The Pinnacle Peek

Will March Madness Slam Dunk Your Network?

Written by Jon Deaver
Posted on: March 4, 2019


The Super Bowl may be the single biggest sports day in America, but the NCAA Basketball playoff, better known as March Madness, is the biggest annual sports event of the year.   64 teams, no wait, 65, no wait, 68 teams, now start the journey with high hopes and dreams.  There will be agony and excitement and emotion and stories to move the soul.  Everyone strives to be one of the “Final Four”, but in the end, there can be only one winner, and that’s what makes us watch.  It’s like watching the nature shows of the lion chasing down the gazelle, knowing that the lion should win, but still waiting and watching to see if the gazelle can escape in a furry of dust.  Whether luck or skill, the gazelle lives to see another day, and yet, will probably get eaten by another lion the next time, right?  Or an Iguana being chased by a snake army; just can’t stop watching, hoping beyond hope, the little guy can come out victorious against all odds.     

During this time, people all over the country start using words with totally redefined meanings for those few precious weeks like “Cinderella”, “Seeds”, “Big Dance”, “Pool”, and people start praying for “upsets” and fear the “Bracket Buster”, and then there’s the totally made up words like “bracketology” to make it all sound scientific and proper.  Everyone’s striving and hoping for the all elusive “Perfect Bracket”, which could be about 1 in 9.2 quintillion mathematically speaking.  But there are mystical stories of the one guy that a friend of a friend heard about from the hairdresser’s cousin.  It’s like life on other planets, just because we haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it can’t exist.

So what does all the madness have to do with your business?  At one time labeled a curse that robbed businesses of time and work hours, many businesses have turned this season into a time of fun, corporate bonding, and even a marketing gold mine.  The employee today is almost guaranteed to have an opportunity to participate in a company March Madness Bracket Pool, whether company sanction or in the shadows of the water cooler.  Even customers, or potential customers, can submit a bracket with companies to win prizes and money, to try to capitalize on the fever that seems to infect us all this time of year.

So how do your react?  Embrace or Battle?  With first and second round games taking place during many people’s work hours, watching a TV in a breakroom was a typical picture in the past, but in today’s environment of online streaming, chances are, everyone will have their own personal feed to their desk now and that could be affecting your business.

Whether your office spends the weeks waving foam fingers and wearing team jerseys, or you opt to run every confiscated bracket through the shredder, here are some things to consider going into these upcoming weeks of madness:

  • Can your network handle it? Watching a game online takes network resources which can affect all aspects of your business.   Having a network capacity to handle the viewership can be an easy modification or can expose a weakness where you need some upgrades.  Having someone evaluate your network can be a big help, not only to survive basketball season, but bigger larger term needs.  Will your office WIFI collapse under the stress of all your employees connecting to stream the game via PC, Tablets, and Cell Phones?
  •  Can your broadband connection handle it? How much of your current connection are you using? How much “extra” room do you have?  Can you prioritize your traffic, so that the basketball game doesn’t keep your business download, website, or email from happening?  You don’t have to bench your whole business to allow a little fun if you have the right tools.
  •  If it becomes too much of a distraction, can you shut it down? Today’s technology can allow you great flexibility in controlling the access people have to what they can spend their time doing.  Maybe you’ll be the easy going boss that allows the fun to happen, but if you see it becoming too much of a distraction or if that big client job starts falling behind, can you flip the switch to turn off the access?  Are you able to identify those streaming the game while on lunch break verses business time?
  •  Will your employees' viewing bring in undesirables? Watching games online can trigger your office computers to download updates to software and programs to view the streams, but do you trust all your employees to be able to go to the right places?  Is your virus protection up-to-date and adequate?  A wrong download can infect your network with all sorts of nasty viruses that you may be dealing with long after the final nets have been cut down.
  •  Do you have the help you need to make these changes fast? March Madness is a predictable surge in your network, but not everything is that predictable.  Do you have the IT resources that are trained to handle the unexpected in a reasonable amount of time?  Good teams are going to lose this season because they couldn’t adjust fast enough to what the other team threw at them.  Doesn’t matter what it shows on paper, the unexpected has a way to bring out the weaknesses, and even the favorites can fall.

Whether it’s March Madness, or a giraffe having a baby, there’s going to be something out there that will put unexpected demands on your network.  The question is “Are you prepared?”   If you don’t know the answer, then you probably aren’t.  Treat this March Madness like the FIRE DRILLS we had back in school days.  No reason to panic now, just go through the steps as if it were a crisis so everyone gets a refresher.  Then when the threat is real, you’ll have a plan, and you can do the dunking and not get dunked on.

By the way, have some fun and click here to setup your own office bracket and join the madness.  Go Team!


Pinnacle Telecom has the team and resources to help support your business.  Whether faster broadband connections, the network tools to help you manage your usage, managed IT support, or the expertise to respond when the problem strikes, we are here to help businesses succeed.

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