The consumerization of IT movement is impacting businesses in diverse ways, but the implications of the trend are particularly evident in how employees handle issues like video consumption and file sharing. In fact, video and file sharing were among the earliest contributors to the consumerization of IT, and also the first places where significant risk began to show.

Understanding the consumerization problem
In the case of video, many organizations have experienced considerable challenges trying to deal with individuals streaming non-work content in the office. This is only the tip of the iceberg, however, as companies must also be prepared to handle users hopping onto social channels to create, upload and view work-related content. While it is exciting to have users getting so involved in enterprise video initiatives, live video streaming can have a huge impact on network performance. If employees are going off the script and viewing this content in ways that you don’t plan for, your hardware could struggle to keep up.

File sharing can have a similar impact on the network, but with even more dire consequences. As enterprise employees ran into roadblocks to sharing files through email – whether the problem is that the system can’t handle large files or that it is too slow and cumbersome – they began turning to consumer file sharing tools. This practice became a prime example of how IT is becoming consumerized, and highlighted the primary danger of the process – consumer file sharing tools don’t provide the security functions that businesses need.
Two laptops moving folders to another laptopFile sharing is driving the consumerization of IT movement.
As consumerization has taken hold in IT departments and businesses have responded, many companies have found that they can combat the dangers of consumerization by giving workers the tools they need so they don’t end up turning to consumer-focused solutions. Dedicated file sharing and video platforms, for example, make it much easier to anticipate data throughput challenges, limit risk and ensure consistent performance. However, getting users to stick with enterprise tools hinges on having those solutions perform well enough to keep those individuals from straying back to consumer options.

The network is critical in this effort as poor performance can lead to end-user frustrations, and both file sharing and video systems create major bandwidth challenges. This is where enterprise content delivery network systems come into play. They help your network handle the unique challenges of file sharing and video to ensure you can keep pace with consumerization and maintain control of IT assets. Three ways that Software Defined ECDNs deliver on this promise include:

1. Maximizing your existing hardware
In many cases, consumerization happens because businesses can’t reasonably keep up with what consumer solutions can offer. In the case of video and file sharing, consumer solution providers will build their core competency around ensuring a good user experience. Enterprise IT departments want to make sure their systems work well, but they can’t afford to devote the same resources to optimizing one specific technology. This leads employees to move away from business services when they run into performance problems.

SD ECDNs use software-defined technologies to optimize data routes through your existing hardware. The result is a situation where your hardware become much more valuable and users are able to get the performance they need, preventing them from turning to a consumer option in the first place.

“ECDNs use software-defined technologies to optimize data routes.”

2. Avoid location-specific bottlenecks
Network bandwidth can vary significantly for users by location, leading to major problems when it comes to employees responding to consumerization. Individuals working in remote locations, branch offices with inferior network service plans or similar areas can experience performance degradation as data makes its way to them. SD ECDNs share resources across your network architecture to ensure smooth delivery to users regardless of where they are working – as long as they are connecting to the company network. Using VPNs to support remote workers, for example, would allow the SD ECDN to incorporate their devices into the network. What’s more, leading solutions can account for bandwidth demands of devices not attached to the company network, even if they don’t actually extend out to those destinations.

3. Establish consistency
If performance problems are what drove users away from enterprise solutions in the first place, consistency is vital if you want to keep them around. If users know that they can download a different app or use their LTE network and get better performance than they get through the office, they will often turn to the alternative option. SD ECDNs give you the solid, consistent performance necessary to ensure your users don’t need to seek out other options.

Consumerization may not seem like a huge threat, but when it comes to file sharing and video, having workers turn to consumer tools can lead to significant operational and security challenges. SD ECDNs help you circumvent these problems by helping your network keep up with the pace of innovation that happens in the consumer sector, ensuring your solutions stay ahead of the curve.