is explosive growth in global social networking and browser-based file sharing
on corporate networks, with a 300 percent increase in active social networking
(e.g., posting, applications) compared with activity during the same period in
the latter half of 2010, according to research published by Palo Alto Networks.
Networks Application Usage and Risk report provides a global view into
application usage based on assessments of the raw application traffic from more
than 1,600 enterprises between April 2011 and November 2011.
sites continue to be used on most networks, appearing on the networks of 92
percent of the participating organizations. In total, 65 different
browser-based file-sharing variants were found, with an average of 13 being
used in each of the analyzed organizations. The report also explores a variety
of risks associated with browser-based file-sharing applications, which vary by
application and use case. However, the report noted the use of evasive
techniques by these applications implies that they are often operating
unchecked on corporate networks.
has gained significant mainstream traction in the workplace: Since October
2010, social networking usage patterns have become more active with bandwidth
consumption for Facebook Apps, Social Plugins and posting, increasing from 5
percent (October 2010) to 25 percent (December 2011) when measured as a
percentage of total social networking bandwidth. Twitter browsing at work alone
grew by more than 700 percent year-over-year.
or not employees are using social networks or sharing files at work is no
longer a question; this data clearly demonstrates that users are embracing and
actively using such applications," said René Bonvanie, chief marketing
officer at Palo Alto Networks. "Companies must determine how to safely
enable these technologies on their networks so that users can maintain the
levels of productivity that many of these applications can afford, while at the
same time ensuring that their corporate networks and users are protected
against all threats."
applications that use TCP port 80, the standard port associated with HTTP Web
browsing traffic, actually represent a minority of the traffic on enterprise
networks for the first time ever. The 297 applications that use only TCP port
80 and no other port by default represent a mere 25 percent of the applications
and 32 percent of the bandwidth observed, suggesting that a standard Web
browsing-focused security model actually protects a minority of an organization’s
is the largest sample size of actual application traffic from enterprises
worldwide that we have analyzed since we began this area of research in spring
2008," said Matt Keil, senior research analyst at Palo Alto Networks.
"The most surprising finding from this data is the one that is most
counter-intuitive: Non-Web-based traffic and application use is much more
significant than most people think."