Web 2.0 exponentially increased the transactional nature of the Web, and forever changed the way people express themselves, conduct business, learn about different subjects, shop, form communities, collaborate, and share their personal information. But the embrace of Web 2.0 has also introduced serious questions about the inherent risks associated with the use of these tools.

This report is based on a survey developed and conducted by the Ponemon Institute and IBM’s Global Innovation Outlook. The survey was given to more than 3,000 consumers around the world in an effort to discern the awareness of these issues among users of Web 2.0 applications and to identify the steps that businesses can take to protect themselves and their employees from the associated risks. In learning more about what security and privacy factors increase or decrease use of Web 2.0, both at home and in the workplace, developers of Web 2.0 applications can more proactively address security con- cerns, increasing the usage and usefulness of their sites. And employers can craft policies on Web 2.0 use that both increase the value to the company and limit risk.

Among the conclusions drawn from this report:

  • Geography and culture play important roles in determining risk tolerance for Web 2.0 applications, and must be taken into account when crafting usage guide- lines. This is especially true for global employers.
  • The nature of Web 2.0 content, and its perceived benefit to the end user, greatly affects a user’s willingness to assume security risks.
  • There is an inherent distrust of traditional forms of regulation or law enforcement among Web 2.0 users, making attempts to artificially control or restrict use among employees likely to backfire.
  • Transparent privacy policies and the ability to control one’s own privacy and security settings greatly increase use of Web 2.0.
  • Employers can leverage the naturally cautious instincts of Web 2.0 users and allow employees to develop their own usage policies and guideline