Like it or not, workers install their personal applications on corporate computers all the time now. And probably the most common personal application being installed, especially if they have a Macintosh, is Apple iTunes or something equivalent.
The issue that this creates for IT organizations is that these Apple applications frequently are updated. In addition, end users tend to want to download, for example, a movie while their systems are attached to the corporate network. They think that network bandwidth is free and no amount of badgering from the IT department will change their behavior. But that doesn't mean the IT department has no recourse.
Blue Coat Systems, for example, expanded its bandwidth-management capabilities this week by adding a plug-in that provides the ability to detect Apple application traffic. According to Steve House, senior director of product marketing and management for Blue Coat, IT managers can either close down their networks to these types of applications altogether or just make the download experience painful enough that workers decide to do the download from home.
Given the spiky nature of the network bandwidth consumed by consumer applications, IT organizations can bet that at some point these applications will interfere with the performance of mission-critical applications on the network.
The challenge is to find a way to mitigate that traffic on the network in a subtle way. After all, there's already plenty of contention between the IT department and end users. So rather than waste time fighting and cajoling, it's a lot simpler to remotely choke off the bandwidth until the problem goes away on its own.