Security Issues Hamper Adoption of Web 2.0 and SocNets Among Businesses

Like consumers, businesses are struggling to reap the benefits of social applications online without succumbing to the risks according to a new report by McAfee.

McAfee’s survey of over 1,000 global business decision-makers in 17 countries reports that half of businesses were concerned about the security of Web 2.0 applications such as social media, micro blogging, collaborative platforms, web mail, and content sharing tools.

Alarmingly, over 60% of the surveyed organizations had already suffered losses averaging $2 million in security related incidents last year. That equates to a collective loss of more than $1.1 billion in security related incidents among the surveyed companies last year. Another 60% are concerned about loss of reputation, brand, client or consumer confidence as a result of Web 2.0 misuse.

The primary driver for Web 2.0 adoption within businesses is the potential for new revenue, but leaders and decision makers debate the value and risks of employee use of Web 2.0 in the workplace — either in the office or on the road due to security concerns.

Employee use of social media is a main source of corporate security threats, and as a result nearly 50% specifically block Facebook, 33% of organizations restrict employee use of any social media, another 25% monitor employee’s use; and 13% block social media access entirely.

Why this matters to you

Individuals, organizations, companies, schools, and government; we are all part of the online ecosystem and we all suffer when crime runs rampant. Crime erodes our trust in online interactions with companies, and financial losses that businesses suffer have to be covered by passing those costs on to consumers.

McAfee’s report ends with “there are general best practices that we recommend for all organizations that adopt Web 2.0 solutions” and lists the recommendations displayed in the left column. I’ve added the column to the right to show how this is the same for consumers.

Recommendations for Businesses

Recommendations for Consumers

Policy: Web 2.0 environments have created new organizational contexts that challenge traditional norms of professional behavior. Clear social media policies enable employees to make good decisions about their behaviors in these new contexts, and provide examples and guidelines regarding potential threats. Family policy: New online services like social networks require family discussions to establish what is and isn’t acceptable behavior and to provide examples and guidelines regarding potential threats. This enables family members to make good decisions about their behaviors in these new contexts,
Technology: Web 2.0 applications and technologies require multi-layered security solutions that provide protection against data loss, endpoint security, application control, and infrastructure firewalls. Technology: Individuals and families need to have several layers of security and privacy solutions in place – including firewalls, anti-virus, anti-malware software that is kept up to date. This also includes using websites privacy and security settings to establish a layer of protecting within the online services you use.
Education: As new threats and problems emerge it is vital that all users in the organization are made aware of how to protect resources. Social media require a new level of digital literacy, and organizations need to educate employees about the risks and benefits of accessing and participating in these contexts. Education: As new threats and problems emerge it is vital that all family members who use the internet are made aware of the risks and of how to protect themselves and the family’s computers/cellphones and game consoles. Before using social media, an added level of digital literacy and online safety needs to be discussed and mastered by each family member.
Practices: Organizations must acknowledge the 21st century work practices of employees that are global, mobile, and constantly connected. Policies and technology solutions must be device-independent, whether access comes from the desktop, laptop, handheld, or even wearable or embedded devices, and must be location-independent as well. Organizational practices must protect employees and institutional data no matter what they use, and where they are. Practices: Family members must understand that their online actions may be global, mobile and constantly connected. The family rules for using these tools is in place regardless of the device  -desktop, laptop, handheld, or even wearable or embedded devices, and is location-independent – at home, at a friend’s, at school, and so on. Family members have an responsibility to not only protect their own safety and information, but to protect the family’s safety and information as well.
Adaptability: Web 2.0 and social media technologies are notable for their rapid change and evolution. Organizations must be alert to new risks, but also adaptable to changes, and open to seeing opportunities for new value that can be embraced for organizational success. Adaptability: Web 2.0 and social media technologies are notable for their rapid change and evolution. Families must stay alert to new opportunities and risks, but also adaptable to changes, as new features are added and children’s maturity increases. Stay open to seeing opportunities for new value that can be embraced for your family.

Conclusion – whether you’re an individual or an industry player, basic best practices are our best defense against online criminals.

To learn more, read McAfee Inc. Global “Web 2.0: A Complex Balancing Act — The First Global Study on Web 2.0 Usage, Risks and Best Practices” report in its entirety.

Linda

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