20 amazing, amusing and alarming IT facts

A new report warns that the cost from lost productivity at work related to the new NFL season could add up to US$10.5 billion. And there we were, thinking the biggest waste of time at work came from fielding an endless stream of IT industry reports?
In an effort to do something productive with these sometimes insightful, sometimes scary, sometimes silly and frequently self-serving studies, we’ve boiled down each of about 20 that we’ve received over the past couple of months into one digestible story. Without further ado and in no particular order:

— The average fantasy sports player earns about $38 per hour and based on an average of nearly 1.19 hours per week dealing with their team during work hours, companies lose about $45.22 in wages per worker each week, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas http://www.challengergray.com/, the global outplacement and business coaching consultancy, which came up with its numbers by crunching those from a couple of fantasy sports groups.

— Perhaps playing fantasy football at work can be included in an Internet users’ Bill of Rights. Two-thirds of about 200 people attending the second Internet Governance Forum in Brazil last November agreed with this statement: “A global internet users’ Bill of Rights should be adopted.” Only 6 per cent disagreed. Such a Bill of Rights would include things such as freedom of information, freedom of expression, and the right of people to have affordable access, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

— Not that everyone is going to log on even if they are offered affordable access. Only 44 per cent of Kentucky households subscribe to broadband even though most do have access to it, according to Connected Nation, which issued a report that all full-time adult students in Kentucky with broadband at home use the ‘Net for educational purposes. So clever.

— Well, more clever than a lot of organizations anyway. Just over half of organizations require only passwords for employees to access critical data, according to a survey of 150 companies by Quest Software and the Aberdeen Group. Companies play fast and loose with their password rules, too, according to the survey, with almost half allowing standard dictionary terms and more than two-thirds not specifying password length.

— Not that that sort of thing has anything to do with the number of confirmed data breaches reported through mid-August blowing by the number reported for all of last year. According to the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center, last year a total of 446 breaches were reported, and as of Aug. 22 this year 449 got reported. Of course, there are many more breaches than those reported, and the ITRC says it is thankful that at least a few states are starting to make info available through their Attorney General offices.

— You could just blame Japan for your network security troubles. Japan proved to be the Godzilla of attack traffic-generation in the second quarter as the country of origin for 30 per cent of such traffic worldwide, according to content delivery network provider Akamai. The study, which was conducted by monitoring Akamai’s global network of more than 30,000 servers, measured distributed denial-of-service attacks, Web site hacking attempts and DNS hijackings for 139 countries. The United States had the second-highest percentage of attack traffic for the second quarter, at 21.5 per cent, while China came in third at 16.8 per cent.

— Not that top executives don’t have even bigger worries. The top hurdle faced by 300 top executives (such as CEOs and CIOs) surveyed by the Society for Information Management is IT-business alignment. Building business skills in IT, IT strategic planning, attracting new IT professionals and making better use of information rounded out the top 5 concerns.

— Of course, there’s also the little matter of IT spending. The outlook is still pretty grim, with growth expected to be just 4 per cent for the year (down from 6 per cent last year), but not all signs are bad, according to the latest Goldman Sachs survey of 100 managers with strategic decision-making authority at Fortune 1,000 companies. On the bright side is that spending intentions on network gear is rebounding (for the next 12 months, 54 per cent of respondents said they expect their network spending to grow, and that’s up from 42 per cent the last time they were asked). However, Goldman describes plans for discretionary IT projects as “anemic.”

— As for the other type of “green,” a third of 75 organizations asked by Cutter Consortium if they have a long-term plan/strategy targeted at reducing the environmental footprint of their IT infrastructure said no, 38 per cent said yes and 29 per cent said they didn’t know. Broken down further, 57 per cent of European organizations said they had one vs. 37 per cent in the United States.

— Regardless of the tough economy, companies are having to fork over big salaries to enterprise applications experts due to a shortage of people with SAP skills, according to new research from Foote Partners. The value of some SAP skills rose between 25 per cent and 30 per cent over the first six months of 2008 and nearly twice that over the past 12 months. “If you’re looking for SAP Web Application Server, Production Planning, Business Objects, Quality Management, Strategic Enterprise Management, Product Lifecycle Management, HCM and MDM module and skills experience, you’re suddenly paying a lot more,” says David Foote, CEO of the research group.

— It might not hurt to brush up on your Ethernet skills, too. Business Ethernet services boomed in the United States during the first half of the year, with the number of installed ports rising 16 per cent. AT&T led the way with 21 per cent of total ports, with Verizon, TW Telecom and Cox in pursuit, according to Vertical Systems Group.

— Who knows, maybe all that new Business Ethernet capacity is helping to stave off a massive Internet outage. Despite prognostications that the Internet is about to collapse from the weight of traffic growth — especially video — international Internet traffic grew 53 per cent between mid-2007 and mid-2008, down from 61 per cent the preceding year, according to a market research firm. For the second consecutive year, total international Internet capacity grew faster than total Internet traffic, leading to lower utilization levels on many Internet backbones, according to market tracker TeleGeography.

— Nevertheless, there are at least 5 trillion reasons to stay in telecom: global telecom revenue is estimated to hit about $5 trillion by 2011, according to the latest Telecommunications Industry Association. High-volume business and consumer data applications are driving demand, according to the report.

— Yes, Cisco rules enterprise networking, but it also is no pushover in the carrier market. Infonetics’ quarterly service provider routers and switches report shows Cisco gained 15 per cent in IP edge and core router revenue in the second quarter and now owns more than half the worldwide market. Though it was Fujitsu that made the biggest gain during the quarter, jumping from No. 9 to No. 6 worldwide.

— Cisco also talks a good game in software these days, though its muckety-mucks might want to note this: Software-as-a-service has a way to go, according to a survey of 417 IT decision makers at companies with less than 500 employees. The survey by the Technology Practice of Chadwick Martin Bailey found that just 14 per cent of those surveyed say they are more likely to subscribe to software-as-a-service than they are to purchase software-as-a-license and manage it internally.

— And now, for a few words about ERM. Are you among the 8 per cent who have no clue what ERM is? A survey commissioned in part by a company that sells e-mail security and content protection software, and conducted by Gilbane Group and University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, found that the number of people who don’t know what enterprise rights management is had fallen from 26 per cent in 2005. The vendor promoting this survey pats itself on the back too many times in its news release to earn mention here. (Here’s one company’s explanation of ERM.)

— Don’t go looking to your 4th and 8th graders for any explanations of ERM, by the way. Their math and science proficiency “remains unacceptably low,” according to AeA, a high-tech trade industry that recently issued a report

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