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McAfee Inc. Global Report Reveals Security Concerns Hinder Adoption of Web 2.0 and Social Networking in Business


Businesses Agree That Web 2.0 Technologies Drive Revenue, Yet More Than 60 Percent of Organizations Suffered Losses Averaging $2 Million Due to Security Issues

Brazil, Spain and India Lead in Use of Web 2.0 Technology for Business Activity

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - McAfee, Inc. (NYSE: MFE) today revealed that business leaders worldwide see the value of Web 2.0 in supporting productivity and driving new revenue - but remain deeply concerned about security threats associated with deploying the technology. A survey of over 1,000 global business decision-makers in 17 countries found 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. More than six out of ten organizations have already suffered losses averaging $2 million, for a collective loss of more than $1.1 billion in security related incidents last year. There was another 60 percent concerned about loss of reputation as a result of Web 2.0 misuse. Brazil, Spain and India led in adoption of Web 2.0 technology for business, while adoption was lowest in Canada, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The 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 and authored by faculty affiliated with the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) at Purdue University, examines the drivers for Web 2.0 and social networking use in business, and assesses their benefits and risks. Overall, the research highlights that while organizations see the potential value of Web 2.0 tools, decision makers continue to debate whether or how to allow employee usage of the technology in the workplace.

“Web 2.0 technologies are impacting all aspects of the way businesses work,” said George Kurtz, chief technology officer for McAfee. “As Web 2.0 technologies gain popularity, organizations are faced with a choice – they can allow them to propagate unchecked, they can block them, or they can embrace them and the benefits they provide while managing them in a secure way.”

Key Report Findings:

* Web 2.0 adoption rates vary across countries - Overall, Web 2.0 adoption rates are high, reaching 90 percent or above in Brazil, Spain and India. Adoption is lowest in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
* New revenue streams are the highest driver of Web 2.0 adoption - Three out of four organizations reported that expanded use of Web 2.0 technologies create new revenue streams while 40 percent said the tools have boosted productivity and enhanced effective marketing strategies.
* Security is the leading concern – Half of respondents named security as their primary concern for Web 2.0. There was also a third that identified fear of security issues as the main reason Web 2.0 applications are not used more widely in their business. Companies’ top four perceived threats from employee use of Web 2.0 are malicious software (35 percent), viruses (15 percent), overexposure of information (11 percent) and spyware (10 percent).
* Reputation damage is the biggest business consequence – Sixty percent of companies reported that the most significant consequence from inappropriate Web 2.0 and social media usage is loss of reputation, brand, client or confidence. One third of respondents reported unplanned investments related to “work arounds” related to social media in the workplace. Fourteen percent of organizations reported litigation or legal threats caused by employees disclosing confidential or sensitive information, with more than 60 percent of those threats caused by social media disclosures.
* Many businesses block Web 2.0 rather than put policies in place – Worldwide, 13 percent of organizations block all Web 2.0 activity while 81 percent restrict the use of at least one Web 2.0 tool because they are concerned about security. Yet almost one third of organizations reported that they do not have any social media policy in place. A quarter of organizations monitor how staff use social media and 66 percent have introduced social media policies, 71 percent of which use technology to enforce them.

Executives and industry experts who contributed to the research agreed that successful organizational use of Web 2.0 is a complex balancing act. Enterprises must analyze business challenges and opportunities while mitigating the risks and ensure staff training and robust technologies are in place to avoid cyber attacks.

“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. “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.”

In addition, McAfee will also be hosting a Webcast on October 6, 2010 at 2pm EDT, titled “Bridging the Web 2.0 Security Gap,” with Chenxi Wang, Forrester Research. This Webcast will cover a recent Forrester Research Web 2.0 security trends study commissioned by McAfee. It will help educate enterprise users about protecting their business while successfully using Web 2.0 technologies.

The McAfee “Web 2.0: A Complex Balancing Act – The First Global Study on Web 2.0 Usage, Risks and Best Practices” report is available for download at:

About the report:

Web 2.0 is defined broadly as consumer social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and specialized enterprise solutions. CERIAS faculty conducted expert interviews and analyzed survey data from international research firm Vanson Bourne. Vanson Bourne executed the survey to more than 1,000 organizational decision-makers in 17 countries worldwide. The result was an in-depth study of emerging policies and practices in how organizations balance the risks and benefits of using Web 2.0 technologies.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is one of the leading public research institutions in the United States, with strengths in science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and management. Internationally known, with outstanding faculty, the campus includes programs such as the Cyber Center, the Rosen Center for Advanced Computing, the Computing Research Institute, the Global Policy Research Institute, and the new large-scale interdisciplinary Discovery Park.


The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) is the world’s largest multidisciplinary academic center addressing the issues of information security, assurance, privacy and cyber crime. CERIAS involves more than 80 faculty and 100 graduate students from departments across eight of Purdue’s colleges. An internationally recognized center of excellence, CERIAS serves as an unbiased resource of information and research in the public interest.

About McAfee, Inc.

McAfee, Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company. McAfee delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that help secure systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world, allowing users to safely connect to the Internet, browse and shop the Web more securely. Backed by unrivalled McAfee Global Threat Intelligence, McAfee creates innovative products that empower home users, businesses, the public sector and service providers by enabling them to prove compliance with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities, and continuously monitor and improve their security. McAfee secures your digital world.

NOTE: McAfee is a registered trademark or trademark of McAfee, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other marks may be claimed as the property of others. The information provided is only for educational purposes and is subject to change without notice; it is provided “AS IS” without guarantee or warranty as to the accuracy or applicability of the information to any specific situation or circumstance.


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