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3/14/2012
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Social Networking Apps Dominate Enterprise Web 2.0 Use

Report from Zscaler ThreatLabZ shows that social networking apps account for majority of Web 2.0 transactions. While Facebook is still on top, its usage dropped in 2011 among enterprise users.

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"State of the Web," a recently published report from Zscaler ThreatLabZ, includes some interesting data about social media use among enterprise users. Zscaler ThreatLabZ is the research arm of cloud security company Zscaler, which examined 200 billion transactions from millions of global business users.

In terms of Web content most commonly accessed by enterprise employees, social networking makes up a relatively small percentage at this point in time--only 4.63%. Higher on users' priority lists were corporate marketing content (11.59%), professional services (9.67%), Internet services (9.67%), Web search (6.78%), and news and media (5.58%). The bulk of Web content accessed--about 30%--was a category the report says comprises more than 100 "other" categories. Web content less commonly accessed than social networking included entertainment and sports (about 4%), shopping (about 3%), and, perhaps surprisingly, business and economy (2.25%).

When looking at what ThreatLabZ calls Web 2.0 applications specifically, social networking dominates, with Facebook being most commonly accessed by enterprise users. In the fourth quarter of last year, Facebook transactions comprised 43.8% of Web 2.0 application use. The next closest application in this category, Gmail, wasn't really that close at all, with about 15% of use. Gmail was trailed by Twitter (6.63%) and YouTube (8.36%). Interestingly, the report shows that MSN IM transactions (at 3.69%) outpaced Google Search (at only 1.31%). At 11.9%, "other" applications made up a big chunk of fourth-quarter Web application usage, according to the report.

[ There are some things we love about enterprise social networking -- and some things we don't. See Our Love-Hate Relationship With Enterprise Social Networking. ]

While Facebook transactions clearly took up a great deal of enterprise users' time in the fourth quarter of 2011, total time spent on Facebook dropped from the beginning of 2011, when it accounted for almost 60% of Web 2.0 usage, the report said. "There are many possible reasons for this decline," according to the report. "Market saturation may be a cause; however, that would only account for the stagnation in unique user growth. The decline in enterprise transactions and general time on site means that there may be a decline in user interaction with Facebook."

The report posits that enterprise user satisfaction (or lack thereof) could also account for the drop in Facebook transactions. "Another possible reason for the decline could be user satisfaction," the report said. "Throughout 2011, Facebook experienced a number of security incidents. These may have affected the company's American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI), which shows that Facebook is at the bottom of satisfaction scores when compared with similar companies." The declining Facebook numbers may also reflect more companies developing social media policy that more clearly articulates who within a company should be using social media applications and for what reasons.

With browsers essentially acting as operating systems for so many enterprise applications these days, it's important to examine enterprises' browser use. The ThreatLabZ report found that overall, enterprises are adopting and using more secure browser platforms and technologies.

According to the report, 53.3% of traffic is being driven by Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers, with about 20% coming from some combination of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. The report showed that while IE continues to dominate, the Microsoft browser platform saw a 10% decline in overall browser traffic during the course of 2011. It also notes that use of IE 8 has more than doubled during 2011. However, there are still pockets of IE 6 usage, "with all its attendant vulnerabilities and risks." IE 9, released a year ago, is seeing relatively slow adoption in the enterprise, the report said.

The Enterprise Connect conference program covers the full range of platforms, services, and applications that comprise modern communications and collaboration systems. It happens March 26-29 in Orlando, Fla. Find out more.

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