Web 2.0 Security Losses Total $1.1 Billion, Survey Finds

By Brian Prince  |  Posted 2010-09-28 Print this article Print

A survey of more than 1,000 global business decision-makers in 17 countries found more than half were concerned about the security of the Web 2.0 technologies their organizations used, and rightly so.

According to the report, six out of 10 organizations suffered large losses averaging $2 million each because of security incidents during the past year, for a collective loss of more than $1.1 billion.

The survey is chronicled here [PDF] in a report titled "Web 2.0: A Complex Balancing Act - The First Global Study on Web 2.0 Usage, Risks and Best Practices." Commissioned by McAfee, the report was authored by faculty affiliated with the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security [CERIAS] at Purdue University.

The report defines Web 2.0 broadly as consumer social media apps such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Adoption of these technologies was lowest among respondents in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, coming in at between 60 and 70 percent. It was highest in Brazil, India and Spain, where the adoption level was more than 80 percent for respondents' organizations.

Three out of four organizations reported that Web 2.0 technologies equal new revenue streams, and 40 percent said Web 2.0 tools have boosted productivity and enhanced effective marketing strategies. Still security remains a key concern, with 60 percent of companies calling reputation damage the most significant consequence of inappropriate use of Web 2.0 and social media.

"Web 2.0 and social networking technologies can be used effectively for some business purposes," said Eugene H. Spafford, founder and executive director of CERIAS, in a statement. "But to reap the benefits of Web 2.0, organizations must be proactive about understanding and managing the corresponding challenges. That involves putting the right policies in place, and deploying the technology that can enforce those policies."

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