Six out of ten organisations have suffered a data loss according to a new report.

The McAfee report ‘Web 2.0: A Complex Balancing Act – The First Global Study on Web 2.0 Usage, Risks and Best Practices' found that security is the leading concern for Web 2.0 adoption, with half of 1,000 global business decision-makers naming it as their primary concern. A third claimed that the fear of security issues was the main reason for Web 2.0 applications not being used more widely in their business.

Respondents' top four perceived threats from employee use of Web 2.0 were: malicious software (35 per cent); viruses (15 per cent); overexposure of information (11 per cent); and spyware (10 per cent).

Also, three out of four organisations reported that expanded use of Web 2.0 technologies create new revenue streams, while 40 per cent said the tools have boosted productivity and enhanced effective marketing strategies. However 13 per cent of organisations block all Web 2.0 activity, while 81 per cent restrict the use of at least one Web 2.0 tool because they are concerned about security.

A quarter of organisations monitor how staff use social media, 66 per cent have introduced social media policies, while 71 per cent of which use technology to enforce them.

The report also found that Web 2.0 adoption rates are high in some countries, reaching 90 per cent or above in Brazil, Spain and India, while adoption is low in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

George Kurtz, chief technology officer for McAfee, said: “Web 2.0 technologies are impacting all aspects of the way businesses work. As Web 2.0 technologies gain popularity, organisations are faced with a choice – they can allow them to propagate unchecked, they can block them, or they can embrace them and the benefits they provide while managing them in a secure way.”

The report was commissioned by McAfee and authored by faculty affiliated with the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA. Its founder and executive director Eugene H. Spafford said: “Web 2.0 and social networking technologies can be used effectively for business, but to reap the benefits of Web 2.0, organisations must be proactive about understanding and managing the challenges. That involves putting the right policies in place, and deploying the technology that can enforce those policies.”