By Katherine Walsh
28 April 2008
Enterprise users are "actively and intentionally" evading IT security
controls and ignoring acceptable use policies, according to Palo Alto
Networks' first annual "Application Usage and Risk Report."
The recent survey results from Palo Alto, a firewall vendor, are based
on traffic from 350,000 users in 20 organisations that span the
financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, state/local government
and healthcare industries.
The report highlights applications (not generally supported by
enterprise IT) that employees are actively using, as well as the major
risks associated with their use.
Among the findings:
- External proxies that IT does not support, such as CGIProxy and
KProxy, were present in 80 percent of the customer networks.
- Web-based file transfer and storage applications such as YouSendIt and
MediaMax were detected in 30 percent of sites.
- Over 50 percent of applications using port 80 (the default port number
for a web server) were not business related.
- Google applications were found in 60 percent of the sites using port
- Web video and streaming audio consumed significant bandwidth on 100
percent and 95 percent of the sites sampled, respectively.
- Peer-to-peer file sharing applications were found on 90 percent of the
Associated risks include:
- Data loss through unmonitored and/or unauthorised file transfers.
- Compliance violations, both with internal policies and external
- Business exposure from malware propagation or application
- Operational cost increases due to higher bandwidth consumption and
added IT expense.
- Lost productivity from excessive use of personal applications.
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