Illegal P2P downloads are costing Australian businesses up to $60 million a year, according to a study prepared by Exinda Networks.
A snapshot of a large tier-two internet backbone pipe by Exinda found that around 2700GBs of P2P files are being downloaded in businesses around Australia daily as employees take advantage of fast business connections, the company said.
Broken down into usage-by-gigabytes Exinda estimated businesses were paying more than $4.9 million a month for employees' music and video collections based on ABS market share estimates. This was the equivalent of one million MP3 files daily, Exinda said.
The study also found that just 17 percent of traffic could be attributable to critical business usage such as VoIP, Citrix and SAP.
Exinda Networks director Con Nikolouzakis, said the figures showed Australian business desperately needed network monitoring hardware to monitor their $450 million a year internet accounts.
"If businesses monitored their networks more closely, fixed mis-configurations and banned illegal usage they could slash their bandwidth bills by half and also achieve a significant increase in network performance.
He said that raw internet costs of non-business usage did not take into account lost productivity, losses in IT service take-up or the potential legal and workplace issues associated with P2P.
"Beware of the employee who comes to work with an MP3 player. They can store up to 40GB of music, movies and programs and kill your network performance," he said.