The introduction of Google+, now the fastest growing social networking site in history, marked a massive leap forward for the organisation. With 20 million users signing up in the first month of its release, IT managers from organisations of all sizes should brace themselves for the demands this will pose on their networks.

One of the many features of Google+ is its unique offering of video chat, which allows users to talk to as many as 10 people at once, but as staff turn to the social networking site during work hours, organisations should certainly be wary about a potential drain on the company network.

An IT manager’s Internet gateway—its lifeline to the Internet— can quickly be slowed down by video streaming, and video floods could mean that internal business critical traffic is impaired. Many organisations’ Internet access is centralised, and “backhauled” inbound internet traffic is delivered to branch offices over the WAN that links them to the data centre or headquarters.

Therefore, the added load of multiple instances of a live video chat could swamp the already strained WAN links to branch offices, making business-critical applications and communication exceedingly slow or stop completely.

Another consideration is the possible security risks that Google+ could pose to business networks, with recent findings showing that social networking sites are one of the top five entry points for malware.

Social Networking is becoming its own web communication ecosystem, which creates a new playing field for cyber crime through trusted relationships between friends.

This combined with dynamic links, the lure of seeing a photograph or video, has shown to be a very effective method that leads to mass malware delivery.

Despite this, it is increasingly impractical for companies to completely ban the use of social networking sites, and measures must be in place to ensure that the network can run efficiently and safely whilst reaping the benefits that sites like Google+ can offer.

WAN optimisation solutions can control specialised optimisation features for data, video, cloud and web applications, whilst using a Secure Web Gateway application offers real-time security and protection against web-borne threats. Providing that businesses implement these measures then the potential risks presented by the increasingly popular Google+ can be neutralised.