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New Report Shows Dramatic Increase in P2P Filesharing and Streaming Media Worldwide
Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 02:50:19 PM

Palo Alto

Santa Clara, CA , June 27, 2012 New research published today by Palo Alto Networks™, the network security company, revealed exponential growth in both streaming media and peer-to-peer filesharing compared with data from previous years. The semi-annual Palo Alto Networks Application Usage and Risk Report provides insights into global, real-world data about application usage based on assessments of raw application traffic from 2,036 organizations worldwide between November 2011 and May 2012.

"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," said René 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."

The report focuses on three primary findings:

  • Streaming video bandwidth consumption increases by more than 300 percent. Since the last version of the report (covering the April to November 2011 time period), total bandwidth consumed by streaming video tripled to 13 percent and now represents a more significant infrastructure challenge to organizations. Furthermore, an average of 34 different streaming media applications were found on 97 percent of participating organizations’ 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.
  • P2P filesharing bandwidth consumption skyrockets. P2P filesharing bandwidth consumption jumped 700 percent to represent 14 percent of overall bandwidth observed, growing more than any other application category. Overall, an average of seven different P2P filesharing applications were found on 89% of networks worldwide. While not as bandwidth-intensive as P2P, browser-based filesharing applications were more common. An average of 13 browser-based filesharing variants were detected on 89 percent of the participating organizations’ networks. Despite the takedown of popular filesharing site MegaUpload in January 2012, browser-based filesharing held steady at roughly one percent of overall bandwidth at organizations worldwide.
  • Social networking continues to define itself and newer players see growth. Tumblr and Pinterest both were notable over the last six-month period for gaining traction in terms of frequency and volume of use, despite the continued dominance that both Facebook and Twitter exhibit. At least one social networking application was detected on 97 percent of the participating organizations, with an average of 29 different social networking applications found in each participating organization.

"With over 2,000 organizations worldwide, this is the largest sample size of actual application traffic that we have analyzed since we began our research over four years ago,” said Matt Keil, senior research analyst at Palo Alto Networks and author of the report. "Several trends have been consistent over time, while other findings continue to surprise us. For instance, nearly one-third of every dollar spent on bandwidth is supporting either streaming media or filesharing when viewed in terms of budget dollars. These two categories encompass nearly 250 applications, the bulk of which are dedicated to personal use.”

Application and Threat Information

Information on the more than 1,400 applications that are identified by Palo Alto Networks can be found in Applipedia, part of the company's Application and Threat Research Center. Visit the online resource to find the latest news, commentary, and discoveries on applications and threats at

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