Web 2.0 security forum launches

Web 2.0 security forum launches

Increasing use of social networking leads to new security challenges

A security forum for major companies concerned about the implications of Web 2.0 technologies such as social networking launched this week.

So far 10 firms, including Credit Suisse, Reuters and Standard Chartered, have signed up for the group, which will consider policies for managing next-generation internet tools.

Security is paramount, particularly for the financial industry, said Credit Suisse director of IT research Chris Swan.

“When we consider new technology adoption, we need to explore every vulnerability and risk factor and ensure our customers’ data is protected,” he said.

Take-up of Web 2.0 by business is a very real phenomenon with some big name supporters.

Microsoft, IBM and Google all have internal corporate social networking sites up and running. Proctor & Gamble has instant messaging and document sharing facilities for more than 140,000 employees.

And Motorola hosts more than 12 million instant message sessions every day, as well as 3,000 blogs and 3,000 wikis.

Nearly half of companies use instant messaging, 17 per cent use social networking tools and a further 25 per cent will look at introducing more Web 2.0 technologies in 2008, according to Forrester Research.

The majority of firms in the security forum are from financial services, reflecting the specific concerns of the sector.

Standard Chartered is one major bank looking at ways of using Web 2.0 tools internally, said chief information security officer John Meakin.

“Firms can generally do business faster by linking employees ­ especially banks with dispersed business divisions,” he said.

The growth of consumer technology at work is also motivating business to retake the initiative.

The key is to set up governable versions of these technologies so security can be improved, said the head of security at one major investment bank.

“Consumer adoption is driving these technologies, but the security implications are fraught with danger,” he said.

Exponential growth in speed and volume of data flow makes it very difficult to enforce security policies, said Forrester Research analyst Thomas Raschke.

Staff education and encryption of specific data are crucial, he said.

The Web 2.0 forum is being co-ordinated by supplier WorkLight.