New research published today by Palo Alto Networks has revealed what it calls ‘exponential growth’ in streaming media compared with previous years.

Offering real-world data about application usage based on assessments of raw application traffic from 2,036 organisations worldwide between November 2011 and May 2012, among the findings of the latest Palo Alto Networks Application Usage and Risk Report was the fact that streaming video bandwidth consumption had increased by more than 300% year on since the last report covering April to November 2011.

In addition, the survey showed that total bandwidth consumed by streaming video tripled to 13% something that represents a more significant infrastructure challenge to organisations. Furthermore, an average of 34 different streaming media applications were found on 97% of participating organisations' networks. This included an increase in the use of streaming video services such as YouTube and Netflix in North America, as well as an increase in the use of P2P video streaming network PPStream in the Asia-Pacific region.

"As the lines between professional and private life continue to blur, our data shows that employees are increasingly using personal technologies like Netflix and Tumblr in the workplace," explained Rene Bonvanie, chief marketing officer at Palo Alto Networks. "The key to this 'new reality' is not to ignore or even vilify the existence of these applications, but to manage their usage with policies that give today's modern workforce the flexibility they desire without impeding on the business. Companies are finding that they can successfully implement network security controls that enable web application usage for employees while still ensuring that quality-of-service standards for business-critical applications are met and security threats are managed."