“Bandwidth is getting cheaper” is a common argument for allowing unrestricted access. Sure it is getting cheaper but name one application that is not using increasingly more bandwidth. Facebook, Pandora, YouTube, Skpe, FaceTime, Spotify, Hulu, Dropbox…they all take up a tremendous amount of bandwidth either streaming data or copying files and pictures. If your organization is using cloud-based applications like Salesforce.com or other SaaS (Software as a Service) those fun personal sites can be impacting the way you do business. Don’t forget VOIP (Voice Over IP) and the data that your phone calls generate.
When is the last time you were told your Internet connection was too large?
On the flip side – you are not running a jail. There may be some valid reason for people to access non-work sites during the day. Breaks, lunch, mental relief – they occur and people need something to occupy their time. Some are even taking online courses to better themselves and do their jobs better. How much can it hurt to allow limited bandwidth for some innocent surfing? Ask Procter & Gamble… http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/06/tech/web/proctor-gamble-internet-ban/index.html
The answer lies somewhere in between. Employees need access to the Web and there may even be an argument for allowing streaming media (podcast or training videos). There is no easy answer and each organization can find a happy medium before their cost of Internet connectivity gets out of hand.
All you need is the right filtering and bandwidth capability and someone that knows how to administer it and you are all set. Be prepared to adjust as portable devices (iPhones, Android, tablets) proliferate.