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Industry Trends

Social Media Security Incidents Cost Millions

By October 5, 2010July 30th, 20233 Comments

While it is an accepted fact that the use of Web2.0 technologies by companies can be beneficial for generating more revenue through newer marketing techniques and better interaction with clients, the technology comes with its own share of risks and hazards.

A study has been conducted in this connection across 1,000 businesses in 17 countries by the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) at Purdue University in Indiana on behalf of the software security firm, McAfee.

The study found that in the last one year, 7 out of 10 businesses incurred large expenses due to security incidents related to the use of Web 2.0 technologies, and the average cost of such incidents was around $2 million.

The businesses that took part in the study considered the possibility of brand damage or the loss or leakage of important data through the accidental downloading of malware or spyware.

81% of the surveyed businesses restrict the use of at least one of the tools, such as social media, microblogging or web mail, while 13% block all such services. Such restrictive policies could be a direct result of such incidents coupled with the previously published statistics about the amount of time wasted by employees on social networking sites.

On the other hand, a report titled ‘Web2.0: A Complex Balancing Act’ by McAfee found that 40% of companies admit that the use of Web2.0 tools caused increased productivity and 75% of the companies they surveyed had increased the use of these technologies in the hope of improving revenue generation. These two seemingly conflicting reports present quite a conundrum for employers.

Mike Sentonas, McAfee’s Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Asia Pacific says, “In order for businesses to reap the benefits of Web2.0 they must understand their security options and stay informed, because the security landscape has really changed.”

In reality, the best option for companies is probably to encourage the use of social media for business purposes while implementing a strong security protocol and systems to check that malware does not get inadvertently downloaded.