on the court rather than your office.



Throttle users who are streaming
This is the quick and dirty way to keep employees from streaming. If they cannot get their stream loading steadily, they will abandon and just use a game tracker. Many companies are already having issues with users using streaming services like Netflix, but not on the same day, at the same time. This heightens the risks even more.

Tell users you will not setup their devices
In preparation for this day many users may be thinking it is time to set up their device on the network. They think that since it is on their device and not their company computer that it is okay. What they may not realize, is that they are still affecting the network. Tell these people that you can handle setting them up in April.

Tell users to use 3G or 4G
3G and 4G connections can have enough bandwidth to stream games. Let your employees know that this is their only option. Employees will just have to roll the dice and hope they don’t have an office in the basement.

Uptime is more important than crunch time
Not all IT guys are innocent. Do you think the IT department at Syracuse won’t be watching the games while on the job? Even though schools network is typically built to handle such traffic, do not let your interests in seeing the games interfere with the policies you are trying to enforce, even if your favorite team is down by one with five seconds left.

Offer an alternative
If you have the luxury of having cable TV at your company, get a TV set up in a centralized spot or lounge for people to watch. The real excitement is the game endings, allow you employees to pop up and see the last minute of games. The other option is to setup a few monitors with the games streaming for people to watch. Employees don’t like to secretly watch games, if they have another option they might find it the better one.



Image: Flickr, laffy4k