FaceTime Communications, the makers of hardware solutions for security, management, and compliance, have collected live traffic data from more than 80 mid to large commercially deployed networks worldwide - data representing the daily web-based activities of more than 100,000 corporate workers. At the same time, they surveyed I.T. managers on a number of topics, including how many Web 2.0 applications they believed were in use on their networks. They then compared the two sets of findings. The conclusion? On a day-to-day basis, it seems I.T. managers don't know what their employees are doing - or what web apps they're using.
Web 2.0 at Work
Although most I.T. managers probably know that Web 2.0 applications are in use on their network, when comparing the survey results to the actual data, it appears they don't know how pervasive their use is.
FaceTime discovered that across the 80 companies studied, an average of 49 Web 2.0 applications were installed across locations. (It's worth pointing out that FaceTime counts everything from IM to IPTV as "Web 2.0," by the looks of the data, so take that finding with a grain of salt.)
Still, what is interesting in the data returned is that while only 60% I.T. managers surveyed thought that social networking applications were being used in their location, there wasn't a single company in FaceTime's study where social networking wasn't being used on at least one of the employee's machines.
As you may have guessed, Facebook was the most popular site overall, appearing in 50,000 instances across all 80 reporting locations. However, there was a total of 400 unique social networking sites reported in use. This "long tail effect," says FaceTime, should not be ignored when determining which sites to monitor and control for potential security and compliance issues.
Other popular activities included instant messaging (AIM and GoogleTalk were most prevalent), Meebo, IPTV, Virtual Worlds, VOIP (like Skype), P2P, and web conferencing.
Whether or not companies should be cracking down on these and other self-provisioned applications is a debate for another time. What's clear is that companies that think they have cracked down, are sadly mistaken.
Concurrently with this report - and perhaps because they were surprised by their own findings - FaceTime just launched a "Forget the Fees" program that eliminates the URL filtering fees for their customers. Because obviously, FaceTime's customers either weren't managing their network because they couldn't afford to do so...or they were just really cool about what their employees did at work.